My next thought: Is it too late for them to read my middle-grade novel?
For Malia, 14 and a high school freshman at Sidwell Friends, the answer is yes. But if I could be so bold, I think Sasha, 11, would love My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer.
This brazen idea came to me last spring when President Obama came out in support of gay marriage on May 9, just two days before my book launched. I wanted to send him the book as a thank you but I knew it was impossible to just send it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here's what I did:
Step 1: Ask Mom for help
My parents live in Vermont, and are huge Democratic Party supporters. My mom sings in the Colchester Community Chorus alongside Tom Berry, an aide to Senator Patrick Leahy. She gave him a copy to give to Leahy. He did! The senator was nice enough to write back: (see photo at right).
OK I'm glad the Leahy grandchildren are reading My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer... still no Obama connection.
Step 2: Ask Dad for help
Then we thought of Howard Dean. My dad is a physician who worked with the doctor-turned governor at the University of Vermont. Howard is actually mentioned in the book (on page 51), when he signed the civil union bill into law on April 26, 2000 (the first in the nation!). Howard was wonderful--he read the book, gave me a blurb, and now I have a signed copy!
Howard's copy of my book is signed to him so I don't think it ended up in Sasha's hands...
Step 3: Ask you for help
After this election, it feels like we've reached a tipping point on gay marriage. Vermont's civil union law was the first move; My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer captures that historic moment. Plus June bakes a mean pie and has some great adventures on Lake Champlain.
Can you help? Maybe your cousin is an intern for the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Maybe you serve Senator Bernie Sanders coffee when he's home in Vermont. Maybe you know the librarian at Sidwell Friends. Maybe you exchange tweets with the First Lady. I'd be grateful if you tweeted or posted this blog! And do you think I should just send it to the White House, to Sasha's attention?