About Danbi

Several years ago, I was invited to speak at the Plum Creek Literacy Festival in Nebraska. Dylan Teut runs this festival, and I had a great weekend talking books to both adults and young readers.

A couple of weeks ago, as part of its fundraising, Plum Creek held an art auction. I wanted to support the festival by purchasing one of the pieces of illustrator art. When I went through the art on offer, I knew immediately which one I wanted. It was this wonderful piece by Anna Kim:


I bid on it twice–and then I forgot to check back on the day the auction ended. Someone else won it. I was very disappointed and berated myself for not keeping track better.

Meanwhile…freelance publicist Lisa Nadel (https://www.lonnilanemarketing.com/) reached out asking if I would be interested in a copy of a picture book called DANBI LEADS THE SCHOOL PARADE by–you guessed it, right?–Anna Kim. What a happy coincidence, I thought, and of course I wanted a copy of the book.

It arrived today. It’s wonderful. Danbi is a new kid at school, so it’s a familiar story refreshed and revitalized by the simple clarity of Kim’s words, and especially by her amazing illustrations. Funny, warmhearted, generous. Energetic and delicate at the same time. Now I have pages and pages of Kim’s art to enjoy….

But it doesn’t end there. Because included in the parcel was a piece of art, and a stunning card. They are the endpapers and title-page illustration of the book–heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.



I’ve been teary ever since I opened the parcel a few hours ago–tears of joy, during a time when joy is hard to find. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to thank Anna enough for this incredible surprise…but I can try, by urging everyone I know to buy DANBI. For yourself and as gifts: Danbi will light up the bookshelves of any home.


Of childhood reading and salad

I can’t find my (ancient, battered) copy of SPIDERWEB FOR TWO, by Elizabeth Enright, which is frustrating, because I want to quote from it. I’ll have to settle for summary instead. I think it’s from the chapter titled “A Pocketful of Gold.” Oliver and Randy are trying to solve one of the story’s mysterious clues; Randy is sick in bed, so Oliver is on his own. Along the way, he meets Miss Bishop, and they have a conversation about, among other things, gardening. Miss Bishop says, “Purslane is delicious in a salad,” and Oliver is stunned to hear this, because to him, purslane has always been just a bothersome weed.

The second I read that passage, I wanted to taste purslane. It wasn’t until I was an adult–in fact, just a few years ago–that I finally got my chance when I spotted some at a farmer’s market. Miss Bishop was right. It was delicious, with a faint lemon flavor and a wonderful crisp texture due to the thickness of its leaves. (It’s also full of nutrients, if you like that sort of thing.)

A few weeks ago, I spotted some tiny weedy sprouts of purslane in the flower bed. About a dozen of them, barely bigger than my thumb.


They were dug up and given their own little bed, and now, three weeks later–WOW, are they happy!

My lovely crop of purslane wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t read that passage in SPIDERWEB FOR TWO (some fifty years ago!). For me, the connection is about more than just a plant. It’s about curiosity, and being open to new experiences, and paying attention, and maybe even a weed by any other name….

A good children’s book has that kind of power: to make connections that last a lifetime.

With salad on the side.