When I was young, my parents often packed up my sister and my brother and me and traveled far and wide. I loved those trips – to study Spanish in Guadalajara, Mexico or to visit the symbol of ancient Greece, The Parthenon, or to Peru to imagine how the Incans built Machu Picchu. I was always curious about how other people lived and how they spent their days. What was important to them? What were their joys and what were their struggles? What did they dream about?
Those childhood trips and those questions inspired my husband and me to travel far and wide with our own children.
And it was those questions that inspired me to pursue careers in storytelling, whether through producing films or by putting pen to paper.
But one doesn’t need to get in a car or on a plane to take a journey. Reading books can be as exciting as taking a trip. Books take us on journeys we never could have imagined. Stories take us deep into people’s lives, their thoughts and their feelings. They encourage us to be more compassionate, towards ourselves and others. Stories, ultimately, inform, inspire and unite us.
My favorite books as a child were the Paddington Bear books, by Michael Bond. Now, there was a bear who traveled. And I loved going with him!
My first (published) picture book is about a young girl in a refugee camp. I traveled to northern Ethiopia to produce a documentary film about people who had fled their homeland, lived for years in a camp and finally resettled in Providence, R.I. The children in the camp – their joys amidst their struggles – inspired me the most. Refugees make the most incredible journey of all and my hope is that this story – their story – informs and inspires others as well.
My husband and I raised our three children in Providence and we were all involved in welcoming newcomers to our city. These days I live with my husband on a farm in Massachusetts and our grown children are off on journeys of their own.
When I am not reading and writing stories, I teach English as a Second Language to newcomers. And, of course, I still love to travel far and wide. But, more often, I just pick up a book!