Monday, October 3, 2016

Rewards and Blessings

Some folks work hard all day and their only reward is a paycheck.

But writers of children's books are rewarded in many ways besides money. 

(And, um, there are children's writers all over the internet right now reading this and sputtering out their coffee and saying, "Money?" But, I digress...)

We approach a school with a large banner taped to the door that reads, "Welcome, Author!"

We walk down the hallways of that school and admire the students' artwork about our books taped to the walls.

We open a manila envelope and a pile of letters and drawings spills out, each one letting us know how much that student enjoyed our books.

We Skype with classrooms and book groups full of excited students and answer their questions about our books.

But sometimes, we get one of the finest rewards of all: a note letting us know how our book has directly affected a reader and given him or her a mirror to see themselves.

I recently received such a note about my new book, Wish.

In the story, the main character, Charlie, meets a boy who has, in her words, an "up-down" walk - a limp that often prompts his classmates to tease him in unkind ways.

Here is the note (with permission from the sender): 

Hi Barbara.

My daughter Sofie and I finished reading Wish last night.  We both loved it.  

That is no small thing as Sofie doesn't always love to read.  

She was first interested because of her love of How to Steal a Dog and because Wish also includes a dog.  

When reading, however, she was especially interested in Howard and his up down walk as she has cerebral palsy and her own kind of up down walk.  

Thank you for writing about a child she could relate to in a book with a girl and a dog.  It really matters to her.  

On a related note, she is curious about Howard. If there is anything you can share about why you included him, she would love to know.

All the best,

Let me repeat two lines:

Thank you for writing about a child she could relate to in a book with a girl and a dog.  It really matters to her. 

Let me repeat one more line:

It really matters to her. 

That line was not just a reward.

It was a blessing. 

It was a blessing and a reminder of the importance of writing books that serve as both windows that give readers a glimpse into the lives of others and mirrors that reflect and give value to a reader's own life experiences. 
Thank you, Patricia and Sofie, for that blessing.  

1 comment:

Linda B said...

How wonderful that Wish touched that little girl so much. I have a niece with CP, grown up now, but I thought of her when I read of that "up, down" walk. She would have loved reading Wish too when she was growing up. It's a lovely story, Barbara. Thank you for it!