7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #118: Featuring Duane Smith and
Janet Halfmann

h1 June 7th, 2009 by jules

“Men, women, and children ran out onto the deck of the Planter. Robert, standing straight and proud, stepped forward and raised the captain’s hat high in the air. He shouted that he had brought the Union a load of Confederate cannons.”

— From Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story

Jules: Happy first-Sunday-of-the-month to one and all. First Sundays here at 7-Imp means a student illustrator or artist otherwise new to the field of children’s lit will get the spotlight. This morning we have illustrator, designer, and art instructor (inspiring children, thank goodness, to “think conceptually as well as independently”) Duane Smith, who studied at Pratt Insitute and currently lives in Brooklyn. This morning, I’ve got some of his art work from Janet Halfmann’s Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story, published by Lee & Low Books last year. Janet is also here this morning to say a bit about the book.

Janet’s picture book biography tells the story of Robert Smalls, who grew up in the mid-1800s a slave in South Carolina, always dreaming of freedom. Getting permission from his master to work at the docks, Robert loaded and unloaded cargo from ships, becoming foreman of a crew by age fifteen. After that, he began working in the shipyard and—after meeting and marrying Hannah Jones and becoming a father to their first child and after the launch of the Civil War—Robert began working as a deckhand on a wood-burning steamer, named the Planter, and was then promoted to wheelman. As the person responsible for steering the boat, he learned the secret steam whistle signals for passing Charleston Harbor’s forts. After joking around and pretending to be the boat’s captain one night, Robert was struck with an idea: That he and his crew would steal the Planter on a night when the officers were ashore, while he wore the captain’s hat and responded with the secret boat signals. He would, essentially, trick the fort guards into letting the ship pass. To the Union fleet. To freedom.

And, well, the opening image here gives you more than a hint as to whether or not Robert succeeds, but I’d still recommend you read this biography for yourselves. The moment after which Smalls tells his wife of his plan and before their moment of victory is well-paced and full of almost nail-biting tension. And Duane’s art work caught my eye. As you can see, his thick brush strokes are highly impressionistic, and I love what Kirkus wrote in their starred review of the title: “Smith, a newcomer to picture books, sketches out scenes and characters with broad daubs of oil, creating a sculptural effect that heightens the monumental nature of Smalls’s deed.” Yes, sculpture-esque. Very much so. I quite like it.

“Robert and Hannah married on December 24, 1856, and in February 1858, their first child, Elizabeth, was born. As Robert held the tiny bundle, he was saddened by the realization that Elizabeth did not belong to them. She was the property of Hannah’s master. So Robert made a deal to buy his wife’s and daughter’s freedom for eight hundred dollars. Although Robert was still enslaved, the arrangement would allow Hannah and Elizabeth to go wherever he went.”

“It seems to me that some people have so many books written about them, but the achievements of others are all but forgotten,” Janet told me. “This seems especially true for minorities…At first, I found just a few lines about {Smalls}, but as I dug deeper, I became more and more amazed at what he had accomplished. When I found out how he had stolen a Confederate gunboat and ran it past several forts in Charleston Harbor, I knew that this was a great adventure story that kids would love. And at the same time, they would learn about an important African American hero who spent his entire life trying to improve the lives of all people…”

Duane, having never heard the story of Smalls until he was presented with Janet’s text, found it to be “a great story about courage and bravery…His story is like no other heroic African-American…humble but powerful.” The book’s afterword sketches out even more details of Robert’s life, noting that in 1875 he was elected to the United States Congress, calling during his five terms for an end to race discrimination in the army and introducing a petition to give women the right to vote.

“Robert asked a crewmate to take the wheel. He pulled down the captain’s straw hat to shadow his face and stood at the window of the pilothouse. Under his dress jacket Robert’s heart thumped loudly. Mimicking the captain, he folded his arms across his chest. Then, slowly, Robert sounded the signal.”

Janet—who didn’t see the art until the book was almost ready to go to press—added, “I think Duane’s artwork complements the story exceptionally well. Whenever I do events, people comment on the beautiful artwork.”

“It’s a great story, and I hope you enjoy it and the paintings,” added Duane. His web site is here. You can see more of his art there, and I think that this page, highlighting some of his “public space” work, is probably my favorite.

As for Janet—the author of more than thirty books for children, including many nonfiction and natural science titles—her ninth book for Soundprints, Little Black Ant at Park Street, is coming out this summer. Good Night, Little Sea Otter will appear in 2010 from Star Bright Books. And Sylvan Dell Publishing, the publisher of Janet’s Little Skink’s Tail (which fascinates my children), recently bought another of her manuscripts. “I also have a picture book titled Bewitching the Chickadees,” Janet said, “that my daughter is illustrating, which will be out in about a year from Orchard House Press. My daughter and I are both really excited about the possibility of doing book events together!”

Thanks to Duane and Janet for stopping by! Want more info? Here’s a lovely review at Andromeda’s a wrung sponge; a 2008 interview with Duane at The Brown Bookshelf; Janet in 2008 at Susan’s Chicken Spaghetti; Fuse’s 2008 review; and another review at Charlotte’s Library and The Well-Read Child.

{SEVEN MILES TO FREEDOM: THE ROBERT SMALLS STORY © 2008 by Janet Halfmann. Illustrations © 2008 by Duane Smith. Published by Lee & Low Books. New York, NY. Posted with permission of publisher. All rights reserved.}

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, our 7 Kicks posts are our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. So, let’s kick it up. Absolutely anyone is welcome to list kicks — even if, or especially if, you’ve never done so before.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). Our lilies and roses have bloomed.

2). Both my girls are attending a Parents’ Day Out program for just two days a week for a bit this summer, and for the first time since I became a mother, I’ve got two days of the week in which I am ALONE. I miss them a whole stinkin’ lot, but it’s nice to get work done without interruptions, too.

3). My nephew turned thirteen, I got to help him celebrate his birthday while he was in town, and I gave him a mixed CD I put a whole lot of care and research into. I figured a 13-year-old boy needs some essential rock and punk (both classic and contemporary), so he’s now got some Ramones, The Clash, Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, White Stripes, Black Keys, Pixies, Modest Mouse, Tom Waits, Dylan, and more. And I hope and hope beyond all hope that the CD doesn’t end up in the trash, but he seemed to like it.

4). A picnic and movie in the park with our girls. With popcorn. Of course.

5). I’m sorry for this very scatalogical kick—I swore I wouldn’t type this—but it’s really and truly kick #1 for me, honestly: Our youngest is FINALLY out of diapers. Sweet heavenly hosts, I thought she’d never do it. I very much do not miss the butt sacks.

6). When Jimmy Fallon and The Roots slow jam the news. Here’s one from March:

7). Last, but far from least, Jane Yolen’s My Uncle Emily. So wonderful, and I love Nancy Carpenter’s art work in it. And Elaine M. sent me Georgia Heard’s Falling Down the Page, which I also love and for which I thank her muchly.


* Bonny Becker up and got the 2009 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for my favorite picture book of 2008, A Visitor for Bear! Congratulations to Bonny!

* Where has this blog been all my life? (Thanks to Fuse for the link.)

* MotherReader’s 48-Hour Book Challenge is in full swing, and I’m not able to do it again this year. Maybe 2010. Hope our kickers who are participating are enjoying it.

I think Eisha has visitors this weekend, but I’m sure we’ll hear from her soon. What are YOUR kicks this week?

28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #118: Featuring Duane Smith and
Janet Halfmann”

  1. Wow, Robert Smalls was AWESOME. He really, truly rocked. Thank you so much for this feature!

    And Jules, you are one cool aunt. Congratulations to your youngest! Thanks for the Terrible Yellow Eyes link. And waaahhh, I want to read My Uncle Emily and Falling Down the Page, too. Hey, now I want to write a list poem…


    1. I took a one-week break from blogging.

    2. I am reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore!

    3. Quest Dance Crew, season three winners of America’s Best Dance Crew.

    4. The Asian American hip hop group Far*East Movement. Especially their two songs “Girls on the Dance Floor” and “All Night.”

    5. My younger brother JP won one silver medal and two bronze medals for the Philippines in the 9th ATF ASEAN Taekwondo Championships in Vietnam.

    6. The Philippines is overall champion of the 9th ATF ASEAN Taekwondo Championships.

    7. My long weekend!

  2. And ooohhh, P.S., it is rainy season here. I am lovin’ all the storms. PERFECT weather for snuggling in bed with a good book!

  3. What a lovely feature. We’ve loved so many of Janet’s books (including Little Skink’s Tail). Seven Miles to Freedom has been and Robert Smalls have been staring back at me for almost a year! I need to finish it.


    1. Watching Catherine (1st grade) hug her friends and having them all tear up as though it were a high school graduation!

    2. Family Movie Night (Monsters Inc!)

    3. Reminiscing about BEA through the books that arrived Tuesday.

    4. The new book software! Gone are the days of manually loading EVERYTHING.

    5. A wild thunder and hail storm (gumball size hail) … never seen one as wild as Wednesday’s!

    6. All of the seedlings from my Mother’s Day gift survived the hail.

    7. Having “just me” time this morning before the rest of the house wakes up. Shhh….

  4. Haven’t done these for a while. Feel like I have to apologize, so sorry. But totally in the mood today to celebrate:

    1. 48 Hour Book Challenge with 115 participants!!!

    2. Catching Fire ARC lives up to the hype.

    3. Two beautiful days in a row make me believe that summer is coming.

    4. The arrival of my boxload of BEA books.

    5. Blogging friends supporting each other.

    6. Reading like crazy this weekend.

    7. Did I mention the 115 participants?

  5. I can’t wait to see Seven Miles to Freedom IRL. Those illustrations look lovely, and what a story!

    Jules, No one would blame you if you stood on the roof and shouted “NO MORE DIAPERS!” up and down the block. That’s a big deal. Everyone knows it.

    Also, that Jimmy Fallon clip is hysterical. I haven’t gotten to watch his show yet.

    Tarie, I’m planning to start Graceling today! It’s been on my TBR list for too long.

    My kicks:
    1. This past week was so much better than the previous week.
    2. I started a new round of Toddler Times (lapsit programs for children aged 9-23 months, plus an adult). I had some kids I know, and some new ones, and they’re always such fun. Kids have such a pure energy at that age, you know? I know it can get exhausting when you’re around it all day, but the couple half-hour sessions I do start my week off really well.
    3. My BFF went to help me pick up some more mulch for my yard. Between the two of us, we can carry those big, huge, heavy bags around. It makes us feel very self-actualized doing this sort of thing.
    4. Thursday was my first farm delivery of the season. I got arugula, spinach, radishes, cilantro, potatoes, and onions. Score!
    5. With the above, I made a long-gone spinach salad and a wonderful new pasta dish with the arugula. I’ve also been freezing some cilantro pesto. How awesome is it that it’s time to start freezing stuff again?
    6. I took Friday off work. I ran some errands in the AM, but then I spend much of the rest of the day alternating small chores with sitting on my front porch and reading The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, which I completely recommend.
    7. My godson has been sick with bronchitis, but he finally seems to be doing better. We were out at a baseball game last night, and he certainly had no problem screaming “CHARGE!” at appropriate intervals.

  6. Good morning, everyone!

    I hope those of you participating in the 48HBC are having a blast. Kudos to MotherReader for running such a successful annual event! There are over 100 participants this year, so I wish MR well keeping track of everyone. I only have a few hours to play this year. Sad.

    Welcome, Duane and Janet! Wow. What a brave man.

    Jules: Please sing (or at least say hello) to the pretty flowers for me! Alone time is weird, isn’t it? Rock that mix CD for your nephew. Yay, picnic. Even louder yay for the diaperless munchkin! Must find the Yolen Dickinson book. Oh my goodness to the slow jam news.

    Tarie: Welcome back! Hope you enjoyed your break. Congratulations to your brother! Enjoy the music, the dancing, the books, and the weekend.

    Terry: Stay dry. Glad that the seedlings survived. Enjoy the quiet morning.

    MotherReader: See above for 48HBC good-luck wishes!

    adrienne: I’m so glad that you had a better week this week. Glad that you have both returning readers and new faces. The salad and pasta sound yummy. Healthy thoughts for your godson.

    My kicks for the past week:

    1) Congratulations, graduates!
    2) Healing
    3) Performing – week #5 of being a prima ballerina – only 3 more weeks left!
    4) First meeting and read-through for the next show – a comedic fairy tale, running in July
    5) http://www.kosherpunkrock.com – Launching the website for So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), an illustrated novel by Micol and David Ostow coming out next month that you all should read!
    6) Sleep
    7) Confirmation for the next-next show – a one-day event this coming Saturday!

  7. Tarie, wow. Congrats to your brother, the Phillipines in general, and you for your long weekend and blog-break!

    Terry, {I’m whispering, in case you’re still having your me-time. Man, do I need some of that today. The girls are particularly loud. They’re finally playing quietly in their room.} What BEA books did you get? Monsters Inc. makes me laugh AND cry. My girls are crazy about Little Skink’s Tail.

    MotherReader, congrats on the wonderful 48HBC turn-out. WOO HOO!

    Adrienne, because I’m such a night owl, I’ve seen several episodes of Jimmy Fallon’s show. He says “awesome” a lot. Some people have talked about how nervous he is, since he just started this, but I think that’s just normal for him. And part of his charm. I was a big fan of his when he was on SNL. The first time I saw him slow jam the news, I wanted to laugh so hard that I’d nearly soil myself, but I did so inwardly and with a totally straight face, ’cause I was too tired to laugh outloud. You know, it was late.

    Glad you had a better week, time off, and all that yummy produce. May I come over for dinner?

    Little Willow, may I ask what the comedic fairy tale is? Oh, and Colleen told me the other day about So Punk Rock. It looks great. Must find it. Did you do that site? It looks great.

  8. Jules, your youngest left diapers behind in a week when our youngest filled three or times times as many as usual. So I couldn’t be happier for you. Also, I loved your parental-bragging kick (with disclaimers!) last week about your chapter-reading five-year-old — we should compare notes about appropriate books for those kids, as it’s not always easy to find great stuff that’s the right level (both reading level and content type). Our resident five-year-old loves Mercy Watson, Rat and Mole, Cobble Street Cousins, Magic Treehouse, etc…

    And really all kicks (and all thankfulness) have to be freed from fears of bragging, right?

    Little Willow, that site (and book) look super cool. Great vibe in the tone and look, irreverent without being snotty.

    Tarie, I’m jealous of your rainstorms. We live in a desert and haven’t had significant rain since the snow melted three months ago…bone dry.

    Adrienne, who wouldn’t love the sound of those farm deliveries?

    7 kicks…

    1) Finishing our first year of home learning with our daughters. My wife is a superhero for doing it this year with a toddler in tow and we’ve all deemed the experiment a great success.
    2) My Blurb book of ice photos is finally designed and ordered! Thanks to all the 7-Impers (Jules and Eisha especially) for the encouragement, and for helping me see my little hobby as art. This *will* be a kick again in a couple of weeks when the books actually arrive.
    3) Sleeping in — our kids wake us up every day before I would normally wake up, but my parents took them all for a sleepover last night. Bliss.
    4) The beach — it’s been hot here (mid-80s) for a couple of weeks, so we’ve been taking the kids down to the lake pretty much every day. The water’s still chilly for swimming, but nice to cool off.
    5) Hump Day Takeout Night — pizza and beer with old friends on a Wednesday night really breaks up the week in the nicest way.
    6) WALL-E — I’m always late to these things, and probably missed it when everyone was raving about this movie a year ago…but we finally watched…and I loved it. Better emotional performance from an animated robot than we usually see from live actors.
    7) Tunnels — I don’t know if this series got any buzz in kidlit circles, but I finished it *late* last night and I’m hooked!

    Have a great week, kickers.

  9. jules: It’s a part of a one-act festival of all new plays! It was a competition wherein playwrights from all over the country submitted their works, and nine were chosen to be staged.

    Thanks! Yes, I did the site, along with Micol and David. David handlettered words and individual letters for me to work with, to make into the site menu and so forth. So Punk Rock is so fun.

  10. Such wonderful kickin’ artwork above… Sometimes if you visit a building that’s a couple centuries old (or older) and it still has its original windows, if you look out those panes at people on the outside you see them looking like Duane Smith’s illustrations for the Robert Smalls book, and that’s absolutely perfect and in many ways more realistic than if the lines in the face were sharply drawn, say. Sans photos, there’s no true way to “see” people from long ago other than through rippled glass, hmm?

    (That’s NOT meant to disparage artists using the sharp-lines approach — like, oh, say, Nancy Carpenter’s illos for Jane Y’s Dickinson book. The two methods, well, teach different lessons.)

    Jules, great playlist for the nephew’s CD. Knock on wood for its success w/him, through whatever barriers there might be.

    Tarie: Had never heard of Far*East Movement (no real surprise there, I don’t follow music that closely!), but I found the “official party remix” video for “Girls on the Dance Floor” on YouTube and it killed.

    LW: Cracked me up that you cited sleep as one of your kicks. That ought to be one of YOUR kicks every week. Your weekly seven are always such quick brushstrokes, but bespeak a life just crammed with activity and wakefulness!

    Let’s see, mine, in no particular order…

    1. Twin Peaks, still.
    2. I blogged about them, but wanted to mention (a) the mid-week posts here about cartoon-style illustrators — and the Terrible Yellow Eyes site which Jules linked to in her bonus kicks; and (b) this video.
    3. Rediscovering some music I haven’t listened to for a looooong time: Big Band-era vocalists, and (gulp) Herb Alpert.
    4. Overcoming, at last, a years-long techno-bureaucratic obstacle at the day job. (Didn’t do this on my own, btw, but it still feels sweet.)
    5. Pleasant work-in-progress surprises, not limited to writing progress per se but also to the deeper more complex pleasures of editing and revising.
    6. A Facebook status post from a Brit Facebook friend the other day, which said, “Trying not to laugh as hound pronks effortlessly round garden with large pink woggle in mouth.” It’s like reading Lewis Carroll for the first time, but purportedly makes sense to the natives.
    7. The Stepdaughter and her guy picked out (as the expression goes) a ring this week. They’re not officially, well, you know — not yet, but she has a birthday coming up. But she loves the ring and, more importantly for my day-to-day kicks purposes, so does The Missus. And we all know the saying about when Momma’s happy (and when she’s not).

  11. Little Willow, that sounds so FUN.

    John, speaking of Terrible Yellow Eyes, remember this feature I did? Well, Bill has contributed a piece over at Terrible Yellow Eyes. It’s here.

    That FB status line made me laugh very loudly. What is a woggle anyway?

    John, I finally (I’m just slow sometimes) watched this video you sent me this week. So funny. Thank you. The blind possessed choir boys are too much, and I’m still laughing about the angel guy and the mullet with headlights. I’ll put it here, in case there’s someone in the world who actually hasn’t seen it yet:

  12. P.S. Congrats to your stepdaughter, John. Even if it’s not official.

  13. The dancing ninja men who know how to twirl probably got the first big laugh from me. 🙂

    Don’t know what a woggle is. I asked Kate, but then her subsequent status message said, “Down by the river just saw a golden ringed dragonfly fresh out of her exuvia…” When I hit THAT word I decided I probably wouldn’t understand the woggle explanation anyway. Heh.

  14. My real comment (with kicks!) was apparently eaten by the spam filter again…but I wanted to register my belly laugh over that video, Jules…too funny.

  15. Ok– I have been out of the loop for a while— and of course the day I come back there is this video—- hahahahahaa— beautiful. I should have never disappeared.

  16. JES: Big Band music is WONDERFUL. Congrats on the progression of your WIP. I enjoy the literal videos, especially Take On Me (Sketchy arm!) and Total Eclipse of the Heart (It started out as Hogwarts, now it’s Lord of the Flies!) I really, really need to sleep more than I do.

    Jules: I think it will be fun. Oh, and though I play the victim again, it’s a comedy, which makes it quite different. Also, I get to scream at the top of my lungs! Gosh, that’s freeing.

  17. Little Willow, I really want to read So Punk Rock, and I love the site.

    Jules, If you ever make it to NY, I will make you as many dinners as you want, all my show-stopping favorites.

  18. Jeremy, I just saved your kicks from spam’s clutches, and I’m sorry spam tried to devour them. I was gone all afternoon and just now rescued them.

    For those who come back and read others’ kicks, please know Jeremy’s (great) kicks are up there, stuck up in the middle of all the comments.

    Now I’m off to read the rest.

  19. John, well, now I have to look up “exuvia,” too.

    Hi, Jeffrey! We’ve missed you. Aren’t you in grad school or about to be — or something like that?

    Little Willow, screaming at the top of your lungs on stage sounds fun, too.

    Adrienne: Deal.

    Jeremy, yes, let’s compare notes one day. We were just at a bookstore, actually, and Piper was totally fascinated with Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, so I might go get a bunch of those from the library. Thanks for the tips. I don’t know why I haven’t tried Magic Treehouse with her.

    Your wife IS a rock star and superhero for pulling off home learning, and I love your curricular site.

    And, yes, the first (wordless) part of WALL-E is particularly great, isn’t it? Sleeping in. Color me jealous. And YAY! ICE BOOK! How long will they be purchase-able? It looks beautiful. Great work on the cover, too. Lovely.

  20. I did the 48HBC this year! I’m pooped, and I didn’t even give up any sleep for it. Well, not much. But still!

  21. Jules,

    I didn’t get around to perticipating in Mother Reader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge again this year either. Yesterday was a really busy one for me and the other Blue Rose Girls. Grace had a launch party for her new book WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON at Porter Square Books in Cambridge on Saturday. It’s was extremely well attended–tons of young kids with their parents, grandparents buying books for their grandkids, lots of Grace’s friends. Grace was there signing books for nearly two hours!

    Then Grace took Alvina, Anna, Libby, Meghan, and me out to dinner at Upstairs on the Square. It was such fun being with my blogging buddies/friends chatting, eating delicious food, and celebrating Grace’s success. WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON has already received two starred reviews (Booklist & Kirkus) and was rated one of Booklist’s Top 10 SF/Fantasy Books for Youth.

    I am so happy for Grace.

    My time spent with Grace and the other BRG was my one big fat kick of the week.

    You can see some of the photos I took at the launch party and the restaurant at this Wild Rose Reader post:


  22. Happy launch, Grace! Loading Elaine’s blog now to see pictures . . .

    In case I forget to say it next week, I’ll say it now: THE TONYS! The Tonys are ALWAYS a kick for me, because it has always been the one time a year that I can see little pieces of Broadway shows from the comfort of my own home and wish I was there. Someday, I _will_ be there.

    Now I am listening to the soundtrack of Next to Normal online when I SHOULD BE ASLEEP.

    Adrienne: Let me know if you want a copy of SPR. I can get you in touch with the proper folks.

    Jeremy: Good luck with your book! Enjoy your fun times with the family, and celebrate the learning. So Punk Rock is, indeed, super cool. Ari, the main character, doesn’t want to be super famous or rich, and he doesn’t aspire to be on radio or MTV. He just kinda wants to be known for something, to have something for which he’s recognized.

    Grooveshark just froze my computer. NO! NO, Grooveshark! I want to hear more songs and look at the cute flamingo illustrations!

    Sorry, Explorer, but I know my way around you. I’m opening a new browser window, and I’m not going to lose all that I had typed already, no matter what you try to do to me. HA!

  23. Jules: I only hope they don’t regret giving me that bit. *grin*

  24. Congrats, Farida. Was that your first 48HBC? I can’t remember.

    Elaine, FABULOUS! What great photos (and what a beautiful necklace Anna has on and what great frames Libby has!)…Thanks for sharing.

    LW, you SHOW that computer.

  25. John! I am so glad you had fun listening to the remix of Far*East Movement’s “Girls on the Dance Floor.” =D

  26. I really liked Little Skink’s Tail, and have heard great things about Robert Smalls. Jules, congratulations on the diaper thing. Sounds like a major milestone to me.

    I missed the kicks yesterday because I was wrapped up in the 48 hour book challenge. But I thought I’d stop by this morning to say hi. My one and only kick this week: reading and blogging about books for 29 out of 48 hours, a personal best. I read 9 books, got a ton of supportive comments, and had thai food, pizza, chocolate, and wine for my breaks. And really, who could ask for more?

  27. Jules, thanks so much for the wonderful spotlight you shone on the art in Duane’s and my book, Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story. I found the comment comparing the art to what one sees when looking out very old windows especially fascinating. Thanks to all for your wonderful comments about Seven Miles and also about my book Little Skink’s Tail. And yes, no more diapers is definitely a major milestone! No more diapers means more time to read, right? Thanks again!

  28. Hi, Jen! You rocked the 48HBC. With good break food and beverages, too.

    Janet, my pleasure.

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