Say the word Thanksgiving and right away, I’m gathering my favorite newspaper recipes – Mom’s Foolproof Turkey from a 1989 Chicago Tribune, Do-ahead Mashed Potatoes that are the stuff of any cardiologist’s dream, Cooked Cranberry Orange Relish that always surprises.
One Barbara Lucas, Writer, Teacher, Editor, Publisher and Mentor Extraordinaire, Founder in 1983 of the one-week summer Vassar College Institute of Children’s Book Publishing and Writing that changed my Life.
Afternoons and evenings, we met invited guests, key members of the Children’s Book World who traveled up the Hudson from New York City to Poughkeepsie: editors, publishers, art directors, marketing specialists, academicians, librarians, agents, book reviewers, authors, illustrators.
In between sessions and long into the night, we writers connected, forging a community.
It was Barbara who believed in me, gifting me with a classroom poster of Troy Howell’s Original Art, a poster that now adorns the wall above my desk.
It was Barbara who introduced me to my Children’s Book World’s residents and showed me my story was but the Very First Step in a book's creations. So many hands touch that book before the story can touch the reader.
The wonder of Barbara is: I am but one of so many children’s book writers and illustrators lucky enough to have reason to write the above Thank You Note.
Barbara empowered us so we could go forth and empower our readers.
I pay her Kindness forward each and every time I help a writer.
I model her instruction, each and every class I teach.
I’d write an original Thanku but fellow Vassar Institute attendee and author Kay Winters’ thank you haiku says it all:
How lucky we were
to meet those who stretched a hand.
They showed us the way.
For the record, I have indeed expressed my gratitude to Barbara on numerous occasions over the years.
But one can’t say “Thank you!” enough.
I join my fellow TeachingAuthors in wishing our readers Happy Thanksgiving!