“Every published writer suffers through that first draft because most of the time that's a disappointment.” – Rebecca Stead
But Stead’s second drafts definitely have had a “wow” factor. Her novel When You Reach Me won the Newbery Medal, the oldest award in children's literature. And her book Liar & Spy was named for the Guardian Prize as the year's best children's book released in Great Britain.
Stead - born in Jan. '68 - grew up in Manhattan and turned to law for her work. But after working as a public defender she moved to writing after the birth of her two children, doing her first book First Light to entertain her oldest son. “I asked myself what it was that I wanted from writing and where my connection with books began,” she said, “and the answer to that question was definitely in childhood, because that's where my connection with reading began.”
When You Reach Me was recently named the 11th best children’s novel of all time in a survey by the School Library Journal (the only 21st-century work among the top 20) and Newbery judges noted, "Every scene, every nuance, every word is vital both to character development and the progression of the mystery that really is going to engage young readers and satisfy them.”
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