Hi, Elly Swartz! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! Thank you for dropping by to finish my sentences. I greatly, greatly appreciate it.
Elly Swartz: I am so honored to join you on Watch. Connect. Read. And, thank you for all you do to celebrate, embrace, and share the book love. Your joy and enthusiasm for all things kid-lit is wonderfully contagious!
Thank you for all you do to spread book love and joy! I think everyone should read Finding Perfect.
Molly Nathans is my hero (and the main character in my novel FINDING PERFECT). She has an unwavering love of family, a big heart, and is stronger and braver than she realizes. Ultimately, it was this courage and strength, mixed with her acceptance of imperfection that made her realize she was bigger than her fears.
Molly thinks poetry can say the things that she can’t. Poetry is the mirror into her heart. Through Molly’s “Me Poems” she shares her greatest fears and darkest secrets. And through her slam poems, she cloaks those same fears and secrets behind the rhythm and verse of each stanza.
The audio teaser for Finding Perfect captures the heart of Molly’s story and shines a light on her journey and the meaning of perfect. It was also an endeavor I undertook with my son. It was beyond meaningful to work with him. As an audio producer, he was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and as a son, tremendously supportive.
I wrote Finding Perfect because Molly tucked into my heart and stayed there until I was able to share her story. I hope Molly finds a place in many readers’ hearts. For many different reasons.
I hope children like Molly realize they are not alone. 500,000 children suffer from OCD. www.iocdf.org
I hope children like Molly realize they are not just OCD.
I hope all children realize that no one is just one thing.
I hope all children realize they are loved unconditionally.
I hope all children realize there is no such thing as perfect.
I hope all children realize the importance of kindness and empathy.
When I was Molly’s age, I loved writing, reading, poetry, softball, basketball, and doing anything with big brothers. I was a huge fan of everything by Judy Blume and before that Eloise, Pippy Longstocking and Ramona the Brave were my constant companions. Let’s just say my soft spot for spunky, independent and slightly mischievous characters, may be embraced by a loving 11-year-old named Frankie in my next book.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the Unfolding Identity Project, an activity on identity and empathy that readers, books club, teachers and librarians can do individually or as a group. Although Molly’s situation is unique, we are all a little like Molly – who we present to the world is not always in perfect alignment with who we are on the inside. We are all a blend of many different traits. No one is just one thing. Once kids see they are not just a baseball player or singer or reader, they’ll realize the person sitting next to them is also not just one thing. And maybe, this person who they thought they had nothing in common with, is actually something they can connect with. The Unfolding Identity Project helps kids see they are not just one thing and is my way of spreading awareness and kindness, one kid at a time. You can download the project for free here.
Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author and FINDING PERFECT is her debut novel. Swartz loves writing for children, but did not take a direct path to that career. Through the years, she’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com and on Twitter.
Borrow Finding Perfect from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.