Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Incredible Magic of Kathryn Erskine

One of my favorite authors -- and humans -- is Kathy Erskine. I first met Kathy back at Virginia Book Festival in 2010 when se shared a panel. That was the year Kathy was promoting MOCKINGBIRD, which went on to win the National Book Award. (Haven't read that one yet? FIX THAT RIGHT NOW.) A few months later Kathy stayed with me when she came to Birmingham for some book events. I was thrilled to show her around and also get know her better!

So anyway, I've recently read two of Kathy's newest books -- a picture book biography MAMA AFRICA! How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song, illus. by Charly Palmer and a middle grade novel THE INCREDIBLE MAGIC OF BEING.

They are both wonderful, and I hope you will read them! You will love Miriam. What an inspiring woman! And you just might cry when you read Julian's story... I did. It's a book that healed me in a way -- I both read it in print and listened to it on audio, and more than once I found myself in tears as Julian talked about how people don't just die, they live on in the stars.

Because Julian likes dogs, he's sure he will end up in Sirius, the dog star. I instantly started thinking about people I've lost and what constellations they might inhabit, and it brought me such comfort! Also: what constellation might *I* inhabit?

There's also a kindness meditation in the book that I really think could change the world. And I completely loved the family in this book -- two moms, though this is not a plot point, just a fact -- and a 14 year old sister Pookie who goes all "supernova" from time to time, and also makes orangutan noises. :)

Julian is a wonderful narrator, and he grows in the story in realistic, touching ways that I will leave you to discover. Someday maybe me and Julian will meet each other at the dog star. Thank you, Kathy, for writing this book!


  1. Thank you so much, Irene! What lovely memories I have of being in Birmingham where you were not only the perfect hostess and tour guide, you even were up in the middle of the night sewing together a quilt topper for my daughter! You are kindness personified. I love how you connected with the book and I hope others can walk away with that feeling that we are all connected--in life, and even afterwards.

  2. Hi, Kathy and Irene. I'm looking forward to the books. That kindness meditation sounds wonderful. There is a knitting practice where we weave kindness, or loving thoughts, into the stitches.


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