The annual end-of-year “best of” lists are popping up like holiday decorations. In the literary world, these serve as gift suggestions, they aid overworked teachers and librarians who are lucky enough to have a purchasing budget, and they fuel speculation about titles that might appear on one of the many 2014 awards lists.
Kate Messner is the author of outstanding books, many of which have appeared on any number of these lists and received awards. Several years ago she wrote a blog post following what many consider to be the “Academy Awards” of literary awards for young readers, the annual ALA awards. It features a poem she wrote:
I read it when she first posted it in 2011, at which time I had not yet written ODIN’S PROMISE. I had, however, been writing for years. When I read her poem, my reaction was, “Yes, that’s what I want. Not to ‘get published’ for the sake of that, or to even imagine winning an award. I want THIS to happen to a book I’ve written.”
Here’s one stanza to show you what I mean, but PLEASE click the link above and read Kate’s poem on her website. It is one of her most often read blog posts, and clicking there to read it honors her talent, and respects her copyright.
“What Happened to Your Book Today
Somewhere, a child laughed
on that page where you made a joke.
Somewhere, she wiped away a tear,
Just when you thought she might.”
Since my debut book released in May, I’ve had the astonishing privilege of hearing from readers (of all ages) who described those very experiences, and went on to say more about the things they enjoyed when reading ODIN’S PROMISE. As uncomfortably immodest as it is to say that, I feel it necessary to let both readers and writers know how genuinely grateful I feel to have had this experience in my life. Moments like these are treasures beyond measure.
Now I’ve heard from my editor that ODIN’S PROMISE was honored as one of the ten best 2014 titles for Middle Grade readers by ForeWord Magazine. (Here) This magazine reviews books published by small presses and regional publishers. I am grateful to them for the honor, and to my editor/publisher (Philip Martin/Crickhollow-Crispin Books) for believing in this book.
Above all, I’m grateful to readers who let me know that Mari and her story mattered to them. And to Kate Messner for putting my feelings into such an eloquent poem.