29 March 2008

What an Honor!

This afternoon at the Belmont Children's Picture Book Festival, organizer and author Melissa Stewart presented me with a copy of one of her latest nonfiction picture books, When Rain Falls, illustrated by Constance R. Bergum.

Melissa then told me that she had dedicated this book to me. I wasn't surprised. I believe a more accurate term would be "flabbergasted," or perhaps "gobsmacked." Given the book's meteorological theme, "thunderstruck" is probably the best fit.

Melissa's written over 100 books on all sorts of scientific topics, so I figure she's already dedicated books to her relatives, old friends, teachers, college roommates, hairdressers, and other very important people. But this still feels a tremendous honor. I've been cited and acknowledged in books before, but not dedicationed.

During the book-signing, Melissa reminded me of how we'd met. We were both at a Foundation for Children's Books meeting, and she told people about wishing to meet with other writers. Afterwards, I chased her to the parking garage to give her my card as an SCBWI Regional Advisor, and the rest went on from there. So that's the way to get books dedicated to you, kids! Pursue people through parking garages at night.

Since then, Melissa has directed an SCBWI New England conference, volunteered for the regional group in other ways, and serves as a board member of the parent organization. So this is a public thanks to her, not only for her dedication in When Rain Falls but for her dedication to children's books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John did introduce me to SCBWI, and that was a great thing for me. But during the 7 years since that meeting in a dimly-lit parking garage, he has helped me in many other ways. For instance, it was his insightful comment at last year's NESCBWI conference that spurred me to write a Readers Theater script based on When Rain Falls. It's great for school visits and it became the basis for the play a group of talented second and third graders presented at the Belmont Picture Book Festival on Satuday. I dedicated the book to him when the ms. was completed in 2002, but over time, it has become more and more fitting.