On Wednesday, September 21st I had the unique opportunity and pleasure to interview super-award winning author Christina Soontornvat and best-selling author Dow Phumiruk about their new picture book collaboration, a picture book biography of Senator Tammy duckworth. I hosted them via Zoom as the first ever big event by the NSDAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Literacy Promotion Committee, on which I serve as the Eastern Division Vice Chair. As a children’s librarian who dreams of being on the Newbery Committee, it was so cool to talk to a multi-honor winning author.
Many people know Senator Duckworth for many different reasons. She’s a politician, yes, but also the first person born in Thailand elected to Congress, the first double amputee in Congress, etc. She’s also the first Senator to give birth while in Congress (though not IN the Congressional buildings, lol). DAR is a non-political organization though, but this book is non-political entirely. Senator Duckworth may be a politician, but her life of service began long before she ran for office. From her early childhood to her military service, her work fighting for veterans, and beyond, Senator Duckworth is truly an inspiration.
After reaching out to the publisher, Candlewick Press, I was able to confirm a date to interview Dow and Christina, and while it felt like the day would never come, it finally did on September 21st!
We were joined online by about 75 DAR ladies from all over the country, who were amazed by Dow and Christina’s work, asked interesting questions about their journey to this book, and got a chance to hear about just how much research, time, and heart goes into a picture book biography.
If you would like to view the interview, it is available on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7nxiosodI4
I recommend everyone give this book a read—but especially recommend it to fans of picture book biographies, those looking for military representation in books, and anyone with a young reader at home who might be inspired by Senator Duckworth’s story.
Life of Service: The Story of Senator Tammy duckworth is on sale now wherever books are sold.