This is my third quarterly update, and my first of 2018. It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already behind us.
As you may know, my picture book Me…Jane was adapted as a children’s musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and appeared for its first limited run during November and December. I was honored not only to attend the premiere with Dr. Jane Goodall, but also to participate in a special Q&A with Jane and the cast members before the performance. Everyone involved — from my coauthors: director Aaron Posner and composer Andy Mitton, to dramaturg Erin Weaver, to the talented cast and everyone at the Kennedy Center — did such an amazing job, and I’m incredibly thankful for their bringing this play to life. The play will tour nationally in 2019. We’ll keep you posted as theaters commit.
Last August, we announced that every purchase at MUTTS.com would benefit The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team. In the months that followed, that same team came to the rescue for thousands of animals and people affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
In the immediate aftermath of Maria’s destruction in Puerto Rico, The HSUS delivered food, generators, solar lights, mosquito netting, and other necessities to families in desperate need of supplies. The rescue team also provided direct veterinary care for domestic and wild animals, coordinated the transport and adoption of homeless animals, implemented remote water supply tanks for wild horses, and much more — and even after the news cycle moved on to other issues, their lifesaving work on the island continues.
In my last letter, I noted that my newest picture book The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs (the Hard Way) had received starred reviews. Most recently, I’m pleased to say, it was also included in several “best of 2017” lists including The New York Times’ Notable Children’s Books of 2017, Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2017 list, the Horn Book Fanfare, and the School Library Journal’s Best Books 2017.
On December 30, MUTTS readers around the world participated in The Gift of Nothing Day, a new annual holiday inspired by The Gift of Nothing book and play. The day is meant to be spent with those you care about. It reminds us to celebrate the simple things and encourages love, kindness, and gratitude. We’ve heard from people of all ages who said they enjoyed making gifts of “nothing and everything” and sharing them with loved ones. In some instances, teachers organized Gift of Nothing arts and crafts activities for their students; in other cases, folks spent December 30 volunteering or at home with family and friends.
The past year was an exciting and momentous one for MUTTS, and I’m looking forward to the many new adventures awaiting us in 2018.