Skip to main content

#AtoZChallenge: V is for Vera B. Williams #AuthorApril

Dear Kim,

We read A Chair for My Mother last night at bedtime. It is a favorite in our house. The story reminds me of my own mother and those long hours she worked at the restaurant. My son snuggles up with his mother like the little girl does on the last page. I always savor that last image: mother and child.

It hit me last night though, reading the story is a bit sad now too. Reading the loving tale of mother and child (and grandmother) is now a reminder of who we lost this past October. 


V is for Vera B. Williams
A Chair for My Mother was Vera's fourth author/illustrated book. It won a Caldecott honor in 1983. As is the case with so many of her stories A Chair for My Mother was based on Vera's own childhood. I remember Vera speaking of her mother's wish for a new chair, how she went and bought the chair. Unlike the family in the story, her mother made weekly payments to keep the chair. She shared the hardship those payments put on her family. Vera rewrote history, having her fictional family save for the chair in that big glass jar. 



Vera had a way of pulling you into her childhood when she spoke. Telling you the secrets of growing up in a sometimes unstable world, with a love for the arts, and an even greater love for humanity. The two loves, art and humanity, produced the Vera B. Williams that we found on the pages of her books and in the community. She gave generously to the children's book world, the arts, and education. She could also be found supporting leagues of human right's issues: peace, women's reproductive rights, the environment. 


From Vera's journal.

In 1981 Vera was imprisoned during a nonviolent protest for nuclear disarmament. Activism was very much a part of Vera always. Once when speaking to her on the phone she declined an invitation to accompany Kent and I to the Eric Carle Honors in New York. She said, “Oh, Honey, I do want to go, but I have a protest the next morning and at this age I need to pick my battles.” She was 87 at the time.


From Vera's October 2015 exhibit at the Delaware County Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg, NY.

Vera's work won big awards: Caldecott honors, a Hans Cristian Anderson nomination, a Jane Addams Peace honor. For Vera, what mattered most had nothing to do with the awards she won, it was that her work won the hearts of children and adults. She talked a lot about heart, especially the last time I saw her. She recalled how little she had created in the time that she was dealing with some heart problems. She showed us her journal. Pages of hearts drawn this way and that. Question marks surrounding them. She said, "Finally I held one of them up and asked, 'What's up?'"


Not the "What's Up?" heart illustration, but one from Vera's collection.

Vera made quite an impression on me as a feminist, as an artist, as a teacher, as a humanitarian. The world is different now that she is gone. It just is. We are so lucky that her spirit lives on through her books and her art. If you've read this far in the post you must feel the same. For my fellow Vera B. William fans, I have a few A Chair for Always posters from her last book signing. I'd love to hear that they have found a nice home in a library or children's room or artist's studio. Add a comment below. I will pick three winners to receive one poster (as pictured below). 




Happy #AuthorApril (#IllustratorApril too!)
Much Love,
Alison

Popular posts from this blog

INTERVIEW WITH K.M. WALTON, YA FEST & HARRY POTTER

Dear Alison and readers, Have I got a surprise for you...Guess who stopped by to chat? Any guesses? No peeking at the title. Wait, I guess it's too late. Okay, I'll tell you anyway, KM Walton, the YA Author of all of these books...




Hi K.M.,

Thanks so much for stopping by to talk to me. Care for a chai latte or a glass of wine? It’s Friday. Let’s go for the wine.
Excellent choice. I’ll have one as well. So tell me, when did you become a writer? Despite my debut novel releasing when I was 44, my stacks of journals from childhood onward prove that I’ve always been a writer.
Yeah, it took me a while to figure out what I really wanted to be when I grew up. The bulging folder filled with scraps of paper and napkins of all my “book” ideas and “story” ideas didn’t make me realize my true calling until six or seven years ago. So tell me, what do you love about writing? Possibility. I’m a wildly anticipatory person, always have been. A dreamer for sure. Writing, with all of its glorious poss…

BOOK RELEASE: Starr Gone by Kim Briggs

Dear Alison and friends,
Today is the day! Today is the day Starr Gone, Book Three of the Starr Fall Series releases into the world! The Starr Gone Book Blitz begins Monday. The Starr Gone Blog Tour starts Tuesday but for today, I'll provide a never before scene excerpt from Starr Gone!!
And forgive me, I will be shouting to the world that Starr Gone is out! Muah! Thanks for all your Writer Love, and let me know what you think in the comments! 

Starr Gone Book Three of the Starr Fall Series By Kim Briggs

ISBN:(ebook)978-1-945910-16-6 Print:978-1-945910-17-3
BUY LINKS: Amazon Kobo Itunes BN
BLURB:
A Starr gone. A team betrayed. You never know who your true friends are until a gun’s pointed at you. One will take a bullet, and the other will pull the trigger. Starr learned that lesson the hard way. The perfect smile. A killer attitude. General Treadwell wanted nothing more than to turn Starr Bishop into the ideal assassin, but she’s far more valuable as Jessica Chamberlain, granddaughter and heir …

KIM NEEDS YOUR HELP!! Please, oh please!

Today is the day! STARR LOST, BOOK 2 of the STARR FALL SERIES is only...
and I need your help. I've purchased ads from some major social promoters, and if all goes well, STARR LOST will make it to the bestselling list.  Amazing things happen to authors and their books when they make the Bestselling list, so if you could purchase a copy or two (or three) for 99 cents it'll help hurl me to the top.

So, let's see what happens when we all combine our buying power together.
SUPPORT KIM BUY STARR LOST Ebook for $.99 AMAZON USA AMAZON CANADA AMAZON UK AMAZON AUSTRALIA

And to thank you for your WRITER LOVE, I'm running a  $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY... to enter, email a copy of your receipt to KimBriggs [@] KimBriggsWrite.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Write on, Kim