EVERYONE OF US HAS AN AUDIENCE. It doesn’t matter if we’re actors, writers, teachers, or peeps on the street. We are the observed and observer in turn. (This coincides with my belief that we are all role models, whether we think of ourselves as such or not.) One of my favorite audiences, tied with kids themselves, happens to be librarians. In early February I had the opportunity to meet with school librarians at the conference of the California School Library Association just outside Yosemite National Park. Being that close to the park brought back memories of childhood. My family and I would camp there for two weeks every summer. My maternal grandfather, who spent most of the year in Fresno when he wasn’t traveling around Arizona, would meet us there. We roughed it in a tent and ate food cooked over an open fire. Papa stayed in a lodge–usually the Wawona Lodge just inside the southern entrance to the park. And we would hike and swim in the Merced River (something I can’t even imagine at this age). Papa and I would go around sticking our noses against the bark of trees. Did you know there is a certain type of conifer that smells just like vanilla? (Alas, time and age have erased exactly which type.) But I digress. Gretchen Woelfle (author of Answering the Cry for Freedom)  and I were charged with speaking about our creative processes and the importance of freedom, given today’s political climate. Thank you, CSLA, for inviting us and for making us feel so welcome. All y’all were a wonderful audience.

Twelve_AmaAnswering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution

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