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  • Writer's pictureMélina Mangal

Movement and Stillness

As I walked along Minnehaha Creek on this first day of 2020, water rushing through snow reminded me of the need for both movement and stillness. I welcomed this quiet start, and the time to just think and appreciate how wonderfully busy last year was.

Since the launch of The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just, I've made visits around the country—to schools, libraries, art and history museums, and even a donut shop! Though so many people made it such a great year, some of the highlights include: being the first children's author invited to participate in the Sankofa Festival of African-American Literature & Culture on Martha's Vineyard; presenting at the Marine Biological Laboratory, where Ernest Everett Just did much of his research; and sharing my book at the school I helped open in Carrboro, North Carolina.

I was thrilled that The Vast Wonder won the Carter G. Woodson Award and that my manuscript “Isaiah’s Secret” won the African American Voices Contest sponsored by Strive/Free Spirit. Another joy was seeing one of my Writing Club students win a poetry contest! I’m still reeling with awesome feelings: my dreams are coming true!

Many thanks to all of you for continuing to share books and support literacy efforts for our young readers!

I wish you fulfilling days of both movement and stillness in 2020.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

What’s Next

My short story, “On the Border,” will appear in the forthcoming anthology All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers' Collective.

As a member of the #nerdcampMN planning committee, I'm excited to share that teachers, librarians, authors, and illustrators of children's books will have a chance to get together at this free literacy event on Monday, August 3rd, 2020. Visit #nerdcampMN for more info.

For a complete list of upcoming events, or to schedule a reading, workshop, or appearance, visit:

What Else I'm Reading

Johnny's Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema and Julie Flett

A Likkle Miss Lou by Nadia L. Hohn and Eugenie Fernandes

Biddy Mason Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Arisa White

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Jun 08, 2021

I liked reading your book "The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just" it was really inspiring and wonderful. I read it on epic, at first it the design caught my attention, then I started to get more interested as I read the book. Although the book briefly talked about Ernest Everett Just biography it also had a timeline at the back which really helped piece everything further. I felt deeply inspired when it came down to Ernest Everett Just studying even though he had a family to take care of, that really moved me. Thank you for writing this book!

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