Ripples from a book

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.

Let me tell you, that pretty much rocked my world.That was when the book was in hardback. Then it came out in paperback. Then it sold to the UK. Then, well, then Tricycle was sold, the new publisher decided not to reprint the hardback version, and then, well, we got the news that Tricycle was going to be shut down for good. It was hard to remember that happy, shining moment five years ago when my book was new and people were giving it a lot of love. Hey, that’s the way it is in this crazy, wonderful business.But this past week has been filled with some other happy, shining moments with this book. I’m getting those requests from students for book report information (which is all on my website, if you just go to the “about me” page.) And some of those requests were prefaced with the student feedback that showedme they had actually read the book. One student told me that she wasn’t Rachel, the main character, but that she was Sara, and her best friend’s mom was just like Rachel’s mom in the book. She said reading Hugging the Rock helped her understand her friend a little better. Right to my heart with that one.

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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011|Categories: Susan's Books|Tags: , , , , |18 Comments

VOYA – this is fun!

This month’s VOYA magazine is out and HUGGING THE ROCK is on their list of Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers for 2006. Between this and making the ALA notables list, I’m thinking I like 2007 a lot.

Sunday, February 4, 2007|Categories: Susan's Books|Tags: , , |24 Comments

2007 Notable Children's Books

I’m tooting my own horn here as I am very thrilled to have found out that Hugging the Rock was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book.   Here’s the complete list.  Congrats to all the wonderful books who made the list.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007|Categories: Susan's Books|Tags: , , , , , |100 Comments

some very nice news!

I had a lovely email from my publicist at Tricycle who shared this very nice news with me:

Hugging the Rock has won a place on VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Magazine¹s Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers. It will be announced and published in their February issue.

I am doing a big WOOHOO here at work and scaring all the engineers.

Thursday, December 14, 2006|Categories: Susan's Books|Tags: , , , |52 Comments