New year huzzah and upcoming talks

I love the first Monday at the beginning of the year. It's like fresh snow has fallen. All those footprints from last year and the year before are erased. Sure, we'll each put on our snow shoes and trudge along the same paths where we left off, but there's a lovely pause, isn't there? I always feel a burst of new enthusiasm for my old paths, and a renewed desire to stamp some new ones into the snow.

And here is the most fantastic news: Katherine Patterson is our new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. I can't tell you how much I love her work, and once you meet Katherine or hear her speak, it's impossible not to adore her as well. She has so much to say, on so many levels. Several years ago Roger Sutton at Hornbook interviewed her. Anyone know when this was, and if it's online? It's a wonderful interview between two old friends.

I have lots to look forward to this year. I'm just finishing my first "real" novel. What a challenge! And I'm sure once my editor gets back to me, I'll be chained to my desk, rewriting madly. But what a gift; write something and get incredible feedback on how to make it better!

I've got some great talks coming up. I'll be one of the speakers at Kindling Words in late January, doing talks at the Mechanic's Institute and Bookshop Santa Cruz in February, and traveling to Selma, Alabama in March for the 45th anniversary of the bridge crossing. Later in the spring/summer I'll be at the International Reading Assoc., Children's Literature New England, and Brigham Young University.

I wish for all of you a gratifying new year and new decade. Remember to take opportunities that come your way, work hard, love deeply and recklessly, and help make the world a better place, one small, insignificant act at a time.