Saturday, June 9, 2012


Last night magic happened at Hooray for Books, the wonderful independent children's bookstore in Alexandria, Virginia.

Owners, Trish Brown and Ellen Klein, invited me along with several other local authors, Marfe Ferguson Delano, Jacqueline Jules, Mary Quattlebaum, and Children's Literature Specialist, Sheilah Egan, to meet a group of delegates from the Republic of Kazakhstan who work in children's publishing. 
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world by land area.
This delightful group, including author-illustrators Evgeniya Kan and Yelena Korolek, illustrator-graphic designer Dameli Sabitayava, and author Zara Yesenaman, are participants in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Visitor's Program.  The goal of the Bureau is to give the delegates a diverse program that will expose them to everything from children's literature in American schools, to publishing practices, sales, university programs, online content, etc.  

We sat in a circle and shared, laughed, and connected. There was lots of show-and-tell about our books, our creative processes, our hopes, dreams, and the state of publishing in our respective countries. 

When our eyes met, and hugs were exchanged, I realized that although we live so very far apart, our common goal is to give our very best to children through our art, writing, and business efforts. That creates a bond that transcends everything.