It was a May day in 1997 that I first met Jane Kurtz. I know it was at an International Reading Conference. That year the International Reading Association's (IRA) conference was being held in Atlanta, Georgia. Jane Kurtz, although still in the midst of recovering from the flood had come to Atlanta, and I had made plans to meet Deborah Hopkinson to interview her for a profile article that I did write after our meeting. But during that conference Jane Kurtz was sharing a room with Deborah and she came along to meet me as well. Little did I know that on Jane's birthday April 17, of that year (1997), just a couple of weeks earlier, Jane and her family had been forced out of their home and faced down by the Red River Flood. I did not hear a word about it then -- but we met for breakfast and I took pictures of her and of Deborah Hopkinson. I can't remember meeting Deborah Wiles that day - but she was surely there. As the three were rooming together and out of their discussions came three books: Jane's became a book of poetry built on her flood experiences.
River Friendly, River Wild by Jane Kurtz. Illustrated by Neil Brennan. (Simon & Schuster, 2000).
Deborah Wiles gathered an idea from their conversations and wrote Freedom Summer illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum, 2001).I'm not sure what book Deborah Hopkinson wrote from this weekend of writer's talk, but do remember the comment that three books evolved. I'm thinking that it was a follow-up to her Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt.
|Among my very favorite books is this one written with her brother Christopher as co-author. Find out about all of Jane's books at http://www.janekurtz.com/books |
CONGRATULATIONS, JANE - -I'm so pleased it is you that is being honored this year.