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HAPPY APRIL

Posted by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Lee Bennett Hopkins
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on Friday, 30 March 2012 in My Journal

DR_SEUSS2April and I turn another year chronologically on the l3th -- Friday the l3th.  Thank goodness I am not superstitious.  I say 'chronologically' because there are two very nasty words I cannot utter -- 'old(er)' and 'retire(ed)'.

April l9th, I deliver a talk at Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida, for the Edison Speaker Series as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration.  The talk is "Celebrity Encounters in Writing."  Thus, back to the late 1960's, early '70's, when I hopped hither and yon interviewing close to 200 authors and illustrators of books for children.  What memories.

Working on the speech gave me impetus to delve into a bevy of files -- pulling out a host of memorabilia.

The letter on the left is, of course, from Ted Geisel, Dr. Seuss, who sent the greeting to me in 1991, on the publication of a collection I did, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, where I included a verse   from his HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU (Random House, 1959).  Along with the note I received a copy of his ...BIRTHDAY TO YOU, warmly autographed. 

 "HILARY' in the note refers to Hilary Knight, the wondrous illustrator of the ELOISE series, who illustrated my SIDE BY SIDE and HAPPY BIRTHDAY (both Simon & Schuster; both long out of print).

I truly forgot how much correspondence Ted and I had for over such a long period of time.

Other tidbits I found were items from Julie Andrews, Shel Silverstein, Madeleine L'Engle, Roald Dahl, Ezra Jack Keats, Maurice Sendak, et. al.

Talking with Shel Silverstein at an outdoor cafe coffee shop - Cafe Sha-na-na - on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village was like meeting Santa Claus for the first time!  Unreal!

March was a busy month.

I completed a second adult novel, a comedy.  I swore after placing THE END on the last page I would never go through this process again.  It only took about a week or so before thinking of a third.  The gods must be crazy!  Several ask:  "What if neither gets published?"  My response:  "I cannot think about that. The one thing I can think about is that I did it and not saying, "I wish I had.' or "Someday I might." 

Received news from my incredible editor, Rebecca M. Davis at Boyds Mills/Wordsong, that Jane Manning will illustrate JUMPING OFF LIBRARY SHELVES, to appear in 2015.  Jane did the artwork for my A PET FOR ME: AN I CAN READ BOOK (HarperCollins).  I'm quite happy I'll be teamed up with her again.

So -- another year on the planet.  I love the quote from the rebellious Alice Longworth Roosevelt, who said:

"First you're young, then you're middle-aged, then you're wonderful." 

Happy April-ing!

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