I'm not going to sugarcoat it: the world is a weird, scary place right now for a lot of people (to put it mildly). I'm thrilled to have published Edward Gets Messy, but it's honestly a bit strange to be promoting a kid's book during this time, because it feels self-important and almost a little crass when there are so many bad things happening all over the place. Like, "sign this petition to stop this particular human rights disaster, but also BUY MY BOOK!" It's hard to keep perspective about any one thing.
However, I was reminded of something (something that I am always aware of, but don't always feel in a tangible sense) when doing my first big school visit as an author a couple of weeks ago. I was reminded that books ACTUALLY CAN provide hope and inspiration or at the very least spark conversations that leads to these things. For me, talking to kids about reading and writing was a way to get a handle on things at the ground level while still being able to look at the bigger picture. After all, our own problems (as well as our dreams, passions, and aspirations) don't go away just because there are other problems in the world. All we can do is deal with them, help other people, and try to make the world around us a better place as much as we can.
So when I spoke to the students at this school, I was heartened by stories of their creativity, their own wishes to write a book someday, their love of art, and even the things they used to be afraid of and are not afraid of anymore. In this context, these discussions stemmed from talking about Edward Gets Messy and it's my hope that the kids came away from the presentation with a sense that they can someday be who they want to be and that they have the ability to create beauty in a world that is not always beautiful. Some of the teachers told me that I inspired the kids, but really it was the other was around. Thank you, kids.
(Also, I got a whole bunch of wonderful notes like the one below, which is basically the best review I could ever ask for. The universe is a big place, you know.)
If you'd like, you can read more about the visit here:
And I also came across this lovely review of Edward that I wanted to share with you because it gave me hope personally:
"The book jacket for 'Edward Gets Messy' states that this is Rita Meade’s first picture book for children. She is a public librarian living in Brooklyn, New York. Here’s hoping she picks up her pen again soon for more adventures with Edward or some totally new tale."
Here's to hope in all shapes and forms, my friends.