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Two Versions of Myself: What It Means to Win an ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Award

By Lindsay Eagar
 | Oct 17, 2017

Lindsay EagarI spend my days oscillating between two versions of myself.

The first is Lindsay, the mother. My two daughters are seven and one, and they are willful, brilliant, demanding little tyrants. As a stay-at-home mom, much of my time every day is spent with my daughters, feeding them, dressing them, teaching them, and generally making sure they are happy and healthy.

No small task.

Most nights I collapse into bed, desperate for a few hours’ rest before the morning breaks and the exhausting, isolating task of caretaking begins again. I have always known I wanted to be a mother, but oh, I was not prepared for how hard it can be to give and give and give, and wonder if it will ever be enough.

But this is the experience of being a mother.

The second is Lindsay, the writer. I am a daydreamer, a silly heart, a creator of worlds and places and characters as dear to me as if they were real. As a child, I hoped that I would one day be a published author, and when I saw my debut book, Hour of the Bees, on shelves in bookstores, a new fire was lit—to tell every story I have inside me. To write, to be fearless with my pen, to illuminate with my words, to bring honesty and beauty and searing, sparkling magic to readers, and to stop only when I am dead.

No small task.

Most nights I fall asleep immediately, already plotting what sentences I will write when I wake—sometimes the words tease me out of sleep when it is still dark, whispering to me across the shadows. I have always known I wanted to be a writer, but oh, I was not prepared for how it feels to give and give and give, and wonder if it will ever be enough.

But this is the experience of being a writer.

And on most days these two versions of myself feel at odds—they battle for my attention, for my energy. They fight to be the defining Lindsay, but every once in a while I have a day where the two of them melt into one.

The day when I opened the email telling me I was an ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Award winner in the category of intermediate fiction? That was one of those days.

I looked up from my notebook, up at my sweet girls, and the connection was forged—the immense privilege I have of writing for children, of shaping their world, of opening a window of magic into their lives—that is celebrated with this award, which I share with the teachers who work with young children in classrooms and encourage their imaginations through literacy.

There is a Lindsay who gets to mother my darling girls, and a Lindsay who gets to write books that children read with their teachers, books that hopefully develop a lifelong love of reading and learning for these minds. I am so, so grateful to the International Literacy Association for highlighting Hour of the Bees. This is such a great honor, to be recognized by an organization that looks at stories for children, every day, and to be seen as enough. I am delighted that my second novel, Race to the Bottom of the Sea, was released this month—it affirms that not only does writer Lindsay belong in this world, she thrives.

Lindsay Eagar won the ILA 2017 Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Award for Intermediate Fiction for Hour of the Bees.

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