If you were a kid who read by flashlight, covered in blankets you hoped would hide the light, this one’s for you. You danced with the Wild Things when your mother scolded you. You cheered when the spider, Charlotte, spun messages that saved her pal, Wilbur the pig. You ached for days when Travis had to shoot his beloved Old Yeller. You remember how it felt to be so totally absorbed by a book you couldn’t bear for it to end.
You grew up with books. Your dad took you to the library every week and never limited the number of books you carried home. Your mom read to you every night. A wizard of a teacher captivated you with the books she read to you in class. You traveled the world, without luggage or passport.
I didn’t have a dad, but I was one of those lucky ones. My single, working mother tucked my brother on one side of her, me on the other, and filled our minds with wonders. I won the literacy lottery and will be grateful until I turn the last page of the last book I ever read.
My treasure box was bare of money and spare of consumer goods, but it was filled with books. It didn’t matter that I had to return them regularly to the library. Their stories were mine, part of my DNA.
Now it’s my turn to add to the treasure boxes of child readers. That’s what this poster is about. In 2016 I published my first three picture books: Millie’s Feathered Foster Family, Turkey Baby and the Hungry Hawk, and Turkey Baby Finds Her Magic. I love them all. In the photo I’m reading the second book to a young friend. Turkey Baby and Millie are snuggled in to hear the story. A dragonfly drops by.
The three books are the first of many to come. They are based on events that happened during my decade of farming. A bantam hen taught me that foster parents come in many guises. When she took on the rearing of an injured turkey chick, she totally won my heart. So did her curious, clumsy Turkey Baby.
Now I have a chance to share their stories. And that makes me luckier still.