I still remember the first time I read an entire book all by myself. My mother had taken me shopping with her after school that day, and she told me I could chose any book from a bin in the store. The book I selected was called, The Big Jump and Other Stories. As soon as we got home, I began to read. It was hard work, and I stumbled over some of the words, but I kept on going. I wasn't finished when Mom called me for dinner, so after we ate, I sat on the red kitchen stool and read the rest of the book out loud to her. When I was finished I closed the cover and held that book close. I had a good feeling and most importantly, I was hooked. After that day, I had to be reading all of the time.
The West Portal branch of the San Francisco Public Library was located down the hill from my elementary school and I visited it several days a week, checking out a stack of books each time. I had friends and I loved to play, but books were friends too. As an only child, I often had to attend adult events with my parents (boring!) and it helped to bring a book along.
Stories made me happy and they made me sad, and they took me to new worlds, both real and imaginary. I decided then and there that I would be a writer when I grew up. Nothing could be more wonderful than a life spent weaving words into stories that children could read and love.
The job of being a writer proved to be different than my childhood dreams. I grew up, went to college at the University of California at Berkeley, got married, worked as a children's librarian and had two beautiful daughters. I wrote many many stories for many many years before my first book was published. But I didn't give up, I kept right on writing and reading and loving books.
And guess what? The struggle has turned out to be worth it, because I was right, all along. Nothing, for me, is more wonderful than weaving words into stories. I hope that the children who read my books will be entertained and delighted, as I was when I was a child.