First of all... Hello Kids! I know if I were still a kid and I saw "For Grown-Ups" I would click on that first thing and find out just what those grown-ups were talking about behind my back! Well, Kids, you're about to find out! (This is Kendall, by the way. Amy's busy drawing.)
As a mother, stepmother, aunt, caregiver, preschool teacher and doting friend, I have to confess that my awe and adoration of children has been the theme of my life and I am absolutely giddy at the idea of being able to reach out to children I may never even get to meet.
More than anything, what Amy and I want to offer the children you love is help in navigating childhood, which is never as easy or as carefree as we would wish. As a child, I had big questions I didn't know how to ask. In writing for children, I want to address those big questions because I suspect more children are thinking about them than we would ever guess.
We want our books to represent all our beautiful children and configurations of families. I have to confess in my original sketches for The Growing Up Book, the child who wanted to grow up was a girl. Of course, my sketches were singularly hideous as I have never been able to draw women or girls or cats. I can only draw men and boys and dogs. (Dr. Freud, do you have an opening next week? In the afternoon?)
In Amy's hands, the child in the book came to life and we realized we didn't know if they were a boy or a girl. Amy had captured that tousled hair, skinned-knee chapter of childhood when so many children are so delightfully non-binary. Our little protagonist, of whom we are so fond, is our first small step toward doing our part to better represent all kinds of kids in all kinds of families.
Now I must tell you that my favorite part of Read and Write Books is the Write part. Amy has been making art and I have been writing since we were children.
We want to give every child the confidence to wield a pencil, pen, paintbrush or crayon.
Kids, are you still here?
If you are, I want to tell you and your Grown-Ups how humbled and honored we feel to think of our book in the hands of grown-ups being read to the children they love. That's a sacred space. To think of sharing it with some of my heroes -- Margaret Wise Brown, Esther Averill, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, to name a few in my pantheon -- is quite a feeling indeed, for which we thank you dearly.