Sandy Relief + F2B + Island Discovery + New Visions Award

Elizabeth Bluemle -- November 2nd, 2012

We of The Flying Pig Bookstore have often wondered if author Kate Messner has a clone, because she gets more accomplished than any three human beings we know. This week is no exception. The winds from Sandy’s wake hadn’t yet subsided before Kate devised a terrific fundraising idea to help the Red Cross help those hit hard by the hurricane: a “talent auction” featuring manuscript critiques, Skype visits, phone calls, marketing consultations, virtual writing workshops, and much more, from children’s book agents, editors, authors, and illustrators.

KidLit Cares is the name of this endeavor, and we hope you’ll check out the items. When people chip in to help friends and neighbors across the nation rebuild from devastation, they don’t expect anything in return. So it’s an extra gift to get something — many somethings — that are extraordinary!

Addendum: For folks wishing to donate their skills to #KidLitCares, Kate adds this information: “Joanne Levy will be picking up the baton for a Round Two & I have an email addy for those who wish to donate –”

Thanks so much, Kate and Joanne!


My sister called me this morning. “Liz!” she crowed into my voicemail. (She’s the only one still allowed to call me ‘Liz.’) “You should come over tonight! It’s the 40th anniversary of Free to Be…You and Me, and we should celebrate by doing the whole thing. Still know every note and word? I do. ‘Hi, I’m a baby.’ What’s the next line?”

I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that we listened to that record hundreds of times during our childhoods. We really DO know every word and note. In fact, that groundbreaking work celebrating individuality, diversity, and community was so formative in my life that, some thirty years later, FREE TO BE was the first show my co-director and I chose to inaugurate our local community theatre endeavor, the Charlotte Town Players. We had a cast of 50, from age 4 to age 84, and it was a blast! Just as relevant to today’s kids, and as funny and entertaining and touching and inspiring, as it had been for us.

If you haven’t already introduced your children to it, trust me, they will be singing along and reciting the poems by heart right along with you. The Running Press reissue of the book includes the CD. These truly are stories for free children, and I was so delighted my sister noticed the articles (here and here) and called on our 40th F2B anniversary.


It’s a good thing I do check in with Facebook now and again, because the other day, fabulous children’s book illustrator Kevan Atteberry posted a link to this L.A. Times article about the probably discovery of the cave that housed the Native American woman whose story inspired Scott O’Dell to write the Newbery Award-winning novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins. I hadn’t remembered (if I’d ever known) that there was a real woman who jumped ship to swim ashore for a baby, and was left behind, alone, on that island all those years ago, but it makes sense. Real life always provides a kind of scope, awe, wonder, and terrible beauty that we would be hard-pressed to invent.

I won’t give away the content of the article here, but will say the irony of the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas'” eventual death saddened me, while the descriptions of her sturdy good cheer and strength were lovely and heartening. Thanks for sharing this, Kevan.


Finally, just got word that, because of Hurricane Sandy, the deadline for the New Visions award from Tu Publishing has been extended to November 14.

Here’s how the award is described on the Tu Publishing website:

“TU BOOKS, the fantasy, science fiction, and mystery imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the first annual NEW VISIONS AWARD. The NEW VISIONS AWARD will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500.”

So, writers of color, take note! Writers of pallor, pass this along to your friends! Can’t wait to read the results!


And those of you still affected by the hurricane, please stay safe and let those of us who can help know what will most help. Take care!

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