Serendipity is a beautiful thing!
An unexpected email led to a delightful afternoon.
Hometown grandmother Nancy knew I grew up in Michigan and wondered if I’d autograph a book for her granddaughter visiting from Washington state. Then she realized I now lived in Florida. She expressed how much her daughter loved her new book, President of the Whole Sixth Grade—Girl Code.
Well, just so happened I was in Michigan for the wonderful author-illustrator experience, Nerd Camp, in Parma, Michigan. I reached out to Nancy, set a date, and it was on.
Meeting Nancy and Sarah was a true highlight to my week. Sarah, 10, was adorable and very smart. We sat around chatting like ladies who lunch.
And if that wasn’t enough of the serendipity sauce, Nancy brought along a friend—my middle school civics teacher whose habit of teaching us to read newspapers in her classroom directly led to the plot of the third book in the President series—Mrs. Western. Now, I’m sure the woman has a first name but I still feel like raising my hand when I see her so I didn’t ask.
Thanks Sarah and Nancy for renewing my understanding of why I write stories for children. Your kind words motivated me to carry on. And thank you, truly, to Mrs. Western, whose caring yet no-nonsense teaching style helped open my eyes to the world around me, inspiring me to see greater and be greater. Thank you, ladies for a wonderful day.
…the release of President of the Whole Sixth Grade (Little, Brown, $17.99) on Nov. 3.
Southfield Public Library
The story takes place in a fictitious suburb of Detroit, Mich., called Orchard Park. So while I was in Detroit visiting friends and preparing for the upcoming release of the book, including a fabulous party and book fair being held at the Southfield Public Library in beautiful Southfield, Mich., I saw this sign and couldn’t resist:
In President of the Whole Sixth Grade, Brianna Justice hooks up with a kid called, “Click,” and they make stop-motion movies about life in middle school. I love Legos, so I tried making my own movie trailer. It’s hilariously flawed. I’m sure Brianna and Click do much better.
The New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Library and the Queens Library, along with the NYC school library network, has selected President of the Whole Fifth Grade–a book totally written by yours truly–for their recommended summer reading list.
Oh, New York. Thank you so much. It’s such an honor. Now if you’re reading this in the NYC area and decide to check the website,
they may have messed up my name a little bit–called me Sherri Williams. Not to worry. It’s me, Sherri Winston, author of President of the Whole Fifth Grade
and the soon-to-be released President of the Whole Sixth Grade
Trust me. I wrote both of them with barely any help. OK, maybe a little help from a few real-life fifth graders. And people who like cupcakes because the main character, Brianna Justice, is all about baking cupcakes. And there are recipes, too. I made them up. I DID. And anyway, the New York library people totally got the name of the book right, so who cares. On behalf of me and Sherri Williams, please accept my humble thanks. I shall now take a brief delay to perform my happy dance.
I am now done with my dance. Please, go along with your day. And if you are in NYC or know someone there with an awesome kid in need of awesome reading material, tell them Sherri Williams, uh, Winston, says hello!