19 October 2009

Remembering Norma

I was fortunate to work with Norma Fox Mazer while I was at Candlewick Press, editing an adorable picture book called Has Anyone Seen My Emily Greene?, about a girl and her father and their special hide-and-seek tradition. As you might imagine, Norma was a delight to work with, and I was both thrilled and honored to help her bring one of her books into the world.

There was so much to admire about Norma, it was often difficult for me to maintain my focus when we interacted. Of course, I was impressed by her lifelong dedication to her craft and to telling young readers the truth. But she was also such a lovely person, both inside and out, and such an inspiring, encouraging teacher, willing to share her knowledge and her honest opinions.

She was brilliant, she was funny, she was beautiful, she was genuine, and she could rock braids like nobody's business. She will be missed — though whenever I need the courage to stay dedicated to my work and true to my stories, she'll be in my thoughts.

Norma Fox Mazer was, in every way, the real deal.