This is it.
Today is the day kids will get a chance to meet Miranda. And Ruby. And Esteban, and Najma, and Tomoki, and Rahim, and Anna. This is the day I get to introduce my kids to kids in real life.
I have waited so long for this day. I still don’t quite believe it is happening.
Just over two years ago, I got the call that every writer dreams of getting. And that night, as I lay in bed, the giddiness still bouncing around in me, it hit me: kids were going to meet Miranda. A young girl out there somewhere might someday pick up my book, read about Miranda and all her determination, self-doubt, grit, and drive to become an astronaut, and maybe…relate. Maybe be inspired to achieve her own personal goal.
That was the moment it felt real.
And today, it doesn’t just feel real. It is real. It’s happening.
I wrote this book for a lot of reasons. But one of which was the desire to share the excitement of space travel with as many kids as I could. And after years of writing and revising, of querying agents, of being on submission with publishers, of doing rounds of edits with my editor, and of simply waiting, today is the day kids get to read my book.
I have a lot of people to thank for getting my novel (and me) to this time and place. My family. My friends. My writing group. My agent. My editor. My whole team at HarperCollins. My fellow EMUs. My cats.
But honestly, the people I should thank the most are the kids I have had the honor of teaching in my various roles throughout my life. Some of you I got to know for long stretches. Most of you were one face in a crowd of hundreds during a 20-50 minute presentation. But all of you mattered, because it was your energy, enthusiasm, and curiosity that inspired me to write this book, and to keep writing books.
Whenever you’d gasp when I brought out Gollum or Norman (two charismatic prehensile-tailed skinks) to climb up my gloved arm, or laugh at my bad jokes as I taught you Newton’s Laws using bright orange carts to knock over giant grey plastic boxes, or cheer when the first bolt of lightning leapt from the Van de Graaff generator, or shoot all your hands into the air when I asked what your favorite dinosaur was, or fall into an almost reverent silence when the lights dimmed and the stars turned on and you got to take in the beauty of space…
All of that. All of that and more. You’re who I’m writing for. So thank you for being you, and I hope my books can help keep that wonder in your eyes for as long as possible.
Katie Slivensky’s debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) releases on August 1st, 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.
Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program. She lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin, and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.