My friend Raina (and fellow board member) said, "I heard you stalk male authors."
I said, "No, that's not right, I stalk the women authors too."
It's 2006 during down-time at a tennis competition for our son. I force my family to check out the local bookstore. We probably shouldn't buy anything because we have to focus on the boy's tennis, but there's no harm in looking. Then I see it! Bats at the Beach. It is the cutest bat I've seen since Stellaluna (and that's cute). The little guy was toasting an unusual marshmallow with cricket parts. The other guy was flying his friend like a kite.
So, how does a grown woman explain to her husband of many years that she MUST have a children's book that costs $16? We could pretend it's for our child but he's known me too long to believe it. It wrenched my heart to walk away without possessing it.
This is a sad story of loss and despair. And, I never forgot the book.
Seven years later, not only do I own multiple copies of Bats at the Beach but all the other books too of Brian Lies. So, why not meet this guy that has made this iconic bat? We started negotiating to have Brian as the next Pen Pal author to visit Murfreesboro.
When an author says Maybe, I hear Yes. And when the author says, well I can only . . . fill in the blank . .. . I say Yes. Yes, yes, of course it is for the kids. I'm certain that at least one of those kids will want to become an author or illustrator.
|Having a little fun by drawing on the wall in the bookstore.|
|"Have our author and eat cake too" - that's our motto.|
|It's tradition now that my son comes for the cake.|
|I'm looking a bit raggedy, but who cares when I can meet Brian Lies.|
We learn all his cool tricks. One is that he uses a blue crayon to sketch. Blue is his favorite color and helps to relax him into getting the work done.
He goes through many sketches and smaller versions of paintings until it's Better. He doesn't believe practice makes perfect, but practice makes Better.
I really dig my job on the library board.
So, how are we going to top this?
Shssh, I've no idea, but we say that every year.
If you have any suggestions for next year, ah never mind, I probably won't listen, because it will start with wandering some local bookstore and noticing the best book ever.