Looking Inside a Publishing Story about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and His Important Message

Monday, January 18, 2021

About twenty years ago, I used to look through real-life, print magazines for story ideas. I saw a photo of two young children, a boy with his mouth wide open, and a little girl looking inside it. Today, I remember that the children did not have the same skin colors (I searched for the photo, so I could show it to you, but I couldn't find it!), and this photo prompted a story idea titled, "Looking Inside." 

In this story, it's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, (just like today!), and a kindergarten teacher is attempting to teach her class about who Dr. King was and more importantly, his life's work. But she keeps getting interrupted, as kindergarten teachers do, from the children wanting to tell her things about their own lives and just general kindergartener wiggliness. 

At the end of the lesson, she wonders: What did they actually learn in that chaos? She sends them to centers; and a few mintues later, she sees two children "looking inside" each other--pulling earlobes down and peering in, for example. She rushes over there, due to the fact that there is a "keep your hands to yourself rule" in every classroom in America and probably worldwide, and the discussion that follows assures her that the children did indeed understand Dr. King's message that all people are the same and should have equal rights. 

I always loved this story. And I never knew what to do with it because it is told from the teacher's point of view, flash fiction, and cute. I couldn't find the right home for it. 

Enter Fred.

As you know, my publishing company, Editor-911 Books, is a business I've been growing for the past year, and my first author was 91-year-old Fred Olds. Fred writes stories that are marvelous, but they have trouble finding a home because they just don't fit the mode of what children's editors and agents are looking for currently. 

To grow my business, I wanted to learn how to sell books through Ingram Spark, and not just Amazon, and so I had an idea for a book to try, and Fred said, "Yes." (Sometimes, all it takes is an idea and a yes!) I'll show you what was born out of the idea below, and then how the beginning of this post about my story fits and how all of this relates to why I'm writing about this on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

In this book above, which is now available to order from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or an indie bookstore, contains Fred's first and second Read-Aloud Stories with Fred volumes. But I also wanted to give readers more value and explain how great Fred is. So as editor of the book, I wrote a foreword and decided to add my "brand-new" story, "Looking Inside" to the collection, and it's officially out today...on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

When I was deciding which of my short stories for kids to include in the collection, I thought back through this year, and all the fights that people of color are still having to fight and wondered if Dr. King's message will ever get through to us, as it did to the kindergarten class in my story. And I knew that this was the crucial story to publish in Fred's book--and "Looking Inside" found its home. 

If you are interested in reading my story for yourself or to some children in your life, I hope you will consider checking out Fred's book with my two small additions. His stories also seem to really resonate with both children and adults, and although they are very fun, they all have a subtle message for children about how to treat people, friends, and animals fairly and kindly. 

It's never too late to find a story home if you wrote that story from your heart.

And so, I'll leave you with Dr. King's words because his message is what's important today:

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, publisher, writing coach and teacher living in St. Louis, MO, with her daughter and dog. Check out more here or in the WOW! classroom. 


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

There are so many ways to get our work out there but you've hit on numbers 1 and 2. Write things you believe in and don't give up. Great messages for today, Margo!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Great post Margo as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. I'm glad you added your story, "Looking Inside," to "Read-Aloud Stories With Fred."

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Sue and Jeanine! :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--That's a great way to kill two birds with one stone--1) get your much-needed story out and 2) give a little extra to the reader.

Great idea!

Renee Roberson said...

I love the inspiration behind your short story, and that you never gave up on it or Fred! I look forward to checking his stories (and "Looking Inside") out.

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Renee and Sioux!

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