If your grandmother’s business card reads “Retired Teacher – Working Writer,” predictable presents come for birthdays and Christmas. On his tenth birthday, Jack called attention to this phenomenon at the dinner hosted by his parents with his best friend, his other grandmother, and us in attendance. When time came for presents, he picked up ours and said, “I think it’s a book.” He got a good laugh for stating the obvious.
The only surprise comes in which book I’ve gotten signed. One year, Gary Schmidt spoke at the Faye B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival on the release day for Okay for Now – and signed three Christmas presents. Sometimes it’s been a Jerry Pinkney picture book for an almost grown grandson so he can have the art. There’ve been books signed by Jane Yolen, Richard Peck, Lois Lowry, and Dan Yaccarino. This year’s are still a secret, but let me say I stood in line for more than two hours after a full day of workshops at the SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles to get some special books autographed.
And now there’s a new little one! Jack might tell his cousin what to expect – or maybe he can guess when he is old enough to examine his afghan made by the aforementioned grandmother. I crossed a multitude of stitches in this creation that includes Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin; Babar and Celeste; Spot; Paddington; and especially Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.
Welcome to the world, Benjamin Taylor Butler. May your life be filled with stories. You can count on me to help that wish come true!