Next, I traveled with friend and fellow author Tami Lewis Brown down to Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book. It's always great to spend time in the company of other authors, and it was an extra special treat to get to see my dear friend Ashley Bryan, an award-winning author and illustrator. I was invited to introduce him at the Sweet Reads book fair, where he received an honor for his work!
At the festival itself, I sat on a panel called Spinning Lives into Story, along with Tami Lewis Brown, Maha Addasi, moderated by librarian Louise Simone. We spoke about historical fiction, non-fiction, and multicultural fiction: all kinds of stories based on real lives and experiences that we as children's authors have a responsibility to make as true as possible. But what is TRUTH, when it comes to fiction? How much can authors make up, and how much should we keep perfectly true to life? What damage does it do to kids' understanding of history if authors falsify or embellish details in a biography? The discussion was lively and really drew people in. We could have talked for days!
It was particularly exciting to be able to speak briefly about my new non-fiction release, Today the World is Watching You (Lerner 2011), about the Little Rock Nine and the fight for school integration in the late 1950s, after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown v. Board decision. Here's the cover!