Sometimes You Just Need to Thank the World

February 20th, 2016

I really don’t need to say it, but I will anyway:

It takes so much more than words on paper (or a screen) to create a book …

which is why so many authors insist on an acknowledgment page.

Too many people skip that section, but if you’re reading this, chances are, in this new book, there’s an implied thanks to you. And there’s also a bit of explanation why Gollywhopper 2 came out more than 6 years after the original.

(No. I’m a faster writer than that, thank you very much.)

So please indulge me with these words from The Gollywhopper Games: The New Champion.


In memory of
the best guide in the world,
my mom,
the original Carol.


This page starts with the usual thank yous, but ends with the reason these particular acknowledgments even exist.

Thanks, first, to my Greenwillow editor Virginia Duncan, who has given me this gift, to write more episodes of The Gollywhopper Games. She took a simple comment from me (“I’m in the mood to write another contest book”) and turned it into one of the best rides of my life. Thanks to her, too, I am privileged to work with the amazing Sarah Thomson who really gets me, gets my characters, and gets a huge gold star for tugging on my sleeve to pull out the best of this story. My gratitude extends throughout the Greenwillow family to Lois Adams, who fielded my copyediting issues with patience, generosity, and overall loveliness; Paul Zakris, who brilliantly handled the overall graphic elements, the cover design (fabulous art by Max Kostenko!), and who allowed me a sneak peek (though, maybe, he wishes he hadn’t) at the interior illustrations by the talented Victoria Jamieson (Vicki, you’re terrific!). Also to those who have worked so hard behind the scenes of these chapters.

It’s impossible to let go and write the fun parts unless you’re surrounded by family and friends who make your life as carefree as possible. Thanks, specifically, to my husband Dick and his full-on support; to Cassie who helps me find even more humor than I thought possible, and to Paige whose amazing insights into my work help me realize the full story. And she doesn’t think it’s weird when I directly launch into character issues as if they were, in fact, real.

In that vein, thanks to my critique mates Cinda Chima, Debra Green Garfinkle, Martha Peaslee Levine, Mary Beth Miller and Kathleen Tuthill who understand that it’s kind to be cruel and who also make exploring random U.S. cities so much fun.

And always to Jennie Dunham who deals with the business and leaves me free to imagine.

Now comes the thanks to those of you—and that probably IS you!—who have made these particular acknowledgments possible. In 2008, a brand new book by an unknown author found its way into the world. One minute The Gollywhopper Games was walking side by side with a myriad of other titles, and the next, you gave it a chance. Whether you are a bookseller, a teacher, a librarian, a parent, or a reader(!); whether you borrowed The Gollywhopper Games or bought it for yourself or to share; or if you included it on a summer reading list; or read it to your class; or nominated it for your state reading awards; or reordered it for your store; whether you let me into your schools, your stores, your libraries, or your conferences; whether you wrote a report on it, made a video because of it, created your own puzzles, suggested it to one friend or dozens …

You provided the fuel to turn this little story into The Book That Could. It was only by your word of mouth that The Gollywhopper Games demanded a book two and a book three. And I will be grateful always.

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