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Work in Progress

Ludwig Bemelmans

Do you remember the Madeline books? There are five books that were published before Ludwig Bemelmans' death in 1962, and one more published after his death. I have written a picture book about Ludwig’s interesting and quirky life. He had a both happy and sad childhood, was sent to America at age 16, and published his first Madeline book in 1936. Instead of studying in school, he drew pictures. Rather than work at a job as expected, he drew pictures. He later said pictures were the best way to tell a story, because it took too many words when one picture would be enough. Madeline’s life reflects what he heard his mother say about her childhood, his wife’s name—Madeleine—spelled differently to rhyme with vines and lines, and his daughter Barbara, who inspired him to be like a child himself. A grandson, John Bemelmans Marciano continues to write Madeline books.

Penny Dances for France

When I was five years old, my little, tiny hometown—Morganville, Kansas—adopted a small town in France—Feves—to help them recover from World War II damage. My community put on a fund-raising pageant of dancers, singers, side shows, and lots of food, to represent Morganville’s history and heritage. I was in the pageant and remember snippets of color and activity. I have written a picture book about a five-year-old girl named Penny who wants to dance in the pageant, but she has no dance shoes. With the help of her Teddy Bear and some stray thumbtacks, she solves her problem.