I had two general questions for her:
- How have children books changed in themes throughout your career?
- What do you want to convey to your children’s audience about their world?
MacLachlan began by explaining that her writing has changed since she became legally blind; yet, she believes that all children yearn for reassurance and hope in their world, no matter when they were born. The important themes don’t change just because the world changes. MacLachlan continued to explain that through her writing, she wants to give children the warmth of family life and the hope of continued happiness in their lives, despite the ups and downs that all of them experience.
I mentioned that her novel White Fur Flying was a 2015 Nutmeg nominee, and that many of my students asked me to find out if the family in her book is modeled after her own family. She replied that she had a loving family and happy childhood, and that dogs continue to be a part of her life and her family’s lives.
We talked about her novel The Iridescence of Birds, the story of Henri Matisse’s childhood; she mentioned how important his mother was in shaping him into the artist of his adult life. I found her warm, intelligent, witty, and congenial; she shared her email address with me and told me that she would like to Skype with some of my students. It was a memorable time for me!
Mary Ellen Minichiello is the librarian at the Calf Pen Meadow Elementary School in Milford.