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May 12, 2016

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues, and Readers,

I just celebrated my 40th birthday last week, and now my newest book’s birthday is almost here! Real Sisters Pretend, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, officially comes out on May 16 (though a distribution glitch has apparently made it available in a few places already!). It’s a story that was inspired by a conversation about adoption and sisterhood that I overheard two of my daughters having several years ago. I hope it will be affirming for adopted kids, and particularly for those who became siblings to one another through adoption. Children’s books about adoption often focus on parent-child relationships, and while I see the value in those stories, in this book I wanted to place a different, child-centered lens on the saying that “love makes a family.”
Although of course I hope for great sales and positive reviews, no matter how the book is received, or what people take away from it, I am so glad my text inspired Nicole to make its gorgeous illustrations. Just take a look at the cover art at this top of this letter! I cried when I saw it for the first time, and the rest of the book is stunning, too.
You can pre-order a signed copy from the Odyssey Bookshop, or better yet, come to our book launch at the Odyssey, 9 College Street, South Hadley, MA on Saturday May 28 at 11:00 a.m. Event attendees will enjoy snacks and a storytime and are encouraged to add drawings of their own families on a mural to be displayed at the Odyssey. If you don’t have children at home to read with, consider donating a copy to your local public library or school library. I’ll be donating a copy to my kids’ public elementary school when I visit to do readings in its library later this month.

Speaking of the school library, a few months ago the librarian there introduced me to Melissa Giraud and Andrew Grant-Thomas, who founded Embrace Race. After meeting with them I agreed to sign on as a Staff Blogger, and many of you know what happened next: my first piece “The Tiresome Question I’m Often Asked About My Brown Kids” posted on April 29, and by Monday May 2 the Huffington Post picked it up, and then the New York Observer did, too. As of this writing, it’s had over 26,000 views and 15,000 reads. I’m working on a follow-up piece, and in the meantime, I want to encourage you to sign up for the Embrace Race newsletter and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. I’m so proud to be a part of this community and want to use this early success to amplify the other voices contributing to its good efforts.

And, in case you missed it, here’s a link to the blog post I wrote for my publisher, Charlesbridge, about my trip to Mississippi at the beginning of April to receive the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor for A Crow of His Own. My acceptance speech is linked there, too. I’ve been so pleased by the response to my call for a more inclusive children’s literature that includes diverse family constellations and LGBTQ+ characters.

As soon as I wrap up my spring semester at Simmons, I plan to tackle more writing of my own. Attending the NESCBWI conference a few weeks ago was both inspiring and informative, and I have a lot of story ideas and book beginnings kicking around in my head. I also have a long list of essays I want to write for the Horn Book and other publications, and someday I will figure out how I want to use my blog and this newsletter for more informal, chatty pieces. (Thanks for bearing with me in the meantime—and let me know, what kind of content would you like to see in these forums? Book reviews? Stories about leading storytime or reading with my kids? Writing about writing?). Of course, I also have a summer reading list that’s about a mile long…but reading begets writing, doesn’t it?

Finally, in Whole Book Approach news, here’s a roundup of recent reviews, essays, podcasts and interviews about Reading Picture Books with Children. Have a peek! Thanks so much for cheering me on and supporting my work through your reviews, social media support, books purchases, and outreach to me. I am planning trips to Florida in June, Pennsylvania in July, and New York City in October, and I would love to do more signings, workshops, and other book events. Drop me a line! It's been just over a year since I published my first book, and having my third one come out this month is definitely easing any sense of imposter syndrome. Although I think I may always regard myself as a reader first, I am getting used to calling myself an author, too.


Copyright © 2016 Megan Dowd Lambert, All rights reserved.

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