From Mick Jagger to Susan Cooper

Elizabeth Bluemle - November 26, 2019

Growing up in Los Angeles, I was used to celebrities. Harvey Korman came to our school plays (booming his lovely loud laugh at every comical line), and Michael Landon’s daughter was in my Spanish class. Bridget Fonda was my classmate, as was Engelbert Humperdinck’s sweet daughter, Louise. Most kids at my all-girl’s school seemed to be the daughter of somebody famous, or seemed destined to be famous themselves.
We were scholarship kids, my sister and I, and while our mom was also a talented actress, she wasn’t famous. But celebrities were all around us and were normalized because of that giant crazy swimming pool called Los Angeles. In middle school I once sat at a Malibu beach house dinner table having a burger with just Mick Jagger and my seventh-grade best friend Alex, another famous actor’s child, while her nanny puttered about in the kitchen. That was just the way it was, and no big deal.

With that kind of background, and having logged 23 years as a bookseller hosting any number of fantastic authors, you’d think I would be immune to feeling like a fangirl. But there are still times when my heart races meeting someone, and I can’t quite believe that they are standing in front of me in all their three-dimensional glory, looking, you know, actually human.
When a writer has reached into your heart and changed it, and has lit up your imagination in new ways, forever, well, it inspires awe.
Last weekend, I got to meet the incredibly gifted Susan Cooper for the first time, when she and our longtime dear friend, Steven Kellogg, came to share their new picture book, The Word Pirates. Another longtime friend friend of theirs and of the bookstore, Katherine Paterson, attended the event. Afterward, all three were standing together, and I was unexpectedly overwhelmed by emotion, thinking how different the children’s literature landscape would be if these three authors had never picked up a pen. Can you imagine how much poorer our world would be without their work? How much richer our hearts and minds are because of it? Our world has been forever changed by the deep brilliance and beauty of their words, their generosity of spirit, and the playfulness and kindness of Steven’s art.
Now, THAT’S celebrity.
Below are some photos from their visit. I wish you could all have been there with us!

The 23 is for the bookstore’s birthday. The 150 represents the number of books Susan Cooper and Steven Kellogg have contributed to the world. It’s slightly more than 150, actually, but that’s a nice round number.


Longtime friends Katherine Paterson (l.) and Susan Cooper share a moment while MG author and former Flying Pig staffer Emily Raabe gazes with joy at her two all-time idols.

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