I'm a tad bit biased about this holiday, because it's my birthday as well. As I was growing up, my mom used to tell me: "On the day you were born, we knew you were going to be a sweet treat!" This was on the good days. On the bad days, it was: "We knew from the very beginning you were going to be a little witch!"
I'm sorry, Mom. I really, really am. I deserve to have the worst teenagers in the history of god-awful teenagers. Seriously. I'm not sure how she put up with me.
It was, quite simply, a blast.
Also, I received a nice review and write-up in The Horn Book Magazine. "This timely, ultimately hopeful story of love, courage, and human goodness when it matters most is a much-needed antidote to our era’s Islamophobia, fear, and the tense political and social conditions that young people are surely internalizing."
I've had so many people contact me who have been reading the story in their book clubs. I can't tell you how much I love that teens and adults are getting together and discussing this book!
On a more personal note, a teacher at my son's school pulled me aside to tell me that she was recently going through a rough patch, so much so that she wrote "faith and strength" and tucked the words into her prayer box. That same day she read the passage in ALL WE HAVE LEFT about faith and strength. By the end of her story, we were both crying. THIS. Sometimes it feels as if I am writing in a yawning vacuum, and then moments come along that remind me exactly why I do this.