Saturday, May 8, 2010


It is Mother’s Day. Whatever that means according to Hallmark. But, really, mothers are pretty great. I give mine a lot of flack, she’s a bit crazy, we’ve had our ups and downs, but I would not be the person I am today without her. She never once doubted or questioned my abilities. She is an artist herself, and while never pushing me to become one, she nurtured creativity, and above all, exploration and inquiry. She has influenced me tremendously. I am lucky.

I have never had a strong desire to become a mother. Never. In fact, when I was a teenager I emphatically did not ever want to marry or have kids. I had my astrological chart done (a joke gift from my restaurant job co-workers when I was fifteen) and the prediction was that I was going to have many, many children in my life. The astrologer went on and on about all these children I would have. I was mortified. I imagined myself as the old woman in the shoe with so many children I wouldn’t know what to do. I have the utmost respect for mothers--I know it's not an easy job.

Years later, I became a children’s writer, and now I have many, many children in my life. Weird. Most, I will never know, but through my books I have become part of their lives. I never thought I’d become a children’s book writer—I just wanted to write because I had things to say. Perhaps all children’s writers are mothers (even the guys, though they might not be willing to admit it). Even if we don’t have children, or don’t like children (some of the best children’s authors actually hated kids—but that’s for a different blog post) there is a nurturing element in what we do. We have something to offer young people. Like it or not.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all.


  1. Yes, happy mother's day to all, no matter the form of your nurturing.

    And a shout out to all the mothers in children's literature, good and bad, present or absent. Marmee March. Mrs. Ray. Mrs. Carson Drew. Dicey Tillerman's mom. Who else ...?

  2. Lisa, this made me tear up a little. I just finished a school visit in which my job, very clearly, was to tell some of the kids, "You're going to be okay." I have a wonderful mom, but I was also raised by Madeline L'Engle, LM Montgomery, EL Koningsberg, Norton Juster, Laura Inglass Wilder, Ellen Raskin. This might explain why I'm completely nuts.

  3. Madeleine L'Engle raised you, too? Sister!