An Anthology of Friends
One hot, summer afternoon, my friend David and I sat on my front porch and reminisced about the good times we'd had working on the Baby-sitters Club books. (David Levithan is an author as well as having been an editor of the BSC series for many years.) When we discussed how much we would love to work together again, David suggested that we compile and edit an anthology (a collection of short stories) dealing with the friendships we have when we're young, and how powerful an influence they can have in our lives.
I loved the idea, so the first thing we did was create a "wish list" of authors to approach with our proposal. These were people with whom either David or I had worked in the past, or people whose work we admired. In the introductory letter that we sent out, we simply said that we wanted to hear a story about the friend who changed someone's life, either positively or negatively, and that the story could be either fiction or non-fiction. Since these were our only guidelines, we had no idea what to expect when the authors sent us their final drafts. It turns out that these simple suggestions made it possible for us to put eleven very diverse and thought-provoking short stories into the book we called Friends.
In Friends, you'll read about a bully, a lonely girl with an imaginary friend, and what it's like to be the new kid in school. There's a story about the cool kid who's not so cool after all, and one about how difficult fitting in can be. David contributed a story about two best friends and the lessons that can be learned on a school playground. For my own story of friendship, I chose to write about a dog named Squirrel and her long search for a loving human companion. (More about this in next month's letter!)
David and I are thrilled with the book, and we're grateful to the wonderful authors who worked so hard to make this anthology special. I'm also happy to tell you that the authors have chosen to donate their share of the proceeds from the sale of this book to The Lisa Libraries, an organization I work with that brings small libraries of new books into low-income and underserved areas. Their generous support will provide more books for kids who have limited access to books and who may never have owned a book before.
One of the things I like best about reading anthologies is that it gives us a chance to discover new authors. If you have a favorite story in the book, I'd encourage you to "Google" the author's name. You'll either find the author's personal webpage or you'll have a long list of articles, interviews, or biographical information to check out. David and I are big fans of everyone who worked on our book, so we'd be happy if you become big fans, too.
I'll leave you now with a question that it might be fun to think over: If David and I had asked you to write about the friend who changed your life, what do you think your story would have been about?
P.S. If you would like to purchase a copy of Friends, you can click here. This will bring you directly to the listing on Amazon.com. Also, if you are interested in learning more about The Lisa Libraries and how you may be able to help, please visit www.lisalibraries.org.