Who is on the plum tree?
“Every Child is Entitled to Innocence was presented to me as my first official project as an Editor at Plum Tree Books. I am thrilled this collection was chosen as our first published book.
I read all the stories. I edited only a few – I felt that some of these stories should appear “as written.” Raw. Basic. Heartfelt.
My Every Child story, “Dust a Pale Face,” has nothing to do with my childhood, though it has everything to do with it. My story is about my ancestors in the Pennsylvania coal mines. A life I never knew but a life I think about every day. Without my ancestors, I would not be here.
Personally I feel humbled. Frightened. Horrified. Amazed. Inspired by this project.
My childhood was incredibly good: a pink bike with tassels on Christmas morning, a puppy when the neighbor’s dog gave birth, and a pony in the backyard for my 8th birthday. A loving mother and her loving sister raised me and my two brothers after dear-old-dad took off, right after my first birthday.
We enjoyed Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Darren, and big bands, and I learned the jitter-bug and the box step; we had tuna casserole with peas (ick) and meatloaf and spaghetti with perfect meatballs; we had jig-saw puzzles and crossword puzzles; we owned an encyclopedia, atlases, and numerous dictionaries that were open all the time on the dining room table.
And we always had Mom inside the front door when we got home from grade school.
I am amazed and horrified at the stories I read (and was tasked to edit) for the Every Child anthology. Because my childhood was so exceedingly good, I had a difficult time reading all the sad stories in the Every Child collection.
How could this happen to children – innocent babies? These sad stories made me even more grateful for my wonderful childhood.”
Karen S Elliott was raised by a mother who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in a day. Their favorite expression was, ‘Look it up!’ Karen is the Executive Editor and Co-Founder of Plum Tree Books.
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