Today is the birthday of my 50th book child, Annika Riz, Math Whiz, the younger sister book of Kelsey Green, Reading Queen.
For those of us who aren't J. K. Rowling, with thousands of midnight costumed launch parties celebrated in every time zone of the globe, the actual pub date of a book isn't all that significant. I already have read many reviews of Annika, so she's made her way into the world even in utero. I held the first bound copy in my hands weeks ago. So today is really just another day in my author life.
Except that this is book number fifty. That feels pretty huge and significant to me, even though my husband tells me that I only think that way because we happen to use base-10 math rather than all the other conceivable systems of counting we might have developed. But we do use base-10. And fifty is a big round number. (These thoughts seem especially fitting today as Annika is my math-loving girl who would enjoy thinking them herself.)
The series illustrator, the enormously gifted Rob Shepperson, is always sending me delightful little extra pieces of book-related art for no reason at all except for sheer fun. This is the drawing he sent me this week, of the three Franklin School friends celebrating the arrival of Annika's book and anticipating the arrival next year of Izzy Barr, Running Star.
Thanks, Rob, for your perfect illustrations, and for reminding me to share the enthusiasm you've allowed my characters to show.
Thanks, Margaret Ferguson, for being the editor who midwifed the book, and the series, with countless stunning insights throughout.
Thanks most of all, dearest sister, Cheryl Mills, to whom this book is dedicated, my own personal math whiz who taught me to do Sudoku so that I could teach Annika how to do it, who has straightened out accounting messes for me for decades, and who radiates her own love of math as she "solves for x" every day in every way.
Today is a sweet and happy day.