Saturday, September 7, 2013


As I sit here in my studio watching the number of participants of International Dot Day 2013 soar, (984,000 at the moment) it seemed appropriate to share this image of  my book "The Dot" which soared up into space aboard the Soyuz rocket last December tucked into the kit of Commander Chris Hadfield

In November of 2012, I noticed that a Canadian astronaut had begun following me on Twitter! I was curious why.  How were our "dots" connected?  Well, we are both Canadians. And we have incredibly fun jobs and missions. And... well, I was about to discover that we had only just begun to connect our dots. 

I was in my bookshop The Blue Bunny in Dedham, MA, when the phone rang. Our staffer, Cheryl picked up the phone and handed it to me with wide eyes. 

"There's an astronaut on the phone for you." 

There was indeed.  Chris explained that he was working on a children's book and had hoped I would want to collaborate. I was very curious and excited to sit down to explore the idea with him, but he said that he would be busy for the next six months as he was flying into space to command the International Space Station. 

"I'd love to go with you! Someday, I'd love to fly into space," I shared.

"Well, I might be able to get you one step closer."

Chris said that if I sent a book to Houston overnight, his wife, Helene might--just might--be able to pack it in into his personal kit being sent in the Soyuz rocket in only a few weeks time. It would need to be scanned by NASA and approved. 

I rushed a copy of The Dot to Texas. 

Months went by and I watched with the rest of the world as Chris shot into space and began his five month command, regaling us all with beautiful photos, an amazing Twitter account of his adventures, and of course, his now famous Space Oddity video

The phone rang in January and I did not recognize the number on my cell phone. It was Commander Hadfield! He wanted to just check in to say hi and see if I was still noodling that book idea. He spoke quickly--noting that the ship would soon be out of range of the satellite he was using to call me. I forgot to ask if the book had made it aboard. I had to wait until he landed and came to Boston to visit me to find out. 

The Dot had, in fact, travelled into space. 

The book had floated in the cupola of the ISS where he snapped this photo. My book, written 10 years ago, about a girl on a journey to discover her bravery, creativity, and compassion, had orbited to Earth 2,500 times and had been flown back to the planet with the Commander. 

International Dot Day, celebrated on or about, Sept 15th each year has gone global - and now it has gone galactic! 
To follow Chris on Twitter: @Cmdr_Hadfield

You can see the book on display in our bookshop, but it will also be going on tour at some point.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Children start out on a creative roll. 

Drawing, splashing, singing, dancing, building, exploring, playing. 

Many though, slow down as they get older and, by the age of ten-ish, leave the creating to others. Not just art, but creative thinking, original ideas, bravery, and sharing one's voice. 

I call it the "switching yard." 
Quite a few trains get rerouted. 
Decades of tracks laid out in a straight, safe, and predictable route.
For some, it can be boring and frustrating. 
For many others though, it can be quite productive and pleasant, 
although often there is a lingering sense 
that something was missing 
on that journey. 

A curious thing happens when people retire: 

They get brave again. 

It is interesting to note that one of the first things many folks 
do is to take an art course - or some other creative endeavor. 

That "gap" of five decades was valuable time not being used 
to practice thinking creatively, being brave, exploring original ideas, 
and sharing one's voice with the world. 

Anything we keep at -- gets easier over time. 

So... please. 


: )

For those not familiar with London Transport's  "MIND THE GAP" - here's a bit of background.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Lost "Me Book"

While at a church fair in Dedham during the winter of 2012, a children's book caught my eye: "MY BOOK ABOUT ME" by Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie.  My "radar" is always  looking for tools to help kids discover who they are and who they hope to become.  My book, The North Star (Candlewick Press) explores self-discovery using the metaphor of constellations as a guiding map.  After reading the book, I have kids (and grown up kids too) create their own maps with stars representing their talents, skills, interests and dreams. The map becomes an open-ended journey guidance system.  Great educators, parents and caregivers know that the better you know the learner, the better you'll be able to connect, encourage, inspire the learner. 

I flipped through the pages--delighted to see that the owner of the book--a young girl named Lauren--had filled in most of the pages with answers to the book's many question and drawings including a tracing of her foot! It was a wonderful glimpse of who she was at the time.  I wondered where Lauren might be now. How old was she?  What she was doing now? 

It seemed a bit sad that this treasure had been tossed in a box to be sold at on the "White Elephant" table on a cold winter morning.  I felt lucky to have come to the book's rescue. 

So I took the "MY BOOK ABOUT ME" home with me and eventually to my children's book studio--placing it on my "Wall of Inspiration." I took it down recently and flipped through its pages. 

I noticed a page with Lauren's address.  A bit of detective work and I discovered that her parents still live at that address. 

Would it be strange to return this orphaned book? 

Was it Lauren who tossed it in a donation box? A parent in frenzy of spring cleaning? 

I am just too curious not to "re-connect the dots." 

In that spirit, I will send Lauren's book back home to her. Perhaps I'll add a copy of The North Star with a hope that she has followed her constellation to a stellar place.  : )

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Make More Light - Inspiration from Boston Marathon Week

As the tragic news broke on that sunny day in Boston--the day of the Marathon, Diana and I sat glued to the television trying to make sense of what was unfolding. My twin brother, Paul was texting us a block away from the finish line. 


Then the texting stopped. 

The feelings I experienced during 9/11 came flooding back.  

It was not only the horror of what was happening, but even more so--the not knowing. 

What was next? 

Looking at our son, Henry, who was napping peacefully, I silently made a wish that he did not have to wake to a troubled world. 

I then realized that when this little boy DID wake up--the world would automatically be a brighter place with his energy and spirit added to it. That thought was very comforting to me. 

Grabbing some paper, I quickly jotted down a reminder to him. The message was for me and my family too. And friends. Why not share it with the world? And so I did. On Facebook and Twitter. It was immediately shared by tens of thousands--reaching over a million people in a week. 

It was clear to me that we all needed the reminder: There is more good than bad in this world, more light than darkness--and that WE can make more light. 

Proceeds from the 11" by 14" posters "Make More Light" are being donated to The One Fund Boston - and are available from

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Start small. Think big.

I'll keep this short in the spirit of the "start small." 

Getting overwhelmed by a project, a plan, 
a New Year's resolution, an idea can often short circuit ignition. 

Instead, just take a simple step forward. 

A quick dash in a notebook might be the start of an eventual novel. 

Sharing your brainstorm with a good friend might lead to the 
opening of your own not-for-profit group to help others. 

Cleaning up the cellar might help you rediscover 
a dream tucked away for far too long. 

These thoughts came to me last week, 
so I grabbed some paper and made this sketch. 
Today I had some time to share and 
add a bit of my thinking to it.