One Day, the End: Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s 2016 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

One Day, The EndThank you for this magical moment, and for honoring our book One Day, the End. I am indebted to illustrator Fred Koehler for taking a concept, an idea, and making it a book, an amazing one, and I thank him particularly and deeply for the spunky, adventurous character that he brought to life based, in part, on his own daughter, and, as luck would have it, very much like my own granddaughter.

Most important of all, it was my grandson Ian who begged for a story these many years ago, and laughed at the short nonsense I gave him, then begged for another.

It was on a hot day while waiting in the car that he wanted a story. I wanted to make a list of errands and offered to tell him one later. He wanted a story. Come on, just a short one? Please, Grandma? You know how we grandparents tend to cave, so I looked at him over my shoulder, and spontaneously (and maybe thinking I was being a tad clever in the moment) said, “One day I lost my dog. I found him. The end.”

He laughed. And it was a true, guttural response. A laugh that burst from him like a bubble; quick and glorious. And then he said, Grandma, tell me again. And I did. And he laughed again.

And we drove home. I found myself wondering if compiling more shorter-than-ever stories would delight other children, too.

I hope this book nudges children to see that the smallest moments can be stories, and that every story starts and ends someplace, you just need to fill it in with all those middles.

Because what happens in between makes all the difference.

One Day I was invited to the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony. I went. The End.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Read One Day, the End illustrator Fred Koehler's speech here. For more on the 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB16.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Rebecca Kai Dotlich is the winner of a 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Author Honor Award for One Day, The End (Boyds Mills).

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