The Gift of a Book

It’s already the end of April, can you believe that? And with the end of the month, I once again come bearing some positive news as part of the We Are The World Blogfest. If you want to find out more good things that are happening in the world, check out their Facebook page and look up today’s post. We try to link all our positive blog posts there.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being a part of the Alabama Book Festival. One of my friends needed an additional YA author to be a panelist on their Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction panel, and I was more than happy to join in! (Look for that video coming soon on my YouTube channel!)

It was a warm day but there was a nice breeze, so when I arrived at my tent a couple of hours early, I was happy to sit down and listen to the panels that were held in the North Tent before ours. One of those panels really stuck with me.

Poets, Irene Latham and Charles Waters, discussed their latest poetry collection, “Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship”. One of the comments Charles made was about the Mississippi Book Festival. They take one day and bus in children from all over the district to come talk to the authors. As part of the event, every student is given a copy of the book – in this case, Irene and Charles’ poetry book was chosen.

Now let me clarify that their book is filled with pictures and is hard-back, complete with a slip cover protector. When the children got onto the bus, they were confused. What was the cover protector on the books? What were they supposed to do with them? That’s when the teachers realized that the children had never owned a hardback book like that before. Charles said when he told that story to the superintendent, the man cried.

The children had never owned or seen a book like that before. You never know, the gift of a book to a child may just open the world up for them.

Turn On The Light

I know it’s been a while since I participated in the “We Are The World Blogfest”. The only excuse I have is that I’ve been working on my latest book, Broken. And prepping for all the events coming up in the next two months. You know, normal stuff. I always like to try to be part of it though because it’s a great way to remind myself that there are indeed good things going on in the world, even if it’s hard to see them.

This month I wanted to focus on a comedian known as Sammy J who made an amazing statement about a horrific tragedy. In his comedy series, Sammy J.’s Playground Politics, that is aimed at adults, he helps “children” follow the daily election campaign. He usually pokes fun at politics under the guise of running a children’s TV show. However this time, he dropped the humor.

He takes his time to answer a child’s letter in to the show. In it, the girl talks about seeing people crying on the news and not understanding why, but then her mother turned off the TV to keep her from being scared. However this only made the girl more terrified cause she didn’t know what had happened.

Sammy J tries to explain to the little girl what terrorism is and why bad people do terrible things. It’s honestly brilliant. I know this is aimed at adults and the letter from the girl may or may not be real, but he finds a great way to explain terrorism and hate crimes in such an inspiring way, that I had to share it.

When Hate Backfires

This has been such a busy month! Between festival events, line edits for Stolen, and working on the first draft of Broken, my free time has been very limited! But you know, I always enjoy coming back to take part in the
We Are The World Blogfest” at the end of the month. It’s a great way to remind myself that there are indeed good things going on in the world, even if it’s hard to see them.

We are the World: In Darkness, Be Light

You may have heard about a particularly ridiculous Twitter post that went viral this month. It was a picture of Daniel Craig wearing a chest brace to carry his baby around. It was freaking adorable, but this person decided that it was a sign of being emasculated.

Twitter exploded. But not in the way that you might expect!

Such a disgusting comment brought out some truly incredible backlash.

The comments on that post now are filled with dad’s posting pics with their own babies, many of which admitting that they miss the times when they could carry them around. It’s absolutely beautiful to go through and see all the positivity that comes through, and even several brands hopping in to thank the parents for sharing the photos.

It’s a beautiful example of how toxic masculinity is turned on its head. We live in a time when dads should be allowed to be supportive, nurturing parents without having to deal with constant vitriol. It makes me happy to see this kind of toxicity pushed down.

Seriously if you get the chance, take some time this Friday and enjoy reading through all of these brilliant comments. I promise they will renew your faith in humanity!

Unexpected Kindness

Can y’all believe that October is just around the corner? It really is my favorite time of the year, when the weather isn’t too hot down where I live. Haunted houses, spooky hay rides, hedge mazes, apple cider, candy corn, and Halloween parties! Before we dive into a month full of spooky fun, it’s time to serve up a nice slice of optimism for your Friday. I’m very happy to be part of the “We Are The World Blogfest” once again – cause the world needs to be a little bit more bright and cheery.

Imagine you’re on your morning commute, stuck in slow traffic and going around back roads on the more impoverished side of the city. The traffic light ahead seems to be running on slow motion and you’re pretty sure the driver in front of you dropped something on the floor beside her cause she keeps bending over to reach it. It’s a Wednesday and you’re tired but you’re only ten minutes away from work. You’ve got some nice tunes blaring off your phone, so that helps.

Then you turn to notice a women sitting on the side of the road. She’s camped out on top of a large drainage grate, wearing a spaghetti strap shirt and leggings. She’s homeless, you can tell from the mounds of sheets and blankets around her. You feel bad for a moment because you realize it’s like you’re watching someone in their bedroom and it feels wrong. The woman is smiling though and smoothing out the sheets she’s sitting cross-legged on, as though expecting company. That’s when you notice the police car behind her.

You inch the car forward a bit while the traffic light goes from green to red again, still glancing over to find out what’s going on. A female office gets out of the cop car, and your heart sinks for the homeless lady. You hope she isn’t about to be arrested or something. But then the officer pulls out a bag of take-out from her passenger seat and brings it over to give to the homeless lady. They’re all smiles and the officer hangs around to chat with her for a moment while she digs into the fresh, hot breakfast.

That was my commute one humid morning, and yes, I did tear up at the sight. It was one of those brief moments of kindness that just breaks your heart and stitches it together at the same time. It makes you have faith in humanity again. If an officer can take the time out of her busy morning to help a person in need, then surely we can too.

I figured this was also a good time to announce that in October, I’ll be participating in the Authors For Families auction!

“We’re a group of primarily debut novelists eager to do what we can to reunite immigrant children with their parents, and to combat inhumane family separation policies.”

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of The She-Wolf of Kanta to whoever wins the bid, and I may be tossing in some additional swag along with it.

Please share and invite anyone who you think would like to not only get a copy of my work, but would also like to donate to a very good cause!

Library Love!

It sure does feel like the last Friday of the month has rolled around again. I don’t know about you but July flew by. So I guess it’s time for a little slice of optimism served on a neat digital plate. I’m very happy to be part of the “We Are The World Blogfest” once again – cause the world needs to be a little bit more bright and cheery.

Now if you’re at all connected to the book world, you might have heard about an article that was getting a lot of attention earlier this week. Forbes released an opinion piece from an Economics department chair regarding the value of libraries. His verdict? That they should be replaced with Amazon instead.

If you love your libraries as much as I do, you can imagine the type of backlash that comment received. Forbes pulled the article, citing pretty much that the author of the opinion piece was misinformed, like apologizing for a burned piece of toast and quickly removing it from the kitchen table. Kudos to them for acting quickly and not just racking up the hits that this article would surely have continued to receive.

The part that really made me want to share this story this Friday with all of you though was the reaction on Twitter. That was where the majority of the backlash came from, and people came out of the woodwork to defend their libraries and to reconnect with their love of these sacred public spaces.

 

If you want to see more of these tweets and responses, check out this fantastic collection! I hope this helps you not only appreciate the libraries that you have, but that there are still a whole bunch of people who will also leap to defend them. Happy Friday, everybody!