skip to Main Content
12 X 12 January 2017 Featured Author – Cheryl Keely

12 x 12 January 2017 Featured Author – Cheryl Keely

12 x 12 member Cheryl KeelyFor our Featured Author posts in 2017, 12 x 12 is happy to celebrate with our members who have books that are being published this year. We know the hard work these writers have put in to their career and we hope you will be encouraged and inspired by their journeys to being published picture book authors. This month’s featured author, Cheryl Keely, will be offering a picture book manuscript critique at our first check-in of the year on January 31st. Registration will open January 10th for the new 12 x 12 year here.

When Kelli Panique asked if I would be interested in being a featured 12 x 12 author to coincide with my debut picture book, A Book of Bridge: Here to There and Me to You, coming out in February by Sleeping Bear Press, I was very flattered. As a debut author, so much is new and exciting and I can’t wait to be a part of this world I’ve been journeying to for so long.  But then I began to panic.  Big time.  What could I — as someone so new to the game — possibly contribute?  I felt like I was actually on a rickety, ratchety rope bridge like one featured in my book. Too scared to go across. Definitely not looking down, but as I’d already said yes, out too far to go back.

Rope bridge Vietnam Photo credit: Pinterest

But I calmed myself by doing what I do when I’m uncertain about something or where to go and what to do next.  I read.  Specifically, I read my book and thought about how I could not be more thrilled that this book, which is all about making connections, would be coming out in a time when there is so much anxiety, divisiveness and turbulence in our world.  As I wrote in my pitch, Here to ThereA Book of Bridges: Here To There and Me to You by Cheryl Keely addresses the technical way bridges connect us, as well as the heartfelt way we connect as human beings.   I thought, maybe, just maybe this book will add a little positive to this world.  Maybe one child will take comfort in seeing in a small way that we are all in it together, no matter where we live and how different we are.  I would be lost without all the books I have read. Books have shown me the way when I felt doubt, lost, or struggled to find my way more than one time in my life, and I’m forever thankful for the bridges they have made.  So, if I can add a bridge to something positive for even just one person through my book, I will be a happy person.

And that I thought, could be my contribution, a reminder that writers, like bridges, do more than connect one place to another, they can bring people together. And no matter how much we know that our voices matter, it’s always helpful to be reminded because sometimes the journey can get discouraging. Times can get tough and the road ahead can be so full of pit stops, detours, and pot holes, it can sometimes seem like we’d be better off just pulling over to the side, stopping and letting the world go on without us.  But the world would not be better off without our voices.  What we do matters, and our voices are always needed.  Because, really, as turbulent as the times seem now, it is always a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and searching for understanding and acceptance for someone, somewhere in the world.  We are so fortunate as writers that we can offer our words and pictures to help show others that those scary bridges we must cross from time to time can actually be swinging and swaying their way to beautiful places. We as writers and illustrators will always have something to contribute no matter how scared we might be about our own journey.

Still, thinking about the divisiveness in the world right now, I did have one regret of a bridge that did not make it into my book. For the bridge connecting neighborhood to neighborhood, I had to choose between two examples.  The kid in me is very happy with using the Brooklyn Bridge because I learned a parade of elephants was used to open the bridge to show people it was safe. I mean come on, forget the kid in me, I would still stop to watch elephants on parade. (Alas, there are no elephants in the book.) But the adult in me wanted to use the West Rail Bypass International Bridge between Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, as the example.  The rail bridge opened in August 2015 and is the first international crossing between the United States and Mexico since 1906.  In a time when people are talking about building walls to keep people away, I adored the thought of including this particular bridge as a subtle reminder that walls and imaginary boundaries will not keep people divided who are connected just by being human.  (Thank you for allowing me a chance to share the bridge somewhere.)

West Rail Bypass International Bridge
West Rail Bypass International Bridge Photo credit: San Antonio Express News

So it made my heart happy to see the characters illustrator Celia Krampien chose for Here to There. In the beginning stages of the book, it was written as if one family was doing the traveling. That changed over time, but that picture remained in my head. When I saw the characters were of three diverse ethnic backgrounds I made a bridge from ear to ear my grin was so big. Krampien made a bridge from my words to something better.

As writers and illustrators, we can be direct and blunt in trying to bridge divides or laying out paths to understanding and acceptance for sure.  Or we can do it simply and eloquently, just by providing a glimpse of a bridge that is up head waiting for someone to cross in his or her own time. We have so many voices and that diversity is our strength as writers and illustrators, as well as human beings. What matters most is that we keep putting our voices out there.  For each of our voices is bound to connect with someone at some point and that makes traveling the road worthwhile.  So let us continue to make our bridges of words, of paint and the simple holding of hands.  It is always a great time to be a writer.

 

Author Cheryl Keely loves traveling wherever bridges may take her, but enjoys returning to her home in Louisville, Ky., just as much.  She resides there with her husband, a dog, a cat and a fish she is training to do tricks.  Her debut picture book,  A Book of Bridges: Here to There and Me to You, is scheduled for release by Sleeping Bear Press Feb. 15.  Please visit her at http://www.cherylkeely.com/.

 

This Post Has 458 Comments
  1. Great post, Cheryl! Thank you for letting us know that we are not alone… I also grab a book and read when I’m uncertain about something, or where to go and what to do next… but usually I head outside and sit on the porch to read that way I’m surrounded by not only the sights and sounds of nature, but also the smells. Sometimes before reading, I close my eyes and just listen to the world around me.

    I totally agree with you when you said that, “Times can get tough and the road ahead can be so full of pit stops, detours, and pot holes, it can sometimes seem like we’d be better off just pulling over to the side, stopping and letting the world go on without us. But the world would not be better off without our voices. What we do matters, and our voices are always needed.”

    1. What a beautiful idea for a picture story book Cheryl! The bridges are so tangible, and such a powerful symbol of connection. Very heart-warming to be able to read and share books like this.

  2. What a perfect post to start off the new year! Thank you, Cheryl, for your beautiful and powerful words. I look forward to reading your book.

  3. Well Cheryl, I got teary reading this post, so you definitely created a bridge to me! I love the metaphor and deeper meaning behind bridges, in addition to their very practical uses. This is the perfect post to begin our 2017 together!

  4. Cheryl, your heartfelt post is beautiful and inspirational. We are fortunate as writers to be able to show how making connections makes us all better people. I’m looking forward to this book, which I can tell will be wonderful just by how you write about it.

  5. Very encouraging and uplifting post, Cheryl. Thank you. Does seem like perfect timing for your book to be released. Congratulations!

  6. Cheryl, I was surprised to read that your new book coming out was all about bridges. I had written a picture book about bridges a few years back and then scrapped it. I am excited to read yours and see what you did with the idea of bridges. I love the premise of the story you described and the heart that you show through words and connection. Cannot wait to see the illustrations as well!! Congratulations. 🙂

    1. As an addendum. I went to reply to each of your comments, but I kept getting errors. Please know I appreciate all the comments you made and the time you took to make them even if I didn’t leave a personal reply. Technology. My next bridge to cross. 😉

  7. What a terrific topic for a picture book! I look forward to reading your story. Thanks for helping us remember to keep building bridges across worlds, words, countries, divides, humanity…especially now.

  8. What a fabulous post. I totally agree with you, and I had to laugh when you said “But I calmed myself by doing what I do when I’m uncertain about something or where to go and what to do next. I read”. That is absolutely what I do too. Thanks for the reminder that we all have something to contribute, no matter how uncertain or inexpert we may feel. Congratulations on your book, which looks stunning. You must be so proud!!!

  9. I will definitely be looking to read this book. I love the idea of bridges as connectors for people and places, and I especially like what you said about writers: “We are so fortunate as writers that we can offer our words and pictures to help show others that those scary bridges we must cross from time to time can actually be swinging and swaying their way to beautiful places.” Thank you for inspiring me to create today!

  10. Thank you all for you lovely comments. All of them made me tear up. This is such a wonderful group and so supportive. I wish you all a wonderful journey in 2017 and many happy crossing of bridges. 🙂

  11. I attempted to leave replies for each of your comments, but I kept getting errors, so I apologize for not responding directly. Please know that I appreciate all your comments and the time you took to read my post and comment. Technology — my next bridge to cross. 😉

  12. What a beautiful gentle voice you have. I so agree that we need to show by example, and show the beauty each has in their heart instead of the downward slide society has taken. Thank you for your voice and picture book!

  13. I can’t wait to read your debut book. It sounds wonderful. Congratulations! Thank you for this timely, poignant, needed post! This particular quote really resonated with me: “Maybe one child will take comfort in seeing in a small way that we are all in it together, no matter where we live and how different we are.”

  14. What a fantastic (and timely) idea for a book and a great post! Can’t wait to see your baby in bookstores and the library! Congratulations!

  15. Congratulations, Cheryl! Thank you for your positive post – you’ve added a bridge to your fellow 12x12ers. I can’t wait to read your book!

  16. What a great idea to use bridges and multi cultural connections. I had never thought of that. Congratulations on your new book.

  17. Yes! Thank you Cheryl. This is why I write, why I worked in museum education, why I taught…my roundabout career has been built around helping children (and their adults) build bridges between their own experiences and the bigger world around them. I love your book’s concepts – both the abstract and concrete connections that bridges forge, not to mention the fact that they are engineering marvels! Congrats on your debut release!

  18. Your books looks lovely and I can’t wait to check it out. Thank you for the wonderful post and the encouragement!

  19. Cheryl,

    Congratulations on your debut book. I can hardly wait to read it.

    Thanks for persevering and sharing your creative thoughts.

  20. I really enjoyed reading this post. I find it really helpful to hear from a debut author and you had lots of wonderful words to share with us that I appreciated!

  21. Thank you for an inspiring reminder of what is so important about what we do and how our words and pictures can help us readers and writers alike rejoice in our connectedness, particularly, as you point out, during such divisive times. Your book sounds wonderful!

  22. You nailed it, Cheryl. Connecting with others in positive ways is the best new year resolution for 2017. Thank you.

  23. Cheryl, beautifully expressed. What inspirational thoughts! I love how you acknowledged the great contributions of the illustrator and how her work complemented yours. I look forward to reading your book. Good luck!

  24. What an amazing book! Connecting with others contributes to understanding and peace. You have made your mark with this book! Thank you!

  25. What a thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I am very much a kindred spirit. My book for teachers is titled Books as Bridges: Using texts to connect home and school literacy and learning. The metaphor of the author/book as a bridge for building connections and understanding is a powerful one. All the best on your debut pb!

  26. I have a picture of a bridge that disappears into a fog by my writing desk, sort of a way to keep me going when I hit that foggy place that writing can sometimes take us. There is always away through, and I’m glad to see you came out the other side of writing into publishing! I already know I’m going to love your book. Thank you so much for the thoughtful post.

  27. I enjoyed reading this and in particular loved the image of the railway bridge from the U.S to Mexico. There it is with the fence between the two countries. You can see the the fence also on the actual railway track so people won’t climb onto it. So very interesting for me. This book is a narrative but has a ‘political’ message which needs to be aired and discussed openly. There are many people, clearly, who disagree with you and many of us at 12×12. Questions need to be asked why. And ensure that children are involved in that discussion.

  28. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. I love the whole concept, and I love how you used bridges as a metaphor for how we can connect as people. Also appropriate in this era of technology and ‘disconnecting’ from one another more and more. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

  29. The themes in your book are incredibly important, and wonderfully appropriate in light of everything going on in the world. I’m sure your book will be a wonderful resource for teachers and librarians all over; I look forward to purchasing a copy for my son’s preschool classroom.

  30. I didn’t think I had any interest in bridges, but I’m really looking forward to reading your book. I am inspired by how you wrote on two levels, combining the architectural/informational aspect with the human/heart element.

  31. Congratulations on your debut book! Thanks for the encouragement. I had always heard that being a writer can be lonely. The more I delve into this journey the more I realize how true that can be at times. But I also am seeing how this community can also encourage one another and help us keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  32. cheryl,
    Congratulations!It is inspiring to know that a prepublished PB author has actually made it. I look forward to reading your book and seeing the bridges it connects.

  33. cheryl,
    Congratulations!It is inspiring to know that a previously unpublished PB author has actually made it. I look forward to reading your book and seeing the bridges it connects.

  34. So inspirational… I am just as curious to know the nitty gritty details of how you work, and your personal bridges, if you ever feel like sharing this as well. Thanks for the visual inspiration particularly. Eager to see the book!

  35. May this be the first of many opportunities for you! I’m happy you so thoughtfully fleshed out the bridge metaphor. You’re spot on about needing to build bridges in this time of divisiveness.

  36. Wow! This is a beautiful post and I am excited to see your book when it comes out. We need more bridges, more inclusiveness, more love! Thank you for sharing!

  37. I really enjoyed reading your post and feel your passion for bridges and how they connect us. I live on Vancouver Island where we rely on ferries to connect us to the mainland and was born in Vancouver, B.C. which is a city of bridges. As a preschool teacher I have witnessed children building bridges many times and sharing those bridges as they take turns driving little cars or trains across.

    Your book looks really appealing! I liked when you said “what matters most is that we keep putting our voices out there.” That is very encouraging to me as a new author. Thank you.

  38. Well said, Cheryl, and a terrific way to kick off a year when a whole lot of us will be mustering the courage to cross our own bridges between doubt and just doing it. Thank you!

  39. First, congratulations on your first book! What an exciting year this will be for you! I love the concept of bridges bringing people together and can’t wait to enjoy your book! I live in Pittsburgh, so I can certainly appreciate bridges, LOL. Thank you for a lovely post and best of luck to you!

  40. Cheryl, I am SO looking forward to this book! My dad was a bridge builder. You can’t go in or out of California without crossing something he made; so bridges have always held a special pace for me and my artwork. I truly love what you have to say about joining people together in these rather difficult times, and will keep this in the forefront of my mind as I try to navigate.

  41. I look forward to adding this book to our collection. It sounds lovely. And congratulations on the book launch. What a fantastic way to start the year off.

  42. Great post Cheryl, it’s interesting to read about he thought process that goes into writing a picture book. Can’t wait to read it. All the best.

  43. Great message, and so timely in this turbulent world. I love your cover. I’m guessing the illustrations are amazing as well.

  44. I’m so glad I found this post–today–on Inauguration Day. I’ve needed constant reminders all day long about building bridges. Can’t wait to grab this for my local library. It looks gorgeous. <3

  45. When I read,
    “And that I thought, could be my contribution, a reminder that writers, like bridges, do more than connect
    one place to another, they can bring people together. And no matter how much we know that our voices
    matter, it’s always helpful to be reminded because sometimes the journey can get discouraging. ”
    I had to pause and reread it a few times. It is not only true for the world right now, but for this adventure of writing we are all on. Thank you for the reminder that voices matter, and writing matters, and bridges build a better world.

  46. Oh wow! Words cannot express how much I love this post. I’ve always believed in building bridges instead of walls (heaven knows we have too many of them already!) and you’re beautiful entry (and book) give me much needed hope and inspiration. I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you so much for this! <3

  47. A very inspiring post , and not just for writers, but for everyone. I love bridges, even the scary white-knuckles ones that I’ve had to cross in my life. Sometimes they’re so tall that when I look down I think I might need to wear a parachute! Others are so old and rickety that I worry as I place each foot very carefully in front of me. But they are all good. All good. I really enjoyed this post and can’t wait to read your picture book… to myself and to my grandkids. Thank you for this post!

  48. Cheryl, I love your metaphor with bridges, needed now more than ever. And I sincerely appreciate that you’re trying to put something good into the world–which you are! I’m excited to read your book when it comes out.

  49. Love this: “We are so fortunate as writers that we can offer our words and pictures to help show others that those scary bridges we must cross from time to time can actually be swinging and swaying their way to beautiful places. We as writers and illustrators will always have something to contribute no matter how scared we might be about our own journey.”

    I can’t wait to read your debut book! It sounds wonderful. When I taught creative writing, I used to have an assignment that required students to examine and integrate a) bridges and/or b) walls in their stories. We looked at lots of factual and fictional and metaphorical examples to build their ideas. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and vision–here and in your book. I’m flipping over to my library page to look up your book now!

  50. What an amazing insight you had, bridges connecting places and people. Lovely!
    Can’t wait to read your book. Great post! Congratulations on your debut book!

  51. What perfect timing for your book, post and positivity. Thank you for the reminder to keep marching forward, and that there is a place, and need, for our varying voices. Congratulations to YOU!

  52. Cheryl – I absolutely love this book’s theme and your obvious concern for all of us who are in this world together. Thanks for introducing me to the bridge that got left out of your book. It’s hard to beat elephants crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, but the International Rail bridge between Brownsville, TX and Mexico is a hopeful symbol in these times we are living through.

  53. Your experience of the illustrator taking your text and making it “a bridge to something better” is a good reminder that we need to trust our illustrators! Leaving an illustrator the freedom to interpret the text in their way own opens the possibilities beyond what the author could imagine. For me, it’s this symbiosis that makes picture books special.

  54. I look forward to reading your book, Cheryl. My boys literally love bridges, and I love them both literally and figuratively. 😉 Happy 2017!

  55. Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your experience–and your beautiful new book–with us. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy when it comes out next month.

  56. Thank you Cheryl. Your book sounds like it promotes bridges on many levels. It comes to us at an important and difficult time in our country. I look forward to reading it.

  57. Great post Cheryl, and I love the premise of your story about building bridges and not walls! More important and relevant now than ever.

  58. I was on the fence about joining 12 x12. After I read your article I signed up! Your theme of building bridges inspired me to become part of such a supportive community. I look forward to reading your book.

  59. Your inspiring comments encouraged me. I think diversity in picture books is important. Can’t wait to read your new book. Congratulations.

  60. Wow! Can’t wait to read your book. It definitely sounds like one I would have purchased for my library with all the lovely layers. Congratulations!

  61. Congrats Cheryl! Your post made me reflect on my own journey. My debut picture book Happy Pants – Why is Mummy so Sad? came out in 2014. It’s about a kid trying to deal with his Mum’s post-partum depression. I feel sheepish telling people about it because it always gets back to telling my own mental health story and I don’t always want to do that – especially not in the context of my writing career where I’d prefer to be known as a sunny kid’s writer. But, as you say, it takes all of us in our diversity to make the world. My book generated so many conversations and touched people in a way that has made me proud. I hope yours does the same for you 🙂

  62. Thank you for sharing the thoughtful and heartfelt underpinnings of your bridges. “Only connect”– the central aim of what we do, or try to. Congratulations on your book, which I will look for!

  63. What a great kickoff to the 12x 12 challenge. I’m adding to my goals for the challenge to be a “bridger”, not a “divider”.

  64. I made a comment yesterday. Did I have to wait until the check-in? I was on the fence about joining 12 x12. After I read your article I signed up! Your theme of building bridges inspired me to become part of such a supportive community. I look forward to reading your book.

  65. This was an absolutely wonderful read–to start the day and to come back to across the challenging days ahead (as a writer and as a human!) Thank you for the positivity. And congratulations on your huge accomplishment–can’t wait to read it!

  66. Beautiful post Cheryl. It calmed my spirit AND made me excited to find your book when it comes out. Congrats, btw! 🙂

  67. Kudos, first of all, for taking that leap of faith and writing the article. What I’ve learned over the years is that this group, of creative writers and illustrators, are the most supportive and nonjudgmental of all the groups I’ve been involved in! We build bridges everyday with our words, our pictures, our willingness to share, and, most of all, our optimism that children are what will save our world.

    As I move forward with next month’s challenge, I will keep the bridge image in my head. To remind myself that its only through ‘connection’ that we truly pull the reader into our stories. Thank you for sharing!

  68. Bridges are so much better — and more necessary — in the world we all inhabit. Thank you, Cheryl, for your timely book and post.

  69. Hi Cheryl,

    What a wonderful themed book, and so timely too. As I read your post I thought of the quote “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Writers and their words do indeed make a difference. May your work soothe the divides and comfort children. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks. Nancy

  70. Thank you so much for being a featured author! As an aspiring author, it’s great to hear from a debut author-it gives me hope! Your book sounds fascinating and I’m excited to read it!

  71. Congrats Cheryl on the amazing article and book. I can’t wait to read it. Children and adults will learn the current divisions are only part of the bigger picture because of books like yours. What matters most is that we stay connected and creating! Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

  72. Hi Cheryl, This post meant a lot to me after what has been happening in our country this week. I have at times felt angry, lost, confused, and hurt. I love your use of bridges as a metaphor for bridging people. I look forward to reading your book…and congratulations!

  73. I love your story of your study of bridges, and look forward to reading your debut book. Congratulations! What you wrote of, this ability to inspire and connect, is probably the strong thread that binds us Kiddielit writers, our need to be an uplifting influence in the lives of kids.

  74. Thank you Cheryl. I love this post, and look forward to reading your book. It is the right time for books like this- we all need to do some bridge building…
    I must say, reading and writing are my antidote to anxiety. Plus sharing stories with children- our future. It is the children who will grow up and make beautiful changes to our world, having read books such as yours…
    #weneeddiverseboooks

  75. What an inspiring post, wow. I would have picked this book off the shelf just for the cool cover but now I’ll definitely go looking for it. I love the idea, it sounds like a fantastic book to add to a literary arsenal intent on bringing a little more love into the world. Thank you!

  76. AWESOME POST! Can’t wait to read the book! My daughter and I recently got lost in and around NYC so rather than get all stressed, we enjoyed all the bridges we saw that we would have missed taking the direct route! My ancestors were part of the crew that built the Verrazano Narrows Bridge so you could say its in my blood!

  77. It never ceases to amaze me how often a message that germinated months or years ago finds its voice at the exact moment it needs to be heard the most. Your story idea undoubtedly came to you long before we had any idea what the world would like like right now in 2017. And it couldn’t be coming out at a better time. The message of connection is one we all need to hear and can offer us all some comfort. Thank you for sharing your story!

  78. I can’t wait to read your book. I love the idea of bridges that connect a divide. It is such a timely book and much needed right now. Good luck with your release. I’m excited to see what you come up with next.

  79. Thank you for taking the time to share your story and your heart with us. I thought I had commented earlier in the month, but I can’t seem to find it here – but please know your post was read and appreciated. I’m looking forward to reading your book!

  80. I liked hearing your dreams for your book. We have images we hope to convey and some we must set aside, but it was fun to read about the concepts and images that persevered and made you grin.

  81. Cheryl,
    This is such an inspiration to read as a newbie. Thanks for sharing your insight and honesty with us. Since reading this post the first time, I’ve noticed that I’m keen to keep an eye out for bridges of all kinds. I love that Celia Krampien enhanced the ideas of your manuscript even beyond what you saw…we ARE better when we’re connected. 🙂

  82. LOVE THIS! Congrats on your debut…can’t wait to read it! I just posted your book on my fb page and hope it takes off. This is what we need as writers for inspiration, and as people in general. Let’s hope we get a glut of humanity this year! Well done!

  83. I love hearing what the illustrator brought to your book! Picture books are collaborations–an example of people working together to create something wonderful. We need as much collaboration as we can get these days.

  84. What a timely and inspiring post! Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your story with us. May we all build bridges when the opportunity arises.

  85. I used to be a die-hard fiction pb-er, but now I’m really falling in love with non-fiction. The reason is books like yours! I can already tell I’m gonna love this one and I can’t wait to read it. Thank you, Cheryl!

  86. Cheryl-

    I love the visual of bridges tying us all together. I just joined a new critique group and I feel like they are my bridge, helping me revise and improve my writing so I can cross over to the “published” side of the river.

  87. Thanks, Cheryl. I love your bridge book concept and the hope it gives that we can be bound together despite divides. It’s funny how something so simple, so commonplace — a bridge — something we take for granted, can mean so much, especially now, a time when nothing can be taken for granted.

  88. Lovin’ it, Cheryl! Made an instant connection with me! I look forward to walking with you in your book all about physical places and emotional/spiritual spaces; about the importance of individual steps and journeys, and the exploration of the concept of “getting there” with someone/to someone else. A gentle sway with a big and long lasting speak to one and all. Beautiful in so many ways! Kudos!

  89. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your moment of doubt. We all get there, so it is encouraging to see someone who has faced it and moved beyond.

  90. Cheryl,
    Have not been able to stop thinking about your post. I can especially envision a child halfway across a bridge having gone too far to turn back but too anxious to continue. I have worked with so many children that found themselves in this place. That’s why caring adults are so important, to reach out, take a hand and help them to finish their journey.

    Mark

  91. Thank you, Cheryl, for a book that makes transitions less scary and less alone, for creating an experience that is about physical spaces and spiritual/emotional places, for reminding me every step I take is a bridge of some kind…and likewise with the people I meet. An informational lovely! A true companion.

  92. Thank you for your timely post, Cheryl. Your book sounds awesome and, being from Michigan, I love that it’s being published by Sleeping Bear Press.

  93. Congrats to you and your journey! “We are all in it together, no matter where we live and how different we are.” This is so true and everyone needs to be reminded of this especially right now. Thank you for sharing!

  94. Congratulations on the book launch. Such a wonderful topic to explore with kids, especially in these troubled time. I’m looking forward to sharing it with my family.

  95. I love the topic you spoke of and write about in your book, Congrats on your success. I am going out to find it right now. You are a truly an interesting and inspiring writer.

  96. Congratulations Cheryl! What a powerful and timely concept. Now, more than ever, we need to build bridges, foster connections, and establish strong bonds. I look forward to reading this book with my children. The world is in need of books like yours, filled with hope and positive messages! Thank you.

  97. Thank you for this lovely and inspiring post! I needed to read this. 🙂 Sometimes the anxiety about the world keeps me from writing. But it helps to see my writing as a way to put my voice out there and find the connections that I know are there. Congratulations on your book!

  98. Congrats on your debut book! And thank you for the information about the West Rail Bypass International Bridge and all other information in this post. Great reminder that we (humans) are connected in many ways, and walls won’t stop us! 🙂

  99. What a wonderful and important topic for a picture book! Congratulations, Cheryl, I can’t wait to read it! Thank you for your encouraging post. Our voices do matter.

  100. I love that you liken creating books to building bridges. I think we’d have a lot fewer problems in this world if we focused on what we had in common and not our differences. Thank you so much for such a lovely post.

  101. Thanks Cheryl..I enjoyed reading your post. I think we are all looking and hoping to see bridges built right now in so many area of our lives….thanks for sharing your inspirations. I look forward to your book release…congratulations!

  102. Wonderful post – especially now. Bridges, bridges, more bridges. Thanks for the inspiration and the encouragement!

  103. Sometimes I agree that it would be easier to ‘just pull over to the side, stop and let the world go on without us.’ Your observations and warm reflections are heartfelt by many. Thank you!

  104. What a beautifully written post Cheryl. I cannot wait to get your book. Your choice of subject has really got me thinking about what Story Storm idea can translate into a book that builds bridges. Thank you!

  105. Thank you Cheryl, building bridges and connections – such a positive and timely subject. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on your book!

  106. Your bridges are perfectly timed right now. It’s just what we need as a country. I appreciate the reminder that as writers we can create these bridges. It was the kick in the pants I needed to get some work done on my PB draft!

  107. Wonderful post, Cheryl. I love bridges – I’m so happy to live close to one of the most iconic in the world (Golden Gate) and used to live close to another (Tower Bridge, London). Looking forward to reading your book, congratulations!

  108. I absolutely Loved the idea of this book, and can’t wait to read it! I also love how perfect the idea of this book sounds for right our times, and everything our country is going through.

  109. I grew up in western Pennsylvania and my grandparents lived in Queens, NY. I remember when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened and the first time we crossed it. It was the biggest bridge I had ever seen in my life! I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  110. Love the many meanings of bridges in your book. They can be so magical like when I biked across the Golden Gate Bridge that was swathed in fog. The timing of your book is certainly serendipitous as the world needs a reminder of the invisible bridges that criss cross the globe.

  111. This is a great post. Thank you Cheryl. I love the idea of your book and am eager to read it. The Sleeping Bear Press (originally from my home state of MI), always finds wonderful ideas to promote. Congratulations on your debut picture book and thank you for your heartfelt message.

  112. Thank you for your thoughtful post, Cheryl. Earlier this week I asked people on Facebook (originally on my site) to post titles of picture books that would help our children to understand the issues we are all struggling with in light of current events. In particular I asked for books about government, social justice and the emotions of children. I love your book’s concept about combining actual bridges with the emotional connections between (different) people. It seems a timely addition to our libraries and I can’t wait to read it.

  113. I love the imagery of bridges! It seems technology has granted us instant access to each other, but without real-life bridges, we’re all still islands.

    Best of luck in life and books!

  114. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I can relate to the feeling of not knowing what to say to a group, and I think you found a great way to reach us! I’m looking forward to seeing your book, great timing and the concept sounds really interesting!

  115. I loved reading about your new picture book! Congratulations! The idea for melding a story with teaching about bridges is a great one. I love historical fiction for the very reason that it teaches as well as entertains and delights. From the description given, your story does exactly that. Bravo! 🙂

  116. Thank you, Cheryl, for your lovely thoughts on how important each voice is in building
    bridges. Too often I, too, want to pull over, park, and give up on the journey. Your words
    have given me great encouragement. Thank you. 🙂

  117. Congratulations Cheryl! And thank you for sharing inspiration! Your book sounds awesome, and you are correct that the timing is perfect for our current state. Look forward to finding your book in the stores!

  118. You are such a beautiful writer, and the symbolism portrayed by your story about bridges is so needed right now. I, too, love that your illustrator chose to depict diverse children in your story. As an educator, this appeals to me a great deal and I am sure it enriches your book. Thank you for your inspiring post and beautiful book.

  119. Thank you for this beautiful, heartfelt and inspirational post. I love the cover of your book and can’t wait to read it. We so badly need bridge-building these days!

  120. Thanks for sharing your inspirational message, Cheryl.

    We do so need to build more bridges than walls. Thanks for reminding us that writing — and sharing your writing — does that!

  121. Thank you, Julie…your words are like a soothing balm on a wound…our country has an ‘owie’ and as picture book writers, we can help with our stories. Just like Cheryl mentioned…our books can be bridges. I was lucky enough to get a peek at the ARC for Cheryl’s book…it is beautiful!

  122. Congratulations on your book! I love the title and the beautiful artwork. I spent most of my childhood in 2 states with famous bridges: Florida and Michigan.

  123. Congratulations on your book, Cheryl, and thank you for such a heartfelt post! I felt very emotional while I read and thought about how special it is that, through picture books, we can share those deep feelings and ideas and connect with children-not only those we love, but everywhere. Can;t wait to read your book. Best wishes!

  124. This book is so timely! Thank you, Cheryl, for your lovely book and your words of inspiration and encouragement: “What we do matters, and our voices are always needed.” Congratulations on your debut picture book – I can’t wait to read it!

  125. I love this post!!! It gave me such a feeling of hope, hope even in spite of all that’s going on. Thank you so much!!!

  126. “What we do matters, and our voices are always needed. Because, really, as turbulent as the times seem now, it is always a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and searching for understanding and acceptance for someone, somewhere in the world.” Beautiful words, and so inspiring! Congratulations on your book! Such a unique concept, and its release couldn’t be more timely. I can’t wait to read it!

  127. Hi Cheryl,
    Congratulations, this looks like an amazing book. I love bridges! Thank you for such an inspirational post.

  128. Thanks for such a timely reminder of the need to be building bridges across the wide divides in our country. Congratulations on your book?

  129. I always think of bridges as the shortest way to get to somewhere or something far away. Your ideas brought this to mind. Sometimes it seems scary to cross, but what is learned is monumental.

  130. Hi Cheryl,
    I love the idea of the bridge as a symbol for connection. I look forward to reading your book.
    Danielle

  131. I love your perspective of bridges and especially love that you wanted to include the bridge from Texas to Mexico during these challenging times. Thank you for the reminder that our voices matter. Congratulations on your book!

  132. Thank you so much for your inspiring words! It’s so neat that you wrote a book about connections to the world around us. Too many people are angry now days. I think it’s important kids know that it’s important to keep and open mind and keep going in the midst of all this adversity. That there is a way they can be safe. Tolerance is as important as ever if we, as a community want to have peace. Thank you for writing such an inspiring book. I look forward to it coming out.

  133. I’ve always been fascinated with bridges and the architecture in them. I love the concept of connecting worlds one bridge at a time. As far as technology? Well…it’s great when it works. LOL
    Have a great inspiring year at 12 X 12!

  134. I am inspired by your non-fiction book having so much ‘heart’. I am pondering a n-f myself and this has been very useful. I’m hoping to find your book in my local UK bookshop this afternoon.

  135. What a great post, I look forward to reading your book… And how apt, I feel the same as you right now – on that rickety bridge hopefully to publication one day. Your story of success is an inspiration and one that helps lift the fog!!

  136. This was beautifully said. I especially liked, “writers, like bridges, do more than connect one place to another, they can bring people together.”

    Something I think I’ll post on my goal board to inspire me as I write this year!

  137. Cheryl –
    As I read the reasons you wrote Here to There and Me to You, I couldn’t help feeling the beauty and love inside you as a person.

  138. I love the idea of bridges , but especially the one where we, as children’s book authors, build a bridge for children to make sense of the world around them. Thank you for your encouragement and congratulations on your book. I can’t wait to read it

  139. Cheryl, thank you for putting your words out there, in your debut PB & in this post. I love the idea of a bridge as metaphor for connection, and I look forward to reading your book.

  140. Thank you for this delightful post, Cheryl!

    I love hearing your thoughts on how your book can impact the world, one kid at a time. I love the idea of bridges as the physical and literal and also the metaphorical. This is a great learning point for kids without being too message-y. I can’t wait to read it!

  141. Thank you for your honesty about how it feels to be a published, yet new author, and how you can still have some insecurities! Can’t wait to read your book!

  142. Thank you Cheryl, for your inspiring post. I can’t wait to read your book with my grandsons. I would also stop to see elephants parade across a bridge.

  143. I love the idea of a bridge of words. Particularly as we critique each other’s work, we build our strength from each other and open new avenues forward. I cannot think of anything more appropriate to this time than to be in a group like 12×12. Thank you for your post—I can’t wait to see your book in the wild.

  144. It is inspiring to consider the way bridges bring people together. What a wonderful book idea – can’t wait to see it!

  145. Thanks for the inspiring post. Thank goodness for books that can let us both escape the anxieties we may have about the world and imagine ways to improve the situation.
    – Maureen

  146. What a beautiful post during such an ugly time in our history. Thank you for the much needed glimmer of hope, and congrats on your book!

  147. Loved this post. I can’t wait to read your book. I will see about getting copies for my local library and school.

  148. Congratulations Cheryl! What an absolutely perfect way to begin this year and 12×12. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  149. Smiled in response to your honest opening and feelings of reluctance … “What could I possibly contribute?” Great post and inspiration. Fascinating info – can’t wait to read your book (with my grandsons).

  150. Congratulations Cheryl! “Here to There” sounds like a wonderful book and I will look for it. I also loved learning about the bridge connecting Texas and Mexico. Perhaps now is a great time to write another book devoted solely to that bridge.

  151. Congratulations, Cheryl!
    What a heartfelt post. I appreciate your originality and look forward to reading your book soon.

  152. Congratulations, Cheryl. And thank you for your inspiring post. It’s true that communication between people bridges whatever divides them.

  153. Congratulations Cheryl on your debut…what a wonderful post. Timely as well. My company’s mantra is to “Be the bridge” because we liaise between marketing and sales (two very disparate lingos). But ultimately we all share a common goal.

  154. Thank you! As authors, the distance between an initially blank piece of paper and a finished book can seem long indeed. Thank you for reminding us that it’s because we’re building bridges. 🙂

  155. What a lovely post! I often wonder how useful my writing has been or will be. But I believe that if it touches just a few young readers and they feel some pleasure or meaning from it, then the time has been well spent.

  156. Great post, Cheryl. I’m so glad you said yes. You clearly have a LOT to contribute. I can’t wait to read your book! Thank you and congratulations

  157. Thanks for your post, Cheryl, and congratulations, too! I love what you said about bridges and the importance of connecting with others. Beautifully said and sadly very timely.

  158. Cheryl congratulations on your debut book. I can’t wait to read it. Your words really touched me and I want to work on building more bridges with others.

  159. Love this! When I was a wee girl in Scotland my biggest thrill was taking a train ride over the Firth of Forth Bridge near Edinburgh. I think bridges have huge child appeal to kids all over the world. What a great connection between books and bridges that connect us to one another and to our deepest selves! Congratulations!

  160. Loved the use of bridges connecting and how we humans use our hearts to connect. Congrats on your debut of your picture book.

  161. Thank you for your post. I love how the subject of your book is a perfect example of what we all must do now: connect, share, bridge differences. And what a great cover! I can’t wait to see the inside in a bookstore.

  162. Cheryl, it took me by surprise when I realized something holding me back was balking at taking the bridge from one image of my life and career to a COMPLETELY different one. Thanks for the imagery that is moving me forward!

  163. What a wonderful thought about writers being like a bridge. That just sticks with me. Thank you Cheryl for the insight.
    Nina

  164. What a wonderful thought about writers being like a bridge. That just sticks with me. Thank you Cheryl for the insight.
    Nina

  165. Wow! Great post and perfect timing for your story to be released. I can’t wait to read your book. Congratulations on your debut!

  166. Enjoyed reading your post! Thinking about all the bridges I’ve crossed in my life, both physically, emotionally, poetically, etc. Wish you wouldn’t have had to have chosen between your last two bridges, what a mark in time that you chose the bridge between the US and Mexico; not sure in this world today though that neighborhood to neighborhood will become even more important as we travel this time in turmoil.

  167. I can’t wait to read your book! Your post made me think about bridges in so many different ways. Congratulations on your book and thanks for your positive message.

  168. I just reread your column and feel even more strongly than the first time I commented that, indeed, we need a reminder that bridges from each of us to others do indeed exist and help keep us connected.

  169. This –> “We have so many voices and that diversity is our strength as writers and illustrators, as well as human beings. What matters most is that we keep putting our voices out there. ” THANK YOU.

  170. Cheryl, your book sounds wonderful! Congratulations, how exciting to see your baby in print ?. Your bridge concept is beautiful. I’ll be keeping an eye out (or requesting it) at our local library.

  171. A great concept for a book – love the connection between a physical bridge (the constructions of which are fascinating in themselves) and a bridge connecting people from different places – whether that be countries or sides of town. So amazingly timely.

  172. Great book idea!
    The wonderful thing about bridges is that they go both ways!
    Looking forward to picking up your book!
    Congratulations!

  173. “a reminder that writers, like bridges, do more than connect one place to another, they can bring people together” – this really resonated with me, as I realize more and more how much of my writing also is about distances, and more importantly, bridging them. Lovely post and book!

  174. Cheryl,
    I love the concept of this book and am so pleased for you at your success. I, too, am writing about compassion and am heartened to know that agents and publishers are interested in stories that help the world heal.

  175. Thank you for your uplifting words, Cheryl. Kids need this kind of book to put diversity in a positive light to counteract all the garbage they are hearing on the news. I look forward to reading it.

  176. The words of your post are inspirational. I look forward to reading your book.
    In my elementary school each year, the fifth graders worked in cooperative groups to build bridges as an assignment for one of their science units. I could picture your book being used in the introduction or follow up to this assignment.

  177. Congrats Cheryl! I love bridges, and was lucky enough to marry an engineer who is fascinated by them. We took our wedding pictures with the beautiful mid-hudson bridge in the background. I loved the idea of it signifying bridging two individual people and families together. I can’t wait to read your book!

  178. I am a bridge. And I want to do more “bridging.” I refuse to allow the negativity and the turmoil to stop me from being me, from making a difference, one act, one person, one problem at a time. I’m looking forward to reading your book, Cheryl.

  179. Bridges both physical and personal are so important! Let’s keep building bridges (instead of walls). Thanks Cheryl for such a thoughtful and meaningful book.

  180. “We are so fortunate as writers that we can offer our words and pictures to help show others that those scary bridges we must cross from time to time can actually be swinging and swaying their way to beautiful places. We as writers and illustrators will always have something to contribute no matter how scared we might be about our own journey.

    Such a good reminder that what we do, who we are is bridge-builders.

  181. Bridges with their metaphorical and literal significance could not be more important than right now. Well done, Cheryl.

  182. Thanks for the lovely post, Cheryl. What an appropriate time to be sending a book about bridges out into the world!

  183. Congratulations on your debut book! How exciting. I’m not there yet, but do have a beginning collection of “champagne” rejection letters. I believe that there is more that we all have in common than what separates us. Sounds like your book is a beautiful testament to that.

  184. What a fantastic idea for a book, and what a great time for its birthing. Congratulations, Cheryl. And congratulations to your illustrator as well–the cover design is breath-taking.

  185. A very inspiring post and an inspiring story — love the concept of bridges. I also love that you have a dog, cat and fish (and would really love to know what tricks you’re teaching to the fish!) I have 3 dogs, 3 cats, 3 betta fish (all in separate tanks of course!), and a 30 gallon tank with a variety of peaceful smaller fish.

  186. Cheryl–

    I’m glad you swallowed your fear and wrote a post for us. It’s inspiring to see a 12×12 member make it to print!

    Man, that first bridge picture (Vietnam) is not a bridge I would cross! I’ll be curious to see if your story talks about bridges that see scary and why crossing is worth it.

    It’s a very timely story and one worth telling in new ways over and over again for sure.

    Congratulations!

    Sandy

  187. Congratulations, Cheryl! They say timing is everything, but your book’s theme of togetherness will remain timely for a long time to come. I’m looking forward to reading it and embracing its message of unity rather than division.

  188. I love bridges. I love taking pictures of them while my husband drives. I’m looking forward to your book. Sounds fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

  189. “What we do matters, and our voices are always needed.”
    Thank you Cheryl for this quote… it’s a real pick-me-upp’er for those days when I have trouble getting started. 🙂

    1. Hi Sheila,
      It is not. I had it in at one point as it is so beautiful, but it didn’t really fit with the book. It was hard selecting bridges — there’s so many cool ones out there!
      Cheryl

Leave a Reply to Monica Harris Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top