Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts - and Life, my first book and my wonderful co-author Chris Lehman's fourth, is being put into boxes and shipped out as we speak (at least that is what I am envisioning this morning).
I am not sure what I expected to feel when I got my copy in the mail, but what I have felt from that moment is just rolling waves of gratitude. It seems strange to have only my and Chris' names on the front - it seems like there should be a scrolling list of people who helped make this project a reality.
I have a daily practice of gratitude - a group of friends and I email each other each day with a "Gratitude List," where we name things we are thankful for each day, no matter how hard the day. (Hutch and coffee make the list each day.)
So here, on the day our book comes out, is a small portion of my Gratitude List - for the people who have been so foundational, so supportive in the writing of this - my first book. I included some favorite quotes on gratitude along the way.
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ― Meister Eckhart
Tobey Antao, our editor, has this amazing ability to both fill your sails with wind while also absolutely letting you know what should probably change in your writing or thinking. It is an amazing balance, and one that made all the difference. She is smart as a whip, sweet while embracing sarcasm, and as we say up in Utica, a good egg.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh,
Heinemann Publishing. I don't know what I expected from a publishing company, but feeling like they are part of my extended family was certainly not on the list. From marketing to design to editing - this company has what is important in its sights - teachers and students.
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert,
Lucy Calkins has been my boss and mentor for almost a decade now, but she has influenced my thinking and teaching since the moment I stepped into a school. I have had the honor to learn from her, to follow her as she leads a mass of educators through tricky times with thoughtfulness and fortitude, and to enjoy her company.
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
- AA Milne.
Colleen Cruz and Nadine Baldasare are a part of my family, though we met when I was 23. They have supported me through every kind of rough time imaginable, celebrated all the good bits, and passed much of the time in between. While our acknowledgments didn't leave room for friendships, these two are much more than that, and they deserve all of my thanks. More specifically, thank you Nadine for the beautiful author photo, and thank you Colleen for always being a professional inspiration.
“Po flickered. "Thank you?" it repeated. "What is that?"
Liesl thought. "It means, You were wonderful," she said. "It means, I couldn't have done it without you.” ― Lauren Oliver
Maggie. In my life, there is before Maggie, and after Maggie. I am so glad to be in the "AM" years now.
And then there is Chris. I am so glad that we decided to move forward from that first birthday dinner conversation, and not only because we now have this book that I am so proud to have co-written. Yes, you are a brilliant educator, yes, you are a great writer, but more than all of this you are a fine human being, and I am honored to be your friend. Thank you for writing this book with me. Thank you for showing me the ropes. I did not find a quote to represent my gratitude for you, so instead, here is this tribute:
Lastly, thank you. Having such a supportive and smart community to bounce ideas off of is a joy and an honor. I am nervous, of course, having my first book out there, but knowing that I am sharing it with you all makes it so much easier. I so hope that it is helpful, that you enjoy it, that it sparks more conversation.