Monday, January 13, 2014

Loved to Pieces . . . with Kristy Dempsey!

Today's guest has traveled all the way from Brazil to be with us today. Please welcome author Kristy Dempsey! 

Kristy has written several picture books, including the recently released A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Today she's sharing her favorite, loved-to-pieces book from her own childhood. 

"Until my parents adopted two children when I was 19 years old, I was the youngest child in my family. My sister is older than me and though we spent time together, she was often a couple of steps ahead of me in her interests. I was still playing with dolls when she was plastering her walls with posters from Tiger Beat. She played the piano. I played pretend. 

One of my fondest pretend games was that of having a twin, a constant companion that would always be there with me. We could wear matching outfits and people would notice us everywhere we went. We could switch places and pretend to be each other. I could blame all the messes I made on my twin! (I was a clumsy child.) Being a twin must be so special, I thought. Maybe, I thought, I have a long-lost twin somewhere out there, just hoping to find me. (I was also a dreamy child.)

And then at the library, I ran across this book.

Suddenly, I wanted to be a triplet. Two more MEs would be even MORE special than one! 
Flicka, Ricka and Dicka were girls after my own heart. 

After trying to help an old woman (who to me looked like a witch!) with some chores, their brand-new beautiful dresses were ruined. I was sure they were going to be in big trouble with their mother. I even felt slightly sick to my stomach because I was sure the witch would lure them into some terrible situation. 

However, I was ultimately relieved when the old woman turns out to be no witch at all and the girls don't even get in trouble. Their mother is pleased that they thought to help someone! This fantastic turn of events left me gobsmacked. It gave me all the more reason to wish I were one of a set of triplets, because apparently triplets didn't even have to pay the consequences when they do something wrong. 

As it turned out I never found my long-lost twin, but I did keep reading the whole series of Flicka, Ricka and Dicka books, finding in those three girls the adventurous playmates I so longed for."

Kristy Dempsey, an author and poet, lives in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the third largest city in Brazil with a population of about four million people. She writes picture books for her family: MINI-RACER for her three energetic children and ME WITH YOU for her husband. She's also the author of SURFER CHICK and the brand-new picture book, A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT. To learn more about Kristy, visit her website at www.kristydempsey

A Dance Like Starlight
by Kristy Dempsey

Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Philomel, January 2014

★ "Mama works hard sewing costumes for the ballet dancers at the old Metropolitan Opera House, and her daughter delights in trying them on . . . But dreaming may not be enough. . . . Then, one special night, the little girl and her mama attend a performance featuring Janet Collins, the first African-American dancer at the Met. . . . Dempsey's expressive free verse is full of longing and dreams, all in the very believable voice of a ballet-loving girl. Cooper employs his signature style of textured art to lovingly capture Harlem in the '50s. . . . A warm, inspirational collaboration that will resonate in the hearts of all who dream." --Kirkus (starred review) 

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