Starred reviews, from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and School Library Journal followed her historical fiction debut, A Name Like Love (FSG, 2011).
Whether she’s writing about 1957 or the constellations (an October hint from her blog), Hilmo has the talent to make readers believe.
Likewise, she believes in the future of children’s literature!
Tess, what’s good about children’s literature?
The people. Nowhere else in the world can you find the support and enthusiasm that exists within the world of children’s literature. Teachers, librarians, authors, and publishers are all focused on the same goal: reaching children who long for a connection to story.
Early on in my writing endeavors, a fellow author said, “It is not a race, it is a marathon, and there is room for all of us at the finish line.” That is a perfect summation of the atmosphere I have found in this industry. Our work is creating and sharing stories that bring joy to children. Being able to do that alongside so many like-minded professionals is a wondrous thing.
What could make that “good” better?
This is tricky for me because I am a newbie to the children’s literature scene. My grandma used to always say, “When you go into somebody else’s house, keep your hands from touching and your tongue from wagging.” Maybe someday I will feel as if this is my house, and have a few opinions, but for now I just feel overwhelmingly grateful to be invited.
But, if I am to say anything, it would be that I think we are generally too nice. We need to stand up at the local school board meeting, write thoughtful correspondence to our state leaders, and be a stronger voice. We need to encourage our friends to support independent bookstores and advocate for more reasonable library budgets. The children can’t be the voice and the books haven’t the ability but we can…and should.