Yesterday the ALA Youth Media awards were announced. It’s a big, big day in the world of children’s literature. Lives are changed by the experience of winning a major award. Careers take a flying leap forward. It seems like everyone in the industry knows the name of the winners, the names of the winning books.
Five years ago, after another ALA Youth Media awards day, I was pumped up with some excitement of my own. No, I didn’t win any big award but I did learn that my middle grade novel, Hugging the Rock, was named an ALA Notable. And it got a lovely, shiny sticker on the cover.
Then, this week, I received an email from a gentlemen who is going to facilitate a library discussion on Hugging the Rock with a group of students. He wrote to share his story with me and asked me some questions about the book. He was doing some heavy duty research on the story before he talked to the students because he knows, this is a tough topic and not one a lot of people want to deal with. So he spent some time reading my website and then my blog and it led him to this entry where I shared a college paper written by a young woman who identified very strongly with Hugging the Rock.
And then I got it. Some books make a huge splash all at once and get a lot of attention. And that is great and wonderful. (I’m all for anything that gets kids excited about books.)
But some books make ripples instead of splashes. If you’re someone who had a book come out this year and you’re wishing you had a great big splash, I say, don’t worry. There are still ripples to be made. Some books take time to find their audiences. Some books, like Hugging the Rock, need time for the adults to read them and then, to put them into the hands of the children who need to hear the stories.
Sure, who wouldn’t want to make a big splash now and then. But hey, a ripple can go on and on and on every time someone shares a book they love with someone they know needs to hear the story.
So if you can’t make a splash, make a ripple.
It’s funny: I was just holding “Hugging the Rock” yesterday (it’s in our downstairs bookcase, where my daughters’ books are, too, so it gets touched a lot), and read the poem where the mother swerves around curves too quickly, and was reminded how much I enjoyed this book. So glad that it is standing the test of time, and that new readers are discovering it day by day.
Hooray for ripples, and hooray for discovering the joy and peace to be found in them.
Thanks, Laura. I am trying to find the joy and peace in many things.
So if you can’t make a splash, make a ripple: very nice motto.
and a very nice post. Splashes are few and far between in this world, but we can try to wade through (or against) the current for those ripples. xo
Thanks, Jeannine. I think there’s an importance in rippling, at least for me, because of their very slowness (especially when compared to a splash.) I really am trying to slow myself down and experience this year rather than just get through it. So life lessons like these, help.
I was pleased to see that a lot of the honored books were books that hadn’t seen a lot of buzz. Maybe people will realize that there are a lot of great quiet books out there. But then again, they aren’t quiet anymore, are they?
Thanks for the ripple pep talk.
I liked that a lot of “under the radar” books got some attention as well. While many of the award winners from all the years are great books, I don’t want readers to think they are the only books you should read. Sometimes the right book for a reader is a quiet book or one that a friend of a friend of a friend recommended.
If you read Hugging the Rock, I hope you enjoy it.
Yeah, I think “If you can’t make a splash, make a ripple” might need to go up on my own office wall now. 🙂
I will be buying your book soon, and I’m sure I will enjoy reading it.
I think that sounds like a good idea. =)
Susan, I think we need a bumper sticker of your motto. I am going to order HUGGING THE ROCK for our family now, and I imagine we’ll be hugging the book! Thank you for this perspective. It’s so true that when a reader feels “That’s me!” the writer has done her work. A.
Thanks, Amy! Oooh, I like the idea of a bumper sticker. I might just have to do that. I hope you enjoy the read.
Love this! Hooray for splashes and ripples, hooray for HUGGING THE ROCK and for you! 🙂
Thank you, Tracy. It’s so easy to start feeling down about a book after it’s been out a while but HTR is so much from my heart that I didn’t want to stop loving it and these reminders from total strangers help me keep that love alive.
This world we live in is pretty much about splashy and it’s so easy to compare ourselves to those who make a splash. But honestly, I do love ripples of quietness and constancy! And I love Hugging the Rock!
Doesn’t it seem appropriate for HTR to experience a revival as you are working on your father poems?
Our world does tend to focus a lot on splashy stuff Joyce and I am tired of beating myself up because I don’t splash. I don’t splash in real life either so that should be just fine.
I so appreciate your support of my book. And yes, it’s very nice to have HTR weaving in and out of my life again as I work on memoir of father poems.
And some of the ripples, you’ll never even know about. I read so many books as a child that meant the world to me, but I never wrote the author and said so. (Pre-internet days, when authors seemed much more remote!)
You’re quite right, of course. And I don’t necessarily want to hear from everyone either…that could be overwhelming, but it’s nice that these ripples came when they did for me. 🙂