We have lots of entries, and wow, your comments really touched our hearts. Thank goodness it’s a drawing and not an essay contest—it would’ve been impossible to pick one entry over another! So now, without further ado: Payton and her brother Logan created this video to announce the winning entry!
Here’s what our winner wrote about Luciana Vega:
She’s a beautiful doll that both of my daughters would love. I’m glad to see a girl that’s into space and science which my oldest daughter loves. She loves her story has read the book already and would love the have the doll! It’s wonderful to see a doll that can inspire young girls to go into the space and science industry. This why I love American girl! My daughter is into space right now had her own star chart, this past week she was telling me about worm holes. Fingers crossed that we can get a chance to welcome her into our home!
Congratulations Erin Wyllie! Please send your mailing address to me, so I can pass it along to American Girl. They’ll ship your Luciana doll to you directly, so be sure you put out the welcome mat for her!
Y’all remember my blog post about Logan Everett, right? American Girl’s first-ever boy doll? Well…ta da! In yet another first, they’ve just published a book for guys!
Written by Cara Natterson
GUY STUFF is a down-to-earth, quick read that covers everything boys want to know about their developing minds and bodies–from healthy eating to hygiene, hormones, emotions and peer pressure, GUY STUFF covers it all. And psst, because I know you were wondering: American Girl isn’t mentioned on the cover, the title page–anywhere, for that matter. This is a boy book, through and through.
Illustrations by Micah Player
Whew! It’s about time, don’t you think? As a proud mama of two sons, I searched high and low for books like this. Slim pickings, back in the day. But here’s to life, always changing for the better! And hurray for American Girl, stepping up to meet that need.
I think GUY STUFF fills a very important space, on bookshelves and in family conversations. But as Lavar Burton of Reading Rainbow used to say, “Don’t take my word for it!” Professionals like Dr. Catherine Pearlman* wholeheartedly agree.
I’ve invited Catherine to join me in The Author’s Tent, to share her unique perspectives on this book. She’s my friend, but she’s also the founder of The Family Coach and an author in her own right, having just released the critically acclaimed IGNORE IT. Hope you enjoy our Q & A session below And don’t miss the Lightning Round at the end!
Q: How can a book like Guy Stuff help kids and parents talk about puberty?
Catherine:Talking about our bodies can be difficult for grown-ups as well as for kids. Sometimes there’s shame and embarrassment. Often parents don’t feel comfortable using proper names for genitalia. Some parents may also be scared to talk about the changes coming for boys. Believe it or not some parents might not even know what to expect during puberty. Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys can facilitate the learning process and open up the discussion for both parents and boys. The book offers an excellent introduction to all that is to come for boys. It covers hormones, physical changes, acne, hair, self-care and much more. The pictures and tone are upbeat, nonthreatening and fun. This book provides an easy introduction that many parents and boys will appreciate partly because it is so well done. The cartoon drawings are adorable but informative.
Why do they even need a book?
For many parents talking about puberty is a struggle. Parents might not be sure when to start or what to say. Likewise, boys might have a hard time asking questions directly to their parents due to embarrassment. But puberty doesn’t wait for parents to become ready to talk. And if boys don’t learn all about the changes from their parents they will likely learn from the kids at school. The problem is often boys are misinformed or only know parts of the truth. Some points may be exaggerated or presented in a scary manner. Other important points may be skipped altogether. The book is such a helpful guide for parents. Sure, the talk can happen without the book. But it just helps parents know all of the topics to cover.
How do parents know when it’s time to introduce this book?
There is such a wide range of ages when boys begin to go through puberty. And it moves at a snail’s pace. Still, it’s important to introduce the concepts of puberty before it begins. This book is geared for boys in the 9 – 12 year old range. In my opinion, 12 is much too late to begin to have the puberty discussion because even if your child isn’t there yet, one of his friends could be. It’s better to be proactive telling boys all they need to know so they are ready when it begins. I’d begin thinking about the talk and book around 9-10 years old.
Should parents just give it to kids or review it together?
It really depends on the particulars. Parents should feel free to review this book with their sons. However, Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys could easily be read and understood by a boy in the recommended age range. It would be perfectly appropriate to give a boy this book. He will secretly devour it. But if a parent doesn’t review it with the child it would be a good idea to make sure the boy knows the parent is open to discussion or questions any time. And I’d recommend the parent following up every now and then to see if any new questions or concerns turn up. One main benefit of this book is that it’s incredibly useful if a parent or child is too bashful to discuss puberty.
What should parents do if they are too embarrassed to talk to their kids about puberty and the birds and bees?
There are two good options here. The best option is that parents take time to read up about puberty and sex and how to talk about these topics with kids. Being informed can help ease anxiety about the discussion. Ask for help when needed from a doctor or use books and articles to help share information. It’s important to remember the talk about puberty and sex shouldn’t be a one and done kind of talk. It should slowly evolve over time to include more age-appropriate information. It can get easier over time.
The second option is to find another grown up who would be willing to have the talk for you. This isn’t the best option but it’s certainly better than not discussing these issues with kids. For some parents this can be a good option if it is just too uncomfortable to have this discussion.
The worst option is for parents to just avoid discussing the topic altogether. Kids will be forced to learn about their bodies from the bits and pieces their friends bring up on the playground. Or they won’t learn at all. It’s too important to help kids through this process. And it’s even more vital that they know about sexually transmitted diseases, how babies are made and about consent. Don’t leave this up to chance that your son will be informed. Fight through the embarrassment and fear and do it anyway.
Do boys need men to help them learn about their body changes and puberty? What if a parent is a single mother of boys?
Boys absolutely do not need men to learn about their bodies and sex. Sometimes it might be easier for boys to talk to a man who has been through the same experience. But not always. Mothers can do an excellent job relaying this information based on what’s available in books and from their own experience. However, if a mother is taking on this role it’s a good idea to offer a grown man as a possible option for the boy if he has additional questions or concerns.
Thanks for spending time in the Author’s Tent with us today, Catherine. Your answers are as genuine and thoughtful as you are! And now…it’s time for the LIGHTNING ROUND! Whatever pops into your head, give it to us as a one-word answer.
*Catherine Pearlman, LCSW, PhD is the founder of The Family Coach, a private practice specializing in helping families resolve everyday problems related to discipline, sleep, and sibling rivalry, among other issues. Her syndicated Dear Family Coach column has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and many regional parenting magazines. She has appeared on TODAY and her advice has been featured in Parenting, Men’s Health and CNN.com. Dr. Pearlman is a licensed clinical social worker who has been working with children and families for more than twenty years. She is an assistant professor of social work at Brandman University, and her new book, IGNORE IT, is widely available.
Congratulations, Marjorie! And thanks, everyone, for your encouraging words on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and (of course) my blog entry about Logan Elliot! I know you won’t be surprised when I tell you that Logan’s already got quite the fan base on social media, and has captured the hearts of many.
There’s a first time for everything, they say. First steps, first words, first day of school, the first time you wish upon a star, or see a whale spouting water from its blowhole. It wasn’t my topmost priority, but I added that last item to my bucket list when Dana Point’s annual Festival of Whales rolled around again last week and (drumroll, please) American Girl debuted their first-ever boy doll!
Meet Logan Everett, a drummer from Nashville, Tennessee. He shares the stage with Tenney Grant, an aspiring country singer who rocks a banjo and guitar. Logan’s “play loud” T-shirt helps telegraph his strong personality. Good for Logan, taking his place in the spotlight! A star turn by American Girl, don’t you think? More on that later, plus a book giveaway contest!
I applaud American Girl for reaching beyond the tried-and-true, expanding their 31-year-old brand to include boy dolls and all that implies. And I got to thinking: If they could muster up that kind of courage, so could I! I’d turn doubt on its ear, twist one of my own fears toward the positive. Hey, I’d even announce my plans on social media. You know, for accountability’s sake.
I picked my knees-knocking, stomach-churning fear of drowning in the deep, blue sea. It comes of a near-death experience in my childhood, but hey, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m willing to face my fears head-on and say, “You aren’t the boss of me!” That’s what I was thinking, anyway, when I booked myself on Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale-watching Safari. Logan would join me, of course. Go big, or go home, am I right?
No surprise, I was the last one to board. After scoping out all the potential danger zones, I eventually settled myself onto a cushy bench inside the catamaran, where I was less likely to be tossed overboard. Thisclose to the life preserver, I might add. Which, by the way, has never been used. But there’s always a first time, am I right?
Now, I’m not a back-row person by nature, so it wasn’t long before I was craning my neck to see what was happening on deck. I wanted to among the first to see a whale’s fluke, and to hear the sea lions bark! So I took some long, deep breaths, grabbed my camera, and inched myself toward the bow of the Manute’a.
Relax, I told myself. And oh hey, isn’t that sea spray refreshing!
I came prepared with ginger drops and Dramamine. I white-knuckled the handrail, more times than I’d like to admit. And when I leaned forward to take these snapshots, I imagined myself tumbling headlong into Davy Jones’ Locker. But! I took the plunge anyway, and wheeee, was it ever worth it!
It’s a courageous thing, too, that American Girl introduced a boy doll in a traditionally girl-oriented market. Tangible proof of their commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. They’ve been stepping in that direction for a while now, creating dolls from different ethnic backgrounds as well as dolls with special challenges. In fact, their 2017 Girl of the Year Doll, Gabriela McBride, is a black girl from Philly who stutters, loves poetry and dance. But Logan Elliot is the face of something entirely new. Another first. He’ll be cherished by children who see themselves reflected in his personality and physical make-up, and he’ll also find a home with kids who are brave enough to stretch their boundaries a bit.
Smart marketing? No question. But let’s not overthink this. American Girl is leading with their hearts—the very definition of courage. And by extension, they’re inviting us to share the rewards. That’s how it works, isn’t it? When we move beyond any self-imposed limitations, we connect with everything beautiful, pure, and true in the world. We come away with bigger dreams. We tell better stories. Oh, and if you’re especially lucky on a given day, you’ll carry home one of Mrs. Capt. Dave’s triple-fudge brownies. So yummy, you’ll wanna give another go.
*BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST:Share with us your thoughts about Logan by midnight on March 16th, and you’ll be automatically entered to win one set of books (TENNEY andTENNEY IN THE KEY OF FRIENDSHIP). American Girl is donating the prize to the winner, who will be announced on St. Patrick’s Day. Luck o’ the Irish to you!
Here’s a sneak-peek of Logan’s first storyline, from TENNEY IN THE KEY OF FRIENDSHIP:
Thanks to her bandmate, a drummer named Logan Everett, Tenney learns the importance of collaboration and compromise. When she’s paired with Logan for a major performance, she faces the challenge of letting others add to her creative voice without sacrificing her sound.
And oh hey! I found two great interviews with the author, Kellen Hertz, here and here.
Meet Gabriela McBride, the 2017 addition to American Girl’s prestigious “Girl of the Year” lineup. The fourth African-American doll in their increasingly diverse line-up, Gabriela joins Melody Ellison, the black “BeForever” doll from Detroit, in making her debut on this blog.
Born into a family of artists in Philadelphia, Gabriela expresses herself through dance and poetry, both of which help her overcome her problems with stuttering. Like most American Girls, she eventually lifts her voice in support of a cause she believes in. Her active support helps save her beloved Community Arts Center.
Just so you know: Gabriela’s story comes to life in the companion book that bears her name. She has her own activity page, and–exciting news, right up her alley–American Girl is partnering with Scholastic on a special project in April to coincide with (and help celebrate) National Poetry Month! You can preview Gabriela’s first novel here; and if you enter the prize giveaway contest at the end of this blog post, you might find yourself among the five lucky winners who receive a free copy of her book!
What more can I tell you about Gabriela that isn’t immediately obvious? She has warm brown eyes and a sweet face, and oh, those signature curls! But best of all, for active girls like me: Gabriela’s built for adventure. I wanted to show her a special place in my community. Thanks to their gracious hospitality, we enjoyed an all-access tour of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
Rescue. Rehabilitation. Release. Research. PMMC does all of this and more, in support of marine animals stranded on beaches along the Orange County, California coast.
Most rescued pinnipeds are severely malnourished and dehydrated. Some have respiratory illnesses and other diseases; still others have injuries caused by fishing lines and hooks, human-inflicted wounds, shark bites, and parasites. This little girl was entangled in a gill net, but is well on her way to recovery.
Working hand-in-glove with trained volunteers, PMMC’s staff employ their special brand of magic. Lots of individuals, each contributing his or her unique talents–similar to what Gabriela experienced onstage at her beloved Community Arts Center.
Fun Fact: Dehydrated animals drink “fish milkshakes,” a customized blend of fish, Pedialyte, warm water, vitamins, and medication, fed directly into their’stomachs through flexible tubes. A typical “milkshake” costs anywhere from $4.00 to $5.00, and is oftentimes subsidized by generous donors. Of course, as soon as the animals are hydrated and stable, they are weaned onto whole fish–like the herring beside Gabriela, pictured above.
At PMMC, there’s plenty of space to swim, soak, snooze, and otherwise savor their temporary quarters.
While the average length of stay is three months, treatment plans depend on the nature of of each animal’s illness and injuries.
Direct contact is kept to a minimum, to help keep PMMC’s charges from getting too comfortable in their temporary quarters. Although the workers can get quite attached, their highest priority is the animal’s welfare and eventual release.
After visiting their treatment facility, we wandered through PMMC’s educational exhibits, where we learned more about marine life and the importance of preserving their natural habitats. Because the outdoor pool was occupied, we were able to watch three healthier, longer-term residents play tag and perform impromptu water ballets. (Webcam link, for future reference.)
Here at PMMC, you’ll make lots of new friends–returning locals, and visitors from all over the world! Heather Singer, for instance, who hails from Philadelphia. She came for the sea critters, but couldn’t resist a quick snapshot with Gabriela. Happy smiles, multiplied…
It was a really fun outing, and we plan to visit often. But nothing beat the excitement of watching PMMC’s rehabilitated animals swim out to sea again! Brought by rescuers into the Pacific Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Center in October 2016, two healthy sea lions– “Cave Woman” and “Struggles” –made their way back to the ocean in late January. They stole the show, rushing out of their crates, and when they reached the water’s edge…well, just watch it. Your hearts will grow three sizes, I promise you.
Here’s Gabriela again, saying goodbye and good luck to her new friends.
And now for the book giveaway contest! All you have to do is add a comment to this entry, answering one of two questions:
1) What do you like best about the Gabriela Doll? or
2) What impresses you most about the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach, California?
You have until midnight on Valentine’s Day to enter. Good luck!
Meet Melody Ellison, a 9-year-old African-American girl who loves gardening, singing in the church choir, and listening to Motown music. Her story, No Ordinary Sound, is set in 1960s Detroit during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches about equality, American Girl’s newest BeForever™ character picks “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for her very first solo performance. Change is in the air, and when the unspeakable happens in the Deep South, Melody’s voice is silenced. Can she recover it before her upcoming solo? Enter the book giveaway at the end of this blog post, and be among first to find out!
Most girls choose dolls that look like them. They want dolls that spark their imagination and inspire them in some way. Melody and I aren’t twinsies, but then again, I didn’t look like my beloved clothespin doll (Miss No Name), either. But we share the same name, and our stories are similar. Best of all, Melody Ellison’s built for adventures, just like me.
She arrived in her “meet” dress, accessorized here with a pillbox hat, cat-eye sunglasses, and a patent leather handbag.* Motown all the way, but ready for her adventures in La La Land.
We took a quick tour of my backyard first, because that’s what gardeners do. So flattering, the California sunshine on her beautiful hair and skin! I tucked some flowers into her handbag and then we headed to the beach.
Lovely view, don’t you think?
Melody opted quickly for a more casual look, ditching the handbag and slipping out of her patent leather flats.
She scrambled up the lifeguard stand…
…and splashed in frothy waves.**
Salty breezes tousled her hair, and her sunglasses slipped down her nose.
We explored the tide pools together, collecting sea glass and ocean-smoothed rocks.
Then we leaned against this outcropping, watching the surfers and listening to the seagulls.
Melody didn’t bring a beach hat, but she protected her curls with this fetching little number. A passerby pivoted, called over his shoulder: “Hey, isn’t that the doll I saw on the news? She smiled and waved, like the celebrity she is.
It was a memorable day, start to finish–lots to write and talk about when we got home!
We had so much fun on our beach adventure, and I can’t help but think that girls of all ages will fall in love with Melody Ellison.
Kudos to American Girl for designing this beautiful doll, who reflects so well the changing face of history. Author Denise Lewis Patrick should be congratulated, as well, for adding No Ordinary Sound to the growing collection of diverse books. Melody isn’t just a doll–she’s a phenomenon. In lifting her voice for positive change, she’ll inspire girls of all ages to do the same.
*American Girl collaborated with a six-member advisory board that provided input on all aspects of Melody’s appearance and storyline, including her outfits, accessories, hairstyle, historical events and settings.
I heard it through the grapevine, aka my Facebook feed:
American Girl has embraced Motown and civil-rights era Detroit with the release late this summer of a 9-year-old African-American doll and aspiring singer named Melody Ellison. —Detroit News
According to the official press release, Melody is “a singer and loves to perform in church, with her family, and in her community. Her stories are set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, which was gathering momentum, and the music scene, including the success and popularity of Motown Records and its artists. She is inspired by Dr. King to have a dream of her own: to lift her voice for fairness and equality.” She chooses “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for an upcoming solo competition, but the book synopsis hints at an “unimaginable tragedy in the South that leaves Melody silent,” just before she’s set to perform.
I’d never played with an American Girl doll before, nor had I read any of their novels. But who could resist a storyline like this. Sure, it’s earmarked for Middle Grade readers, but I read it straight through and wanted more! That’s the thing about good storytelling, isn’t it? It broadens our perspectives, and rounds out our experiences in new and surprising ways.
We aren’t twinsies, of course, and I don’t lay claim to Melody’s story. But we do share the same name. And our experiences are somewhat similar. I emailed author Denise Lewis Patrick, to say as much:
My name is Melodye, and I just now came across your book, “No Ordinary Sound.” I’m truly fascinated by the parallels between Melody’s [story] and that of my own.
I was a child of the 60s who experienced the Civil Rights movement while criss-crossing the country with my father, a faith-healing, tent evangelist. [Like Melody], I lost my singing voice when racism touched my life; I recovered it just last February, when I sang onstage with the Harlem Gospel Choir.
I’m thrilled that American Girl’s giving voice to these important periods of time in our national history, and I look forward to watching them come alive again–in a positive, relatable way, for a new generation–through your words and the doll they’re introducing this summer. It’d be my pleasure to feature a Q & A with you on my blog, to introduce Melody on Facebook, and/or wherever…
In our Q & A, Denise talks with me about No Ordinary Sound, chats about her writerly life, and participates in the ever-popular Lightning Round.
No Ordinary Sound:
Melodye: Let’s start by pretending, for just a minute, that we’re doing a live interview via Twitter. Denise, would you please tweet a 140-character summary of No Ordinary Sound, followed by a second tweet that describes its audience?
Denise: Okay. This is hard! I am not really a Tweeter, but here are my attempts:
1) What does one community in 1960’s Detroit hear when Melody Ellison lifts her voice in the fight for justice? #NoOrdinarySound.
2) For everyone who hears the call for justice, and answers:#NoOrdinarySound. (The dedication for the book)
M: Did you work with a prototype doll for Melody? Or an outline, maybe, to help breathe life into her story?
D: I did create an outline for Melody’s story, which went through a few rounds with the AG editors, and then got tweaked as I fleshed out the story. My work always evolves as I write, so initial outlines change, too. The prototype came later.
M: While the novel itself is fiction, No Ordinary Sound is also based on actual events in American history. Please describe for us your research adventures, specific to this book. And a follow-up question, if I may: How much of Melody’s storyline comes of your personal observations and experiences?
D: I began by diving into background info provided by AG’s amazing research librarian. As the outline evolved, I could determine what additional sources I needed. One thing I love to work with in doing historical fiction is local newspapers from the period. That way I get a both a broad and a specific view of the community and what’s happening at the time. I could see which national events in the Civil Rights movement were impacting the city, and get a sense of how the black community was involved on a local basis in civil rights issues. I did a ride-around in Detroit with one of the members of our Advisory Board who grew up there. She another board member who’s a Detroit native gave me lots of anecdotal stuff that I could follow up on, like going to Detroit baseball games (I had to research teams and players).
I’d say that many of Melody’s family experiences mirror some of mine, in the way she is surrounded by extended family, the way they share a big meal once a week, the way they talk about justice and injustice as a matter of course. So what’s happening on the national stage is in the context of Melody’s understanding of the black experience. She has a strong sense of community, of connection and possibility. Although I grew up in the South, I was a girl in the 60’s, and that’s very much what I was like.
M: Though it’s set in the Civil Rights era, most aspects of this novel are timeless. What might readers find relatable – and surprising —about Melody’s story?
D: Relatable? Her friendships, the fact that she loves singing, but has shaky confidence in her own ability to take center stage. What might be surprising is Melody’s closeness with her older brother, Dwayne. She’s his biggest supporter in his dream to become a Motown star, so much so that she sort of stands up to their father—in a respectful way, of course. [M: Want to know more? Download your Reader’s Guide here.]
M: If Melody had an Instagram account, what kinds of things could you imagine she might post for her family, friends and fans?
D:She’d post hairstyles, pics of herself and her sisters and Val posing as the latest, hottest girl group, maybe close-ups of her prized flowers or veggies.
M: So cool, that Melody loves gardening, same as I do! I’m thinking she might also post pictures of her sweet terrier, Bo.
M: Are there any other Melody books available and/or planned for the future?
D: The second part of Melody’s story is Never Stop Singing—which takes her back to the family’s roots in Alabama, and deepens her understanding of social justice. It’s out this summer. Also coming up with the release—based on the characters but written by a different author, is Music In My Heart, a Journey with Melody. Readers get to choose how the story plays out. It’s really fun. And I think there’s a Melody mystery in the works, too.
M: You can read more about Melody’s story collection here.
Questions about Denise Lewis Patrick’s Writerly Life:
M: What’s your backstory, Denise, as an author who writes primarily for young readers?
D: My backstory is that I’m a Louisiana girl who graduated with a Journalism degree. I moved to New York to write for magazines, but ended up happily editing, then writing for kids. Along the way I got married and had a family of sons. We have a very lively house when they’re all together these days. I teach, garden kind of randomly, make cloth dolls, and write poetry. I went back to school a few years ago at the same time a couple of my sons were in college. Last December, I got my MFA degree in Creative Writing. I think what’s funny about my background is that many members of my family taught elementary and middle school, and now I write for the grandkids of their students!
M: What types of books resonated with you as a young girl? Were they recommended to you, or did you discover them on your own?
D: Oh, I loved some of the classics, like fairy tales and The Secret Garden. My grandmother (third grade teacher for 44 years) gave me the complete set of The Wizard of Oz books. I also loved/love A Wrinkle in Time, which instilled a lasting love of sci-fi in me. I found many books on my own at the library or through our Weekly Reader mail-order book club.
M: You’ve authored an impressive library of books. What can you tell us about your writing rituals and routines? What sparks your creativity, and what keeps you at the keyboard when your confidence falters or inspiration doesn’t come?
D:I admit that I don’t have a set routine. When I really get going on a project, though, I create a playlist to give me a vibe for the subject. For Melody, I found some of the songs that became popular during the marches and protests of the 50’s and 60’s. I did listen to a lot of Stevie Wonder, but much of it was from my college years in the 70’s.
I find inspiration just about anywhere. Ideas are sparked when I’m walking down the streets of New York or in a line at the bank, from snatches of conversation, or even from an unusual or interesting name.
When I hit a wall in thinking, I sometimes jump ahead in the story, maybe a few chapters. Sometimes that gives me clarity on how to get from point A to point B. I have discovered over my career—and my husband and sons will attest to this—that I work best under extreme pressure. What keeps me going when the going gets really tough is a deadline hovering over my head like an anvil from the old cartoons.
M: How and when did you get involved with the American Girls book series?
D: I got involved when I was asked to do the Cecile Rey character a few years ago (2012). Her story was set in New Orleans in 1853. The editor who called me had read my middle grade historical fiction novel, The Adventures of Midnight Son. I thought it was cool that my previous work sort of got me the job.
M:What writing project(s) are you working on right now?
D: I’m revising a middle grade fantasy novel and working on some short stories that might be Y/A or adult. But I’ve been spending some time with my family and have a new idea for a totally different short story collection, so I’ll probably be working on all of this at once. Then I have to choose what to focus on after I begin teaching in the fall.
M: Just for fun, but loosely based on your bio! A single word will do, but feel free to elaborate as you wish.
Backyard gardening or nature hikes—or a little of both? Gardening!
Argo Starched laundry or fresh-from-the-dryer? Argo!
Irish brogue or Southern accent? Both!
Tell us something no interviewer has ever asked about you, but you wish they had? Sorry, I’ve got nothing for this one!
M: Well then, I’ll add this additional fun fact: According to the Detroit Free Press, American Girl donated $100,000 in books (No Ordinary Sound and Never Stop Singing) to the Detroit Public Library system. Kids can pick up a free copy of either book until the end of the year. They’re also donating $50,000 in cash for children’s programming and children’s area improvements, plus $25,000 in dolls!
To learn more about Denise Lewis Patrick, please visit her website. I’ll review the Melody doll in a separate blog post–stay tuned!