Thursday, March 15, 2012

Women’s History Month - Week 3

Women’s History Month
Special Feature
Week 3

In honor of Women’s History Month we’ve asked authors and illustrators in our booking service to participate in our special questionnaire. Each week we will be posting different member’s responses to the three questions below. We hope you enjoy their answers as much as we did!

1. What women writers do you admire?
2. What women in history would you invite to a dinner party?
3. What advice do you have for young women today?

1.      Rebecca Stead, AS King, Laini Taylor, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Suzanne Collins. Adult writers: Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Shelia Ballantine, and Marge Piercy.
2.      Mary (Jesus's mother), Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn, Dolly Adams, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
3.      Find something your passionate about and pursue it with all your heart.

1.      I think I still come back to my lifelong favorite women writers, Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. I admire their tenacity and commitment to their craft for long years before they were known or successful. And, of course, I admire their amazing novels!
2.      What fun! I think I would love to have a dinner party with the real women I have written about in some of my historical fiction picture books. They include astronmer Maria Mitchell, lighthouse keeper Abigail Burgess Grant, cooking instructor Fannie Merritt Farmer, baseball player Alta Weiss, pianist and Jubilee singer, Ella Sheppard, and stagecoach driver Delia Haskett Rawson. What a fantastic and diverse group of women!
3.      You know, Maria Mitchell once said, and I am paraphrasing here, that one of the hardest things in life was to find out the work you are meant to do. But I think that would be my advice to young women: to find good, compelling work that challenges you and sustains you, and that keeps you learning and growing.

1.      I really like the works of Willa Cather.
2.      Certainly Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, and Dorothy Parker as writers, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Madame Curie.
3.      Do not give up your dreams. Do something every day to reach your goal. One step at a time will get you there, but be aware that sometimes your dreams change with time. Recognize when that happens and adapt.

1.      As a voracious reader who tends to fall in love with individual books rather than authors, I find it hard to name names. However, I do admire the poetry of Linda Pastan. I am also in awe of the consistent high quality of writing that comes from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Katherine Paterson.
2.      I'd like to meet Annie Sullivan, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sacagawea, Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, and Susan B. Anthony. However, I'd rather lunch individually with each one rather than watch them interact with each other at a dinner party because I have specific questions I'd like to ask each one.
3.      Persistence is the key to success. If you want something, don't let initial disappointments stop you. Keep trying until you achieve your goals.

1.      I admire Jane Yolen tremendously! She has written an incredible number of books for children of all ages--from toddlers to teens. She writes gorgeous poetry, funny picture books and thought provoking novels. She stuck with her writing, publishing regularly and winning awards (Owl Moon), but not really finding financial success as a writer until the How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight and the other Dinosaur books because bestsellers. She graciously teaches and mentors other writers though workshops and lectures, serves on the board of directors for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators and recently funded a grant to recognize mid-list authors whose careers may have stalled a bit. Jane speaks her mind, never allowed herself to be put in a box as a writer, and self-lessly shares her knowledge. Ask many writers what her acronym "BIC" stands for, and they will answer "Butt in chair!"
2.      My dinner party would likely include women who faced challenges and suffered more than their share -- Harriett Tubman, Sally Hemings, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were the first women who came to mind. People who have faced adversity have more interesting stories and wisdom to share.
3.      I'd tell young women that the quicker they can become comfortable with who they are and recognize their strengths and talents the better life will be. Stop judging yourselves by comparison to other people and simply strive to be the best at your job, the best friend you can be, the best YOU possible. Figuring out what is really important in life is also a key to happiness. Too often women get caught up in drama over insignificant issues. Life is too short to spend half your time upset over something stupid. Anytime I feel a hint of jealousy or envy, I think of women around the world, barely surviving, sleeping on the dirt floor, scrounging just for food and water for each day. That always brings me back to seeing how incredibly blessed I am.

1.      Soooooo many! But the first to mind are Marjane Satrapi, Sue Miller, Dayal Kaur Khalsa, and Temple Grandin.
2.      Dorothy Parker and Lisa Endig.
3.      Don't listen to any advice, including this. Just write!

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