NAPIBOWRIWEE DAY 2 – Meet Picture Book Author Glenda Armand!

A typical day in the Writing Batcave with Oreo
A typical day in the Writing Batcave with Oreo

Welcome to DAY TWO of NAPIBOWRIWEE! Wow, I was so impressed by everyone’s wonderful comments! Again, I wish I could reply to all of them in a timely manner, but well, I’m kind of juggling a lot. But I promise, I’m reading everything and I have made sure to put everyone’s name into the general prize drawing as well as the special writing class drawing as per your requests. I hope to reply to some of your comments from previous blogs, too, once I catch up!

A few more housekeeping issues…

  1. My blogs post daily at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST. I apologize – I accidentally wrote “6 AM EST” and so everyone on the East Coast got confused today for Blog #1. LOL! Sorry! My bad!
  2. To answer folks who asked this – you do NOT need to comment on every single blog if you are busy. As long as you comment ONCE on any blog, you are included in the prize drawing! 🙂

And now, about my crazy day. I had a script due, so I was busy writing that. One of the biggest challenges about screenwriting is to CUT CUT CUT. I tend to write overly-long for the first draft and then cut in the revisions.

But the more I write – both books and scripts – I find myself finally learning how to write shorter in the first place. Honestly, it’s just practice. Practice makes perfect!

So once I finished my script, I had time to work on my picture book. And because I was in the “write as short and efficiently as you can” mode, I was totally in massive FOCUS mode and wrote Book #1! Because I’m doing the theme of MUSIC, let’s just say it involved music and a cat (because you know me and cats). I kept it SUPER short, like a younger picture book. It was also a poem, because I love poetry, and NAPIBOWRIWEE is my one chance to focus on practicing my poetry chops. And yes, this was a TERRIBLE AWFUL FIRST DRAFT. But I finished it. And I already know exactly how to revise it to make it better when I have more time after our event wraps up!

But then I noticed a lot of people also were commenting and saying “Yeah, this draft is terrible awful! But at least I finished it!”

Which got me thinking… if we FINISHED our first drafts, then that means it was NOT terrible awful. Because SOMETHING WORKED. Something worked in our stories and we were able to get to the end.

So I now take back saying that my Book #1 draft was “TERRIBLE AWFUL.” Instead, I think it was TERRIFIC AWESOME. 🙂 And you should feel that way, too, about your drafts! If you wrote “THE END,” then something worked!

So for Day Two, don’t lose steam. Don’t criticize yourself or cringe at what you think might be so-called sub-par writing. If you can write THE END, then you did a TERRIFIC AWESOME FIRST DRAFT. 🙂

Now, on to our second guest! Our guest author for today is the lovely GLENDA ARMAND.  She has graciously donated an autographed copy of her latest book, IRA’S SHAKESPEARE DREAM (by Glenda Armand and illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Lee & Low Books 2015) for our NAPIBOWRIWEE participants.

(I am collecting everyone’s names in the COMMENTS section each day and will choose a winner based on a random prize drawing! Please visit my blog on May 8, 2016 (9:00 AM EST/6 AM PST) to see who won her book!)

So without further ado, please welcome GLENDA ARMAND!



Written by Glenda Armand

Born in New Orleans, I was the youngest when my parents moved to Los Angeles with their four children as part of the Great Migration. (My three younger siblings were born in Los Angeles.) My childhood memories are full of wonderful train rides to and from Louisiana to visit relatives. I also enjoyed the summers that we stayed home. Then, our cousins would come to visit us. That  was the only time we got to go to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm! (We kept our E-tickets in the top left hand drawer of my parents’ bedroom dresser.)

Throughout my childhood, I was a reader. I loved Dr. Seuss and Beverly Cleary. I enjoyed the classics. I was taken with words. My sixth grade teacher had us write our autobiographies. Mine was basically a recitation of my previous teachers. However, I do remember writing, “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and that is still what I want to be.” I guess I thought it notable that I had reached the ripe old age of twelve and had not changed my mind.

So I became a teacher (and later a school librarian). I loved teaching: I could fulfill my passion for reading and writing. I wrote plays for my students to perform; poems for them to recite. I read them the stories that I loved as a child. Each year I read Charlotte’s Web to my second graders. One year, as I tearfully concluded the book, a little boy, knowing that I had read the story to many classes before, was confused by my tears. “Teacher,” he asked, “didn’t you know Charlotte was gonna die?”

These days, as a divorced mom of two adult children, I write and garden, and work as a substitute teacher. I enjoy substituting. It’s teaching without any of the chores (report cards, faculty meetings). It’s also like grandparenting as opposed to parenting. I sometimes sub for one of my former students. Her students call me their “grandteacher.”



IRA’S SHAKESPEARE DREAM by Glenda Armand and illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Lee & Low Books 2015)

The story of Ira Aldridge, an African American born during the time of slavery, who dreams of becoming a Shakespearean actor. Against all odds, Ira realizes his dream and becomes one of the most famous Shakespearean actors of his time, and the first black actor to play Othello on the English stage.

Q: What inspired you to write picture books?

A: Writing comes naturally through both sides of my family. I have inherited two of the many journals that my maternal grandmother (1897-1995) kept during her long life. She wrote down every day occurrences, birthdays, anniversaries in simple spiral notebooks. She recorded when they first got electricity in their house and when the little country road they lived on got a name (Fig Street). Some days she wrote down memories from long ago.

My father was stationed in the Philippines during World War II. While he was there, he wrote over two hundred letters to his fiancée (my mother). With his 8th grade education, he wrote beautiful prose, full of similes, metaphors, and stream of consciousness. He also wrote letters for his buddies who were illiterate.

I like writing picture books because they introduce children to a person or topic. I hope my books are “appetizers” that make the reader want to know more. Also, the fact that picture books can be read in one sitting makes them ideal for story time and for the reluctant reader.

Q: Do you write in any other genres? If so, what?

A: I have a “drawer full” of rhyming manuscripts. I love writing in verse but such manuscripts are a hard sell!

Q: What is the most challenging part about writing picture books?

A: The word count! I tend to want to write too much. When I am struggling with what to leave out, I dream of writing a novel, and going on and on and on!

Q: Tell us about your first published book – what inspired the idea? 

A: After many years of teaching in the primary grades, I decided to teach eighth grade. In preparing to teach US history, I read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. In those pages, I met Harriet Bailey, the mother of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass writes lovingly and proudly of his mother. When Douglass was too young to work as a slave, he and his mother lived on different farms, twelve miles apart, within the same plantation. In his autobiography, Douglass tells how, on a few precious occasions, his mother would walk the twelve miles to visit him, after she had put in a full day’s work in the fields.

About those visits, Douglass wrote, “I was grander upon my mother’s knee than a king upon his throne.” I was fascinated by his strong feelings in spite of his having spent so little time with his mother; and I was inspired by Harriet’s love for her son. I wanted to tell their story. I mentally put the two of them in their master’s kitchen (where the visits took place) and then, with pen in hand (literally), I listened in on one of their visits.

I felt Harriet’s guiding hand as I wrote Love Twelve Miles Long. The connection that I felt to Harriet was never stronger than when Frederick asked (and I wrote), “Why did God make us slaves?” I decided that I didn’t want him to ask that (because I didn’t have an answer) so I crossed it out. And then I heard Harriet’s voice saying, “Let him ask the question.” And I did.

Q: Any interesting details about the road to your first book’s publication?

A: I was at the SCBWI Summer Conference in 2006, when I went to a workshop given by Louise May, editor at Lee and Low. I got up the nerve to go up to her after she spoke and told her about a manuscript I was working on. She kindly suggested that I submit it to their New Voices Award committee. I submitted it and it won first prize, which was a publishing contract. I had never heard of this award so I am very glad I waited in line to speak to Louise that day!

Q: If you weren’t a writer/artist, what would you be? 

A: I would be what I am: a teacher. I would do the same things I do now: Teach, read, learn, travel, garden, walk, visit. I guess I just wouldn’t write about it!

Q: Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.

A: I competed in the 2002 Los Angeles Marathon. And although I walked all 26.2 miles, I came in first in my category! That category being “black, left-handed, Catholic women over 40.” Sure, it’s a category that I made up, but that’s beside the point. The fact is, I came in first!

Q: If you could give one piece of writing advice for our NaPiBoWriWee participants, what would it be?

A: I think NaPiBoWriWee is a great idea! I have quite a few books rambling around in my head. Some have been wandering in there for years. I get an idea; buy books to research it…and then I move on. Ideally, what I would do during NaPi… Week, is to gather those ideas (and the books I ordered on Amazon) into seven stacks and then, take one stack a day and write an outline for that book. My suggestion to others would be to do something similar.

Q: There’s been increasing pressure for writers to be active on social media. Are you on social media? If so, where can your readers reach you? Has social media helped your writing journey and career? Any advice for writers who might feel overwhelmed by the social media “burden”?

A: I am “on” social media if, by “on,” you mean, “Do you have accounts?” Recently I have become a little more active. It seems like Twitter is the one that I am most comfortable with (which is not saying much). And, since I started tweeting, I have seen more interest in my books.

I think those of us who don’t take to social media naturally, should pick one medium and hang in there! We should use it for the sake of our craft, our careers, and our fellow writers. All of my tweets are book-related. My publisher, Lee and Low, puts much time and effort into promoting my books. I want to show my appreciation by doing my part. So I’ll tweet to our mutual success.

Twitter handle: @glendaArmand

Q: There’s been a growing demand for more diversity in children’s book publishing. What are your thoughts on that, if any?

A: It’s ironic that the demand for diversity is growing at a time when there are more diverse voices in children’s literature than ever before. There were very few black characters in books when I was growing up.

Today there are publishers that specialize in books written by and about people of color. Still, being “diverse” is not enough. If it were, I’d have about twenty books published (about a quarter of them in verse). However, I believe that, no matter who you are, or where you fit in according to the current definition of diversity, if you write a superb story and send it to the right editor, it will get published.

Just tell your story. No one person is “diverse”. Each of us has only one life experience. That’s where books come in! We need to hear each other’s stories. I want to lose myself in your book. I want to find myself there too. I want my book to show you my world, even as you see in it a reflection of yourself. Each of us is unique and, together, we are diverse.


Isn’t Glenda Armand TERRIFIC AWESOME? 🙂 I was honestly very moved by her touching bio, and I loved her gentle humor and insight in her answers for our interview. Team Grandteacher! 🙂 Such an honor to have Glenda as a guest author for NAPIBOWRIWEE! For more information on her, please visit her website here:

In the meantime, ironically Monday will be an “easier” day for me because Sunday night was my script deadline! So I will have a little bit more time to work on Book #2! Please note, I was up writing this blog at 2:35 AM LOL to give you an idea of my hectic Day #1! Hopefully no late nights tomorrow! (But don’t worry – one year, I think it was 2013, my roof leaked in the middle of NAPIBOWRIWEE so I got NO sleep constantly changing buckets all night while posting blogs. LOL! And yes, that roof leak led to a NAPIBOWRIWEE picture book about a leaky house. See? Silver lining!)

Don’t forget, our DAY 3 blog will post May 3rd at 9 AM EST/6 AM PST featuring guest author GWENDOLYN HOOKS

Until the next blog, remember… HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! ?


  1. Glenda – What a wonderful story about Frederick Douglass and his mother – and about your first book. Like you, I piled my books into seven stacks for this week. And am writing outlines and terrible awful first drafts. (sometimes they are stick-figure drawings with dialog balloons!)

  2. I was so touched by your story of reading Charlotte’s Web yearly to your second graders. My mother taught second graders for many, many years and read this timeless classic to every class, too. Great stories touch us deeply, and they do it every time.

  3. Loved learning about Glenda! And I think this is an amazing exercise. I never dreamed what has been a vague idea could flow out so quickly as a story! I had this feeling that I had to have large blocks of time and concentration set aside, that I needed to finish the project I’m on, and who knows when I would have gotten to it! This morning I got up early before work and just started writing, and a complete story came out! Yesterday I got half a story out, but today a whole one and I love it. So glad my friends recommended your writing event. Excited about choosing which idea i’ll rough out tomorrow!

  4. I love how clear Glenda’s inspiration is, and how natural. My books always take on some sentimental undertone, which I have learned to embrace as my ‘voice’ because it is innate. I wrote today’s book while eating breakfast with my son – his recent transition into 4-year-old has come with many hormonal changes resulting in tons of dramatic inspiration for my books 🙂 See what I did there – silver linings here too!

  5. Love love LOVE this post! Totally laughed out loud about first in your category for the marathon :). And adore your story about how you wrote about Frederick Douglass’s mother. So inspiring!

    I admit – I did NOT write yesterday. Sundays in general are tough. But that will NOT happen today. In fact, I’m getting to it as soon as I finish this post. Thanks for the motivation, ladies!!

    • Joanne – bravo for your honesty and it’s okay if you end up having to skip a day or whatever. You have 7 days to get these 7 books done and if you have pull double duty on Monday, I know you can do it! 🙂 xo

  6. What a beautiful bio and post! Such inspiration throughout. I especially enjoyed hearing about Glenda’s early childhood and early years as a teacher. Also, a great tip about speaking up to anyone who will listen at conferences! Brava. I look forward to reading Glenda’s books. And thank you, Paula, for your wise words! On to write a “terrific awesome” draft number 2!!!

  7. Glenda,
    May I quote this on Twitter? ‘We need to hear each other’s stories. I want to lose myself in your book. I want to find myself there too. I want my book to show you my world, even as you see in it a reflection of yourself. Each of us is unique and, together, we are diverse.’ or trim it down to fit better with ‘We need to hear each other’s stories. Each of us is unique and, together, we are diverse.’ I would prefer to use the whole part as it spoke to me loudly which I really like.

    I also like how you gave yourself a category to come first in because you recognized your accomplishment in completing the LA marathon. That is awesome!

    Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors.

    Traci Bold

    • Hi Tracy,
      Thanks for recognizing my athletic accomplishment! 🙂
      For the first part of that statement, I was personalizing an anonymous quote that I read: “We lose ourselves in books. We find ourselves there, too.” The second part, as far as I know, is all me.So quote away!


  8. I am so envious Glenda has her grandmother’s journals! What a treasure! I hope she will maybe make those into a novel one day. 🙂 Thank you for sharing her heartwarming story, Paula!

  9. Wow, I just bought Glenda’s book to give as a gift:) Is it in bad taste to read it before wrapping it LOL LOL

    I put in extra effort this past six weeks to organize a list of ideas and notes to help with this week. It’s turning out to be amazingly helpful.

    2nd rough draft finished.

    Everyone have a wonderful day.

  10. Thanks, Glenda and Paula, for this inspirational post. I like your advice on how to approach NaPiBoWriWee, Glenda. And I also struggle with keeping a low word count when writing PBs. Thanks for sharing your beautiful bio.

  11. I loved this post and really enjoyed Glenda’s story about Frederick Douglass and his mother. Such a poignant tale.

    Thanks to Paula for putting together such a great week for us.

  12. Glenda, I love Ira’s Shakespeare Dream … and your illustrator too!

    Paula, I tend to write short, anyway, so if I can get the meat of the story on the page, I consider it a superb first draft.

  13. Thank you both for sharing today! I love the insights and seeing the same struggles we face as writers. Thank you!

  14. Glenda, I love your marathon category and your grandmother’s journal story. I have my grandmothers letters to my future grandfather. I’ll look for a story in them. Thank you for sharing your process.
    The story about Fredrick Douglass’ mother is powerful. An unsung hero that influenced her son and the country.
    I’ll borrow from Judy Blume and call my draft: a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad draft. Five more to go.

  15. Thanks for sharing Glenda. You made me giggle with “black, left-handed, Catholic women over 40.” Day two went well for me and ready for day 3..

  16. Glenda’s story is inspirational – and how lucky to inherit those family journal diaries. Would love to find a treasure like that to jog my brain’s creativity toward the end of the NaPiBoWriWeek. 🙂

  17. How fascinating, I’m writing a screenplay as well! I find it hard juggling the two sometimes, so I am trying to focus on just a couple of Picture Books… With this week being the exception to the rule 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story Glenda, very interesting.

  18. Glenda, how wonderful to be a grandteacher and to have your own category in the LA Marathon. I love Shakespeare and look forward to ordering your book, it sounds wonderful. Paula, thank you for your advice to take each draft as an accomplishment – a terrifically wonderful draft. Off to write draft two.

  19. I like the comment: We need to hear each others stories.

    And thank you Paula for the gift of National Picture Book Writing Week. I just finished my draft for Day Two. It made me realize that a habit of writing every day can be done.

  20. Glenda, it was so nice to hear a little of your story. I particularly enjoyed hearing about your experience in writing Love Twelve Miles Long. So powerful! Thank you for sharing!

  21. I have often heard “write from the heart” which is obviously what you did when writing Love Twelve Miles Long. Thank you for sharing Glenda and reminding me to write form the heart 🙂

  22. Glenda – I love how you took that nugget of the mother’s devotion and turned it into a picture book. Often times I’m inspired by nuggets, but I can’t figure out how to turn them into a full meal.

  23. Thank you Glenda for your inspiring Q&A. Especially the story of writing Love Twelve Miles Long.
    I’m already one day behind, but hopefully confident to catch up with two drafts tomorrow. Today’s story came almost out of nowhere: 800 words about a sheep talent contest! Lots of revision needed, but it’s a great feeling to have an Ending because endings are my nemesis. Thanks Paula for organising this week, it’s more fun than I expected… so far 🙂

  24. Thank you for the inspirational post! Your marathon comment made me laugh at loud.
    I love your idea for how to get organized for this week. Too bad I only heard about it yesterday and so I am just winging it.

  25. I haven’t finished reading this as I have to get to work in about two minutes and I’m not even dressed yet-priorities hmm? I just wanted to say thanks Paula for reminding us that finishing is worthy of celebration. We writers are so tough on ourselves, it’s nice to be reminded of that every now and then.
    Glenda I’m looking forward to reading the rest of your post after work, I love the idea of Grandteacher, I met an exstudent (who is a teacher now) at a combined schools music event last year. Thankfully just met her, not substituted for her, at 46, I don’t think I’m ready to be a grand anything yet!

  26. I love learning about your writing journey, Glenda! I like the idea of writing 7 books on a certain theme, Paula. My first story was about piano, so maybe music it is! Thanks again for running such a wonderful challenge!

  27. Beautiful post Glenda, thank you for sharing.
    I particularly love your statement: “Just tell your story. No one person is “diverse”. Each of us has only one life experience. ” I may just hang that on my wall.

  28. Thank you so much for your story and your gentle encouragement that comes from a life-long teacher.

  29. Glenda, I loved to hear your story and words of wisdom! I especially love the following ideas:
    Just tell your story. No one person is “diverse”. Each of us has only one life experience.

    Thanks for the inspiration today!
    I am going to tell my own story…

  30. Glenda, thank you for allowing us the pleasure of getting to know you a bit. I LOVE this…”Just tell your story. No one person is “diverse”. Each of us has only one life experience. That’s where books come in! We need to hear each others stories. I want to lose myself in your book. I want to find myself there too. I want my book to show you my world, even as you see in it a reflection of yourself. Each of us is unique and, together, we are diverse.” YES and more yes! I smile in delight at your heart for teaching and writing and sharing your story with such grace and beauty.

  31. I am intrigued to find out how Frederick Douglass’ question about slavery was answered. What a beautiful story of the love between a mother and her son.

  32. Glenda, your warmth and beautiful soul shone throughout your interview, and I feel as if I’ve gained a wonderful grandteacher in my life. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Nadine,
      You have my dream job. Unfortunately, where I live, the “elementary school librarian “is an endangered species. When I was a librarian, it was in middle and high schools. I still loved it, but being an elementary school librarian is the best !!

  33. Glenda: WOW! Your whole post is AMAZING! The last paragraph is SO INSPIRING! I copied it and emailed it to myself so I can turn to it for continued “keep on keepin’ on” guidance and support! THANK YOU!!!

    Paula: I just have to say that I LOVE your motto: HAPPY WRITING! WRITE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! THANK YOU for continuing to spur us all on to the finish line!

  34. Great post Glenda! I related so much to your experiences in teaching and writing. I taught for 23 years , took an early retirement and plan on going back to substituting this fall..I miss teaching. Thanks for inspiring me to keep dreaming!

    …and Paula, Your comment about your roof was so dejavu…In the past three months, I had to replace a car, install an new furnace, and just fixed a leaking roof on my garage this week! I was thinking that fate has not been kind…and trying to work on my kharma!! Waiting for my “silver lining!” Thanks!

  35. Thank you for reminding us that we all have stories to tell. I’m happy to say that draft two is accomplished!

  36. Glenda, I found your post so touching. I love how connected you felt as you wrote the story of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Bailey. It is wonderful how that connection guided your story. Thanks for sharing your story.

  37. This was a great motivator , and coming from a (feeling) old, white country boy I have trouble writing about diversity as I have very little personal experience… So my way of inclusiveness is to write in the 2nd person and try To stay broad minded so that the reader can pull themselves into the main character’s persona.

    Day 2 Grampa’s Tire – changing a tire with grampa

  38. Loved your interview with Glenda Armand. I’m anxious to read Love Twelve Miles Long not only for the story, but also to see how/if she answered Frederick’s question.

    As fate would have it, I’m still available for Jodell’s class. 😉

  39. What a wonderful, inspiring post! Glenda, I can’t wait to read your books. Paula, thanks for your encouraging words. I have finished my Day 2 draft. I would never call it TERRIFIC AWESOME, but this challenge is. Great motivation. Thanks!

  40. Thank you Glenda for sharing and encouraging to write my story so others can hear it, because our uniqueness together makes us diverse. Very motivating.

  41. What a wonderful interview and biography, Glenda! I love that you are Grandteacher and that you still do tear up after reading Charlotte’s Web. You must be so loved wherever you substitute and you must have lifted up a lot of young readers to become voracious readers and writers.

    Paula, as always, thank you for your honest words and advice. I shall think of my work as small victorious steps on this creative path. NaPiBoWriWee is resonating with me and the lightbulb is flickering to on… and it’s awesome. Thank you!

  42. Thanks for the great interview. What struck me is your positivity. You walked the marathon and still placed first in your head. That’s my kind of thinking. 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  43. I have to say that this challenge is really opening my eyes!! I am up super early again, before work, and something that has just been an inkling of an idea for many months has become clear and I’m so excited about it.

    I’ve always felt like I needed blocks of time to sit and figure it out (and who has those?), but 45 minutes this morning of just writing out what my thoughts are on it, and I’m ready to start diving in! Thanks for doing this! Its really showing me that small increments of focused time can be extremely productive.: )

  44. I was a teacher with a minor in Library Science. I found a lot of students are visual learners but since I started teaching before the social media craze I really noticed when I took an incident, or told a funny story about the character in a book students flocked to the shelves to read more. Thank you for your post. Looking forward to reading your books.

  45. Glenda,
    Thank you so very much for sharing about your journey, and your books.
    “The connection that I felt to Harriet was never stronger than when Frederick asked (and I wrote), ‘Why did God make us slaves?’ I decided that I didn’t want him to ask that (because I didn’t have an answer) so I crossed it out. And then I heard Harriet’s voice saying, ‘Let him ask the question.’ And I did.”
    Chills when I read this. I cannot wait to find “Love Twelve Miles Long” and read the answer for myself.
    Thank you also for ending with, “Each of us is unique and, together, we are diverse.” I sometimes fret that my stories won’t resonate with others. Thank you for encouraging us all to keep at it, and reminding us that we benefit collectively when individual voices share.

  46. I wrote my draft yesterday (a quiet one) but forgot to read the blog until today, Day 3 — whoops! Glenda: LOVE TWELVE MILES LONG sounds so lovely. And about your family history: I imagine you’ve read Isabel Wilkerson’s THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS, but I never miss a chance to recommend it so: anyone who hasn’t, DO! It is an amazing book — one of those ‘everyone should really read this book’ books. In any case, thanks for sharing your trajectory, and your time.

    • Thank you so much, Anna! I did read Warmth of Other Suns and even had a chance to hear Isabel Wilkerson speak about it! It inspired me to ask my parents questions that I would not have otherwise asked. Both of my parents passed away last year, so I am very thankful to Isabel. One of my mom’s answers to my questions is the topic of the manuscript I am working on right now!

      • Glenda – so interesting… my dad died two weeks ago, and I’ve been using this week’s work to process some of his life and stories. In the 1930’s, during the Depression, his family moved from northern NY state to the south — to Florida — where life was easier and more manageable and cheaper for them. I was writing and thinking about his stories of that move this morning, and thinking about it in the context of the Great Migration and the peculiarity of this white family moving south during a period when so many African American families were seeking to get out.
        He was quite young, and he had some experiences there that led to epiphanies about race that I remember him talking about on some taped phone calls that I did with him (in effort to collect some of his stories) 3 or 4 years ago. I just dug the recordings up this morning — and will listen to them later after finishing today’s MS.
        Not sure what will be in there but it really is a gift, as you well know, to have these narratives as we grieve, to help us stay connected, and to help us understand the worlds that our parents and grandparents lived in…

  47. Someone should write a book about Glenda she sounds like a very inspiring person :-).

  48. Terrific post! I totally agree with you about word counts and would like to see the old storybook format make a comeback.

    I loved what you said about just telling our own stories, that no one person is “diverse, ” and that each of us has only one life experience.

  49. Thank you for the continued encouragement, Paula. I love this, “Which got me thinking… if we FINISHED our first drafts, then that means it was NOT terrible awful. Because SOMETHING WORKED. Something worked in our stories and we were able to get to the end.”

    SO true! Thank you for the encouragement and reminder that something is working when we complete a draft despite the intense editing that might be required during revisions.

    Glenda- I was touched by so many of the stories you shared in your post. From the moment when you listened to Harriet’s voice to your reading of Charlotte’s Web, from the journal and letters you have from your grandmother and father (such treasures) to your ideas regarding NaPiBoWriWee (very helpful!). Thank you so much for sharing your inspirational thoughts, reminders and experiences.

  50. I love the encouragement you provide to your readers/writers about pushing through and not giving up – to remember, these are “drafts”, a platform to launch the writing for one’s book(s). Thank you!

    Book 2 was a bit more challenging but super fun. I love incorporating real life stories from my own personal life as a child and or from when I helped raise my nephew a few years ago.

    I also find great joy in reading my drafts to others. Today, I read it to a dear elderly friend who used to teach English. She beamed ear to ear, squealed in delight at certain parts, and also, teared up at the end, saying, “Every child is going to fall in love with your book!”

    I feel SO blessed to be a part of this 2016 project! Thanks so much! 🙂

  51. Glenda, thank you for your encouraging words and a great push for me to think about writing a multi-cultural story.

  52. I could never make it through Charlotte’s Web or Polar Express without crying every year in front of my first graders. Isn’t it wonderful to share a book’s lasting impact with your students.

  53. What a lovely post, Glenda! I love how your books encourage readers to just slide into the past, take a look around, and enjoy a ride through history. Wonderful!

  54. Hey NaPiBoWriWee Writing Warriors! Just a quick comment on 5/6/16 to say I’m catching up on comments and loving what everyone wrote. Thank you for your kind words about my blogs and for your observations, progress reports, and very good questions for our guest authors! Thank you to Glenda for replying to some of the comments – we appreciate your generosity and time. So happy everyone is getting a lot out this event! xo P.