Archive for Current Events

PINCH ME SOMEBODY: Look Who Is Illustrating My New Picture Book!

I have good news to share.

Great news, in fact.

I have a new picture book coming out, titled All Welcome Here.

It was announced yesterday in a write-up in Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has bought North American rights to All Welcome Here by James Preller, illustrated by ____________, celebrating the first day of school and the beginning of a child’s new, diverse, and open-hearted community in a narrative composed of interconnected haiku. The book is set for spring 2019; Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio negotiated the deal for both author and illustrator.

I deleted the illustrator’s name because I want you to guess.

I’ll wait.

Hum-dee-dum, dee-dum-dum.

Give up?

It’s possible that you know her work, but not her name.

And yes, that was a clue: she’s a she.

Here’s a hint:



Got it?

Really, not yet?

Surely I would have thought that . . .

Okay, here’s another:



And one more:




That’s right. I’m feeling blessed.

The great Mary GrandPre.




My book is now our book.

Pinch me somebody.

More details, like the book itself, to come.

All Welcome Here, Macmillan, Spring 2019.







a poem by Donald Trump, taken verbatim from the transcript of his address at the “Black History Month” breakfast, and rearranged in free verse.



Well this is Black History Month, so

this is our little breakfast, our little

get-together. Hi Lynn, how are you?

Just a few notes.


During this month,

we honor the tremendous history of African-Americans

throughout our country. Throughout the world,

if you really think about it,



And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice,

hard work, and


in America.


I’ve gotten a real glimpse—during the campaign

I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places

I wasn’t so familiar with.

They’re incredible people!

And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s gonna be

heading up HUD. That’s a big job. That’s a job

that’s not only housing, but it’s


and spirit.


Right, Ben?


And you understand,

nobody’s gonna be better

than Ben.


Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.,

whose incredible example is unique in American history.

You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago

when somebody said I took the statue out of my office.

It turned out that that was





Fake            news.


The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the

—and we have some good ones.

We have Lincoln,

and we have Jefferson,

and we have Dr. Martin Luther King.


But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King,

was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched.

So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way

the press


Very unfortunate.


I am very proud now that we have a museum

on the National Mall where people can learn



Reverend King,

so many other



Frederick Douglass is an example

of somebody


who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized

more and more,

I noticed.


Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more

black Americans

who made America

what it is today.


Big impact.









The People Who Voted for Donald Trump and “The Bridge On the River Kwai”

The_Bridge_on_the_River_Kwai_posterI keep thinking about the 1957 film, “The Bridge On the River Kwai,” directed by David Lean. Each day I flash on a particular scene — what’s known as the “What have I done?” scene — the blistering moment of epiphany when Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson realizes that he’s become a collaborator with the sadistic commandant, the enemy, Colonel Saito.

You can go here for a full background on the plot, or watch the movie yourself. Here’s a quick synopsis: During World War II, British soldiers in a Japanese prison camp are tasked with the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai. The soldiers work poorly and sabotage the job until the well-intentioned Nicholson, played by Alec Guinness, intervenes. He believes that the honorable thing to do is to demonstrate their British work ethic and ingenuity. To, in effect, build the best bridge possible, despite its military value to the enemy.

trump-bannonMeanwhile, there’s a plot underway for a commando mission to destroy the bridge before it’s completed — for obvious tactical reasons. So these two forces, purportedly on the same side, work at cross-purposes. One to build the bridge, the other to destroy it. In the end, at the revelatory moment before his death, Colonel Nicholson realizes what he’s done. That he’s been a fool, a dupe, tricked into working against the best interests of his own country.

And that’s when I think of all those people who voted for Donald Trump. Or who smugly sat out the election, casting away their ballot on the mirage of a 3rd party “protest vote.” Who thought maybe the country needed a new voice. That change might be good. Or that it didn’t matter.


I wonder if one day some portion of those seemingly well-intentioned citizens will lean over the bridge to spy the exposed wires. If their eyes in awakening horror will register the reality of the wires that run to the explosives placed under the bridge. If they will follow those wires hidden under the water into the brush, to discover the detonator. To finally understand.

If they will realize the role they’ve played in the undermining of great American core values. If in that moment of incipient awareness they will see — eyes now wide open — that they participated in a war on free speech, a war on equal rights, a war on decency and morality and American ideals. That they’ve participated in giving the voice of hatred and bigotry and abject corruption a seat on the National Security Council. That they have collaborated with the enemy.

If they will ever wonder, in their cold beds, “My God, what have I done?”







Sign of the Times: A Favorite from the Women’s March


Mavis Sings Dylan, and Obama Steps Away

In honoring the eight years of Obama’s presidency, an idea went around Facebook for people to temporarily change their profile images to a photograph celebrating the first family. There were so many images from which to choose, but I went with this one. There he is in a quiet moment, a man, a father, listening.


And as for my tangled feelings today, here’s a moment taken from Martin Scorcese’s documentary on Bob Dylan from a few years back. I remember watching this the first time. I thought it was extraordinary.

Still do.

Carry on.