I write this on November 9, 2016, the morning after more than 59,000,000 Americans took pen in hand to blacken a small oval next to which the words hate and fear and mistruth and “not the other” were printed.
I write this on November 9, 2016, the morning after the pen was once again proven mightier than the sword. Because no gun or stone or balled-up fist could have blunted this country into its new trajectory the way those Bics did.
What hope I have about our collective future comes through the acknowledgment that I, like those 59,000,000 Americans, can take pen in hand, too. But instead of making marks for hate and fear and mistruth and “not the other,” I can make marks for love and courage and honesty and pluralism.
And so, it is with a mix of paralyzing anxiety and grasping-at-straws optimism that I submit to you this:
I do not know what role a picture book can play in healing our spirits and country, but I am going to work like hell to find out—for myself, for my children, and for any child or child-hearted adult who decides what I put between two covers is worth their time.
To be the change we must see the change. To see the change we must write the change.
Will you help me?
Joseph Kuefler is a Twin Cities-based picture book maker and a subscriber to the We Need Diverse Books movement, now more than ever.