f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Amy Krouse Rosenthal Is Wonderful

How do you say Thank you! to an author? The usual suspects—pithy card, fine chocolates, elegant Moleskine—suffice. But most authors silently wish you’d put aside the gifts and, if you want to really show your gratitude, publicize their book.

And so I want to say my thank you to author Amy Krouse Rosenthal here. For going above and beyond what’s required of an author to make a reader (not me, btw) happy. I hope she’s okay without the chocolates, but this is more fitting. After all, it was a bit of Wonkian-author promotion that started this whole business in the first place.

About three years ago, Lisa Samson read and recommended Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Sounded interesting, so I read it and enjoyed it. It even made my “favorites” list of 2005. A few months into 2006, Mark Bertrand and I met up at the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, and, having an evening free, browsed the aisles of a local Barnes and Noble. We alternated, as often happens on such trips, between pointing out favorites (covers, authors, books) and scoffing haughtily at things. At some point, we passed by Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life in trade paper and I picked one up to show Mark. (To praise, not scoff.) And like that Dahlian-hero Charlie Bucket, I found myself holding a Golden Ticket. (It was actually a postcard. And not overly golden.)

But it was one of a hundred out there in the world. It entitled me to a prize. It had a password. And it was signed AKR—Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

I’m forever on the lookout for clever author promotion ideas we can “borrow” here at BHP and this one seemed easy enough. I brought the postcard back to the office, showed our assistant marketing manager and then logged on to Amy’s website to peruse the “prizes.”

I’m not a big fan of butterscotch. I figured I wasn’t quick enough to be one of the first 10 people to get my own entry. The flower thing wasn’t my style, nor the soundtrack, I guess.
Which left me with the phone call. A cell phone coffee date with the author.

And I almost cashed in the golden ticket for a chance to grill Ms. Rosenthal about author publicity. Because it seemed, at least from my viewpoint, that she had some pretty creative ideas and managed a fair amount of “buzz” for her book.

It never happened. I stalled at first, not really knowing how the conversation would go, and then stalling soon passed into forgetting fitfully, and then eventually into forgetting completely.

Fast-forward two years.

My youngest daughter now has favorite books of her own, rather than just sitting through whatever her older sisters are being read for evening. And one of her favorites is a book her mom and I like (because it’s short and clever) called Little Pea. She loves the book. She loves the character of Little Pea.

Plot summary: Little Pea lives, plays, loves life with Mom and Dad. Not so big on dinner. Must eat dinner to get dessert. There’s a twist in there that the girls, particularly Youngest, just finds hilarious.

We read this book for months before the hamster in Dad’s brain rouses from its slumber and gets the wheel spinning. Amy Krouse Rosenthal…Amy Krouse Rosenthal…where have I heard that name before. Check author bio…oh!

Long story short (Too late!—a Clue: the Movie reference for you.), Dad goes back into work, finds the Golden Ticket, logs onto the website, and asks a favor.

Years after the fact.

A favor that really involves illustration more than writing.

And the author, who now deserves enshrinement in the Terrific Author Hall of Fame, delivers.

So, thank you to Amy. I want my girls to love reading and let me tell you, getting a letter from a character you love...that's the kind of thing that can make a little girl read for the rest of her life.

UPDATE:  Amy passed away on March 13, 2017.