Awake My Soul to Hope

In the Mumford and Sons song, “Awake My Soul,” there’s a line that says, “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”  I just returned from a trip to visit my aunt. In her bathroom, she has a towel that reads, “Love, Family, Faith.” In those three things she has invested her entire life...

What It’s Like to Be Seen

I was listening to an interview with brilliant children’s author, Kate DiCamillo, on the On Being Podcast. She told a story of a little boy who was leaning heavily on her while she signed his book. His mother said, “Don’t lean on her, honey.” And the boy answered, “It’s okay, Mom, she knows me.” This...

You Be You, and I’ll Be Me

I just finished a World War II novel called Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Then I started watching the Masterpiece show Atlantic Crossing. People ask me often how after 30 years of researching, writing, and speaking about World War II, I could still be so interested in the subject. “Don’t you get tired...

The Artist as Witness

I was conducting a virtual school visit with a fifth-grade class the other day, talking about my children’s books about World War II, each of which are inspired by real people I interviewed. I’d already explained to the kids I wasn’t alive during the war, so I was surprised when one boy asked, “Did you...

Pay It Forward

When my daughter was in college, we took her and her childhood friend to lunch. At the end of the meal, we grabbed the check. Her friend offered to pay for his food, but we told him not to worry about it. We knew his funds were low. He said he didn’t feel right about...

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