WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Meyer weaves the Double V movement — which stood for Victory and liberty at home and abroad and was the precursor to the civil rights movement of the 1960s — into her plot, and her character September Rose idolizes Josephine Baker, a real life African-American singer and dancer of the era. Meyer also has published two picture books. Matthew and Tall Rabbit Go Camping (Down East Books), is a delightful story of a boy who is nervous about sleeping in a tent and brings his stuffed animal along to keep him company. New Shoes (Holiday House Books) follows Ella Mae as she goes to buy a new pair of saddle shoes with her mother in the 1950s, but isn't allowed to try them on because of her race. Together with her friend, Ella Mae finds an inventive way to resist Jim Crow laws and helps other black people in her community buy new shoes without suffering humiliation. This book won 10 different honors, including the NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor Book for Outstanding Fiction for Children, and it was one of only five children's books nominated for a 2016 47th NAACP Image Award. "It's been very meaningful for me to get such recognition," Meyer said. "Racial tensions in our country are so high. It's a writer's job to get inside their characters' heads and imagine what it's like to be them. But it has to be supported by research." To ensure credibility, she had sev- eral black readers review New Shoes before it went to print to get their reactions. Accord - ing to Meyer, her earlier view of Ella Mae's mother was "wrong." One black reader explained that based on her ancestors' expe- rience Ella Mae's mother would not have expressed anger to her daughter about not being able to try on shoes — instead she would have put a positive spin on it — trying to protect her daughter from the pain of racism. Meyer altered the book accordingly. While Meyer teaches full time at Wellesley College and has a family at home, she still manages to squeeze in time to write, as well as visit schools, participate in writing panels, and critique peer manuscripts. She works best in the morning or after a long walk when she can clear her head before sitting down to pen her beautiful, lyrical words. "I enjoy spending time with my husband and daugh- ter, kayaking, ice skating, walking through the New England woods, waiting for rare books to arrive for me through interlibrary loan, and searching every fall for a perfect, just-dipped caramel apple," she says. Despite her professional success, Meyer remains very humble — just happy to be "doing what she loves." Her books are capti- vating stories about children who are advo- cating for the things we all want in our lives: fairness, freedom, and friendship. To find out more about Susan Meyer, visit her website at www.susanlynnmeyer.com. 174 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 books "captivating stories about children "

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