What Happened to Your Book Today

This can be a tough time of year to be an author or illustrator. When all those “Best of the Year” book lists come out from publications like Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, it can feel like getting picked last for the kickball team all over again.But my wise writer friend Erin Dionne reminded a fellow author on social media today that there are other lists – quieter ones – that matter, too. Every kid who is a reader has one – and your book just might be number one.

It’s true. And it reminded me that this might be a good time to bring back a poem I wrote a couple of years ago.

What Happened to Your Book Today
by Kate Messner (Copyright 2011)
Somewhere, a child laughed
on that page where you made a joke.
Somewhere, she wiped away a tear,
Just when you thought she might.
Somewhere, your book was passed
from one hand to another in a hallway
busy with clanging lockers,
with whispered words,
“You have got to read this.”
And a scribbled note:
O.M.G. SO good.
Give it back when ur done.
It’s looking a little more love-worn lately,
rougher around the edges than it did on release day.
There are dog eared pages and Gatorade stains.
Someone smeared maple syrup on the cover
because she read all through breakfast.
Pages 125 and 126 are stuck fast with peanut butter
Because Chapter 10 was even more delicious
than lunch.
Somewhere, tiny hands held up your book
And a little voice begged, “Again!”
Somewhere, the answer came,
A grown-up sigh…and a smile…
And the fourteenth read-aloud of the morning.
That same book. Again.
Your book.
Somewhere, a kid who has never read a whole book on his own
(Really. Not even one.)
picked up yours and turned a page.
And then another.
And then one more.
And it was pretty cool, turns out.
He brought it back – huge smile on his face –
(and I mean huge)
And asked for another one.
And he read that, too.
Somewhere, a teenager who thought she was alone
Opened your pages and discovered she’s not.
And somewhere, somebody who thought about giving up
will keep on trying,

keep on hoping.

Because of that book you wrote.
Somewhere tonight – listen closely and you’ll hear–
A child will turn the last page of that book,
That book you wrote,
and sigh.
Can you hear it?
It’s the sound of a story being held close
Right before a young voice says,
“It feels like this was written just for me.”
And it was.
Note from Kate: If you love this poem & want to share it on your own blog, website, or Facebook wall, please do not copy and paste the text. Instead, please include a short quote or just the title and then share the rest of the poem by providing a link to my original post here – that way, you can share with your own readers and honor the copyright, too. Here’s the URL:


Many thanks for practicing good digital citizenship!

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  1. Posted November 20, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    It’s a loving sentiment, Kate, for all the marvelous books, not just the ones on the list! My shelves are filled with books read, books shared, and books I want to keep, not the ones on the lists! How thoughtful that you wrote and posted this!

  2. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    This is lovely, Kate, Made me cry.

  3. Posted November 20, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Very nice–thanks for this, Kate.

  4. Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Weeping. This is so beautiful.

  5. Kate Lynch
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Heartfelt and inspiring-that you Kate Messner

  6. Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful poem, Kate! I really need it right about now. Thank you!

  7. Mrs. McDaniel
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Sigh! This is beautiful! And it happens all the time! Thankful today for gifted authors, like you Kate, who touch our lives!

  8. Posted November 20, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink


2 Trackbacks

  • […] It’s my hope that the story of Mari and Odin will touch some readers’ hearts to even a fraction of the the degree I’ve been affected by these and other books throughout my life.  I’ve recently been reading many titles, new and old, related to this period. I’ll review and recommend some in coming weeks with an eye toward my younger self. I don’t expect Odin’s Promise to win awards and acclaim, but my hope is that someday a reader will find in it a link to his or her true self. Kate Messner captured my  feelings about this perfectly in her poem about books and awards. […]

  • By When the Writing Planets Align | katelynchwrites on November 27, 2013 at 9:39 am
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