Thank You, Charlesbridge ...

... for choosing artist Jamie Hogan to illustrate Rickshaw Girl (which was just named a 2008 Julia Ward Howe Recommended Book and won a starred mention in Bank Street's Best Children Books of the year.) Since our Charlesbridge-arranged introduction, Jamie has lavished me with gifts, like giving me the portrait in my blog header above, and sending me this promotional postcard she designed for both of us:

She also framed one of the portraits of Naima and her sister that she drew for the book, wrapped it, and sent it to my beloved sister in Colorado as a breathtaking birthday present:

And then, at the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference this past weekend, Jamie came up after my session and presented me with another of her gorgeous illustrations -- the one she drew of Saleem and reminds me so much of my father as a boy:

photos above courtesy of Jamie Hogan

Thank you, Jamie, and thank you, Charlesbridge editor Judy O'Malley and Art Director Susan Sherman for your inspired literary matchmaking.

Now I'm off to Dallas to present at the Texas Library Association, followed by Winchester's Author Fest and Operation Teen Book Drop at the Boston Children's Hospital, and don't forget that thanks to Ma, I'll be on television this Friday April 18th in the Bay Area (ABC-KGO's View From The Bay). Just don't ask if I'm writing fifteen minutes a day, Laurie, but I plan to when I get back, thanks to your inspiring keynote session at NESCBWI's conference.

photo courtesy of Laurie Halse Anderson