Ten writers for children. All with something to say.



My work this fall is centered on the death of my mother at the end of August. In this picture of her from last year with my daughter Sophie, her oldest grandchild, you can see how full of life she was. She was the one who read poetry to me and taught me to love language. She was the one who was so proud to have an author in the family. She was the one who had been to the library the day she fell to check out books including How to be Good by Nick Hornby. So many people had kind words to say about her life and reach and all of them provided comfort. I'm sustained by her love and grace and reminded of the importance of living my own life fully.

Thank you to all my fellow spuds for your cards, your care, and your support during this challenging time.


Edie Hemingway said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely photo of your mother and daughter! As a fellow spud, I feel for you in your loss of this vital, caring presence in your life, but rejoice the fact that you had her for so many years, and that she was active right up to the end. Hugs to you and your family...

john said...

Edie, thank you for that.

Christy said...

John, Here is a poem from This Same Sky, collected by Naomi Shihab Nye. I worked on this book many years ago, but this poem has always stayed with me for times like these.


A tree
has been felled

Its leaves
are still alive
its fruits
are still ripening
and birds
are still on its branches

A tree
has been felled

Klara Koettner-Benigni
You and your daughter are the still-ripening fruits that show the glory of your mother/grandmother tree. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Lauren said...

John, thank you for posting this photo of your mother and Sophie~ beautiful! You have been involved in the deep essential work of the living this fall. So many gifts your mother gave to you and so many gifts you have given your daughter and us. Christy, what a beautiful poem, thank you for sharing it.

Stephanie said...

John, what a lovely photo. I remember meeting your mom at UWEC, and I could tell from that brief encounter that she had an amazing spirit. Hugs:)

john said...

Thanks, Christy, Lauren, and Stephanie. Your words sustain and our group strength helps us navigate the joys and sorrows. Thank you.

betsy woods said...

John, my own heart shares the ache of your loss, nary a day passes that my father blesses me in thought and memory, and a different sort of presence. What a tribute to the love you feel for your mother, and how sacred of you to share such tender feelings. Thank you.

Diane Adams said...

What a beautiful poem, Christy, and what a gift you gave your mom, John, by being a writer, a father, a positive force in children's lives, and a loving son.

David LaRochelle said...

Your mother was so very proud of you, John. I remember seeing her at so many of your book signings. I agree with Christy's comments; you and Sophie are living tributes from your mother, and she continues to live through you.