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An Open Letter to YA Author Lauren Myracle Regarding the NBA Fiasco
October 17th, 2011 by Liza Wiemer

An Open Letter to Lauren Myracle:

Shine, By Lauren Myracle

I have never met you, but I am a member of what I would call a family of YA lit bloggers, enthusiasts, and writers. What happened to you regarding the National Book Award fiasco must have been personally frustrating, painful, perhaps even devastating. I can only imagine the roller coaster of emotions you must have gone through once told that Shine had been nominated in the Young People’s Literature category, and then having it recanted, announced to the world that it was a mistake, a slip-up of the letter, “C” for “S” and an “n” for an “m” that it was Chime by Franny Billingsley, which was the novel that was actually nominated for this award.

And then you were asked to do something really tough – withdraw your book from the nomination. Once again, I can only imagine how this request squeezed your heart, left you reeling.

But somehow you did it. You found the inner strength to set aside what I envision to be tremendous disappointment and you withdrew Shine from the NBA. You did it with incredible dignity. (Readers, if you haven’t read the statement, here is a link to the Publisher’s Weekly article: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/49143-shine-withdrawn-as-nba-young-people–s-literature-nominee.html) More information can be obtained through the Huffington Post Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/17/lauren-myracle-withdraws-national-book-awards_n_1015649.html

I want to thank you, Lauren. Because your behavior, your response to this unimaginable experience was totally first class. Despite the turmoil, you didn’t sling mud or have a public fit. You show others what it means to handle tremendous disappointment and personal pain with respect and grace. In turn, you also have bolstered the message of Shine. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable.

I understand people are outraged for you. I too am outraged. But setting that aside I want you to know how much I deeply admire you and respect you for being a role model. We get more than enough of the opposite every day – so much so that some have lost all sense of boundaries and will say anything and everything to others and justify being rude and disrespectful and abusive because whatever happened justifies their reaction. Personally, it’s cool to be classy. It’s cool to have dignity. It’s cool to write a book that is so powerful and important that it can change the way people act and react toward others. It’s uncool to bully. It’s uncool to call others names.

You have shown through your actions how to take a major disappointment and use it to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. In your time of distress you thought about the young adults who could benefit, asking NBA to make a donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation (http://www.matthewshepard.org/), which works tirelessly to “replace the hate in this world with understanding, compassion, and acceptance.”

I wish you tremendous success, Lauren. And encourage everyone to go out and support you by purchasing and/or reading your novels.

To learn more about Lauren Myracle her is a link to her website: http://www.laurenmyracle.com/ Readers can find a list of all her books on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/157676.Lauren_Myracle?origin For a synopsis of Shine here is the direct link to the Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8928054-shine

 


5 Responses  
Lynn Wiese Sneyd writes:
October 17th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Totally agree! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. :D

Betsy Kaplan writes:
October 17th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

So true! Thanks Liza. I haven’t read any of Lauren Myracle’s novels, but this definitely makes me want to check out her books and tell my kids about them/her.

Liza Wiemer writes:
October 17th, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Hi Readers, Just wanted to share with you the thoughtful and kind response Lauren Myracle sent me on Twitter. She truly is wonderful:
“LaurenMyracle @LizaWiemer Oh, Liza, so beautiful and sweet. Thank you–you’ve lifted my spirits!”

And thanks Betsy and Lynn for your comments. xo

Joseph Arellano writes:
October 18th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Shine is now number 283 among ALL books at Amazon, which is great news!

Lindsay Schwartz writes:
October 18th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Wow! Such a great letter! I didn’t know much about the controversy, but it is clear that she did the right thing.

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