My brilliant author-friend Kristin Rae is also a gifted designer (check out her designs HERE) and she created this lovely book plate for Red Butterfly. Thank you, Kristin!
Amy June Bates is the talented artist whose work appears throughout the book. I feel so honored that Simon & Schuster let me use her art on these bookplates. Her work is gorgeous!
If you'd be interested in receiving one of these book plates to stick in the front of your personal copy of Red Butterfly, follow directions HERE. All I need is a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) and I'll send you the signed book plate.
Last week we threw a launch party for Red Butterfly at the Richland Public Library, and what a cool experience that was!
There was delicious (and beautiful) cake!
Cute little fans!
I read a little bit.
And signed lots of books.
Thanks to the Richland Public Library for hosting. They made the experience so easy for me--providing cupcakes, cookies, and a beautiful venue. My friend, Carrell, baked and decorated the cake. Adventures Underground, a local bookstore, sold books (and sold out in just over five minutes!).
Red Butterfly had a wonderful debut week and I've been (happily) overwhelmed with all the well-wishes.
RED BUTTERFLY will be hitting the bookstore shelves in less than two weeks -- February 3rd!
If you're in the area, I'm having a little party to celebrate the launch at the Richland Public Library in Richland, WA on February 10th, 6:30p.m. All are welcome! There will be books available for sale and I'll be glad to sign your copy!
I'm also celebrating RED BUTTERFLY's launch with a Goodreads Giveaway! There's a link in the side bar, or click here to enter.
Evocative first-person poems divided into three sections—“Crawl,” “Dissolve,” and “Fly”—combine with small, delicate b&w illustrations from Bates to provide a framework that helps organize the chaotic feelings 11-year-old Kara struggles to express. Mysteries pervade her life: although ethnically Chinese, she lives in China in near poverty with her Caucasian mother, hiding her misshapen right hand in long sleeves, speaking English at home, unable to attend school. Mama promises that someday they will live with Kara’s father in Montana, but for now: “Don’t ask me,/ Kara,/ don’t ask me.” Piecing together her story, Kara realizes Mama discovered her, an abandoned baby, and stayed in China illegally to raise her. After this transgression is discovered, Kara finds herself in an orphanage as her Montana parents vie with another family to adopt her. Sonnichsen creates a palpable sense of yearning for home and belonging (“I want to explain, but/ I can’t make my mouth form words./ How a place so beautiful/ can make me feel so sad”) in this heartbreaking, heartwarming, and impressive debut. Ages 8–12.
And more great news (as if that wasn't enough!) ... this morning my editor forwarded me this lovely review from the School Library Journal:
Gr 4-7–After being found abandoned as an infant in Tianjin, China, Kara was never formally adopted by her American parents, leaving her with no identity papers. Kara’s mother hasn’t had a valid visa in years, but she refuses to leave China without Kara. Now 11, the girl is discovered by police who deport her mother and send Kara to an orphanage for disabled children (she has a malformed hand). There she struggles with her feelings of abandonment, and the emotional conflict from the reality that the Chinese government won’t let the only mother she’s ever known adopt her. But soon a different family wants her. Told in free verse that occasionally plays with form to capture Kara’s mood and decorated with small illustrations mixing watercolor and collage, the narrative is broken into three distinct sections: “Crawl,” set in Tianjin; “Dissolve,” set at the orphanage; and “Fly,” set in Florida. Based on the author’s own experiences in fostering for years before being allowed to adopt from China, “Dissolve” is particularly heartbreaking and occasionally shocking, despite the underfunded orphanage being (under)staffed by caring adults. Readers everywhere will empathize with and root for Kara as she discovers where she belongs and her true home.–Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA
Thank you to Publishers Weekly and to Jennifer Rothschild at SLJ for these wonderful reviews!
Last, but not least, I need to announce the winner of my Adoption Month Red Butterfly Giveaway. Thank you to everyone who entered and helped spread the word.
The winner is...
Esther didn't actually post on my blog, but she's a regular reader who emailed to ask if she could be included in the giveaway since she didn't have access to the comments section. I'm so happy to send a copy to Esther because she is an amazing girl who I knew in real life when she was little. I even babysat her! She is adopted herself and has lots of adopted siblings. Red Butterfly couldn't go to a more perfect home.
It's almost Thanksgiving here in the United States.
Originally this week I was going to write a post about the harder part of adoption: PARENTING. The post was going to talk about how you can have this beautiful story of rescuing a baby from a life of parentlessness, but after the fairy tale ... normal life happens. I may still blog about that sometime, but my heart is thankful this week, so I want to focus on thankfulness instead (with an adoption theme, of course, because it's still Adoption Month).
A Happy Beginning: I almost wrote a happy ending, but our adoption wasn't an ending, it was a beginning. Lately I've been thinking back on those almost seven years when our adoption was in-process (and in limbo), and how I lived in a constant state of preparing for the worst, ready at any moment to have my heart broken. But we didn't get the worst. Our adoption worked out. That is a huge blessing that I never want to forget to be thankful for.
Options!: Our sweet, oldest daughter has emotional needs that weren't being met in traditional public school. Homeschooling scared me for so many years, but recently we found a school that's a cross between online school and traditional school in a town near us. It's perfect for her because it gives us time together, but not so much time that we drive each other crazy. Overall, she's very happy and making new friends, and I've seen a significant change in her outlook on life, which has been a huge encouragement.
A Great Man: My Dashingly Handsome Sidekick (aka DHS) is an amazing father who embraced my adoption dream with so much grace. The way he met our oldest daughter was a bit unorthodox: he came home from a school camp and I said, "Surprise! Meet Olivia!" I'm so grateful to have a loving companion who is willing to go on life's adventures with me.
Provision: Our oldest has some special needs because she was born with a cleft lip and palate. I'm so grateful to the Shriners Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon for taking on her case (even though she wasn't a US citizen yet when they started treating her!) and giving Olivia free medical care and surgeries until she's an adult. We have also found a great orthodontist in our area who has helped many cleft lip and palate children. God provides!
Apart from adoption, I am thankful for this great piece of news I got last week: Kirkus gave my book, Red Butterfly, a starred review! You can check out what they had to say here. I've been walking as if on a cloud all week!!