Sellwood author publishes new children's book
Award-winning Sellwood author Michelle McCann in October published a sequel to one of her earlier children's books: The new tome, "More Girls Who Rocked the World", is available in book stores, and is featured at Westmoreland's Wallace Books. McCann, who has worked as a book editor and art director for 26 years, is also assisting Brooklyn's Trackers Earth with their current series of wilderness skills and fiction books.
McCann has written ever since she was a child, she tells THE BEE, and hopes with the new book to encourage other young writers to follow their own passions. This is the eighth book she's written, although she has edited dozens more. "You don't have to be a grownup to pursue your dream," she advises, "Do it while you're young, and have the energy. Live your life with honesty, exuberance, and passion."
To this end, "More Girls Who Rocked the World" is a compendium of 45 short chapters about girls who have had positive impacts in their lives. Chapters span the gamut from Cleopatra to Nadia Nadim, the Portland Thorns soccer player who is a refugee from Afghanistan. "She's one of the only professional athletes in the world who is also attending Medical School," McCann reveals.
The 310-page sequel was inspired by McCann's earlier book, "Girls Who Rocked the World", publishedin 2012, which featured about half as many profiles. "My publisher, Simon & Schuster, suggested about 150 more names to me, and I chose 45 that I loved. It was exciting research, since I read at least four or five books about each person.
"For the girls in this book," she continues, "I chose a balance of girls from across the world to show that anyone can excel. Some of the surprising facts I learned were these: African-American dancer Josephine Baker was also a famous spy for the French in WWII, and received a Legion of Honor award.
"Portland's own Beverly Cleary began her career in fourth grade, when a teacher suggested that she enter a writing contest at a local grocery store. Cleary won the contest, and learned that anyone could succeed if they choose to 'go for it'. In more recent times, Venus and Serena Williams grew up in [the Los Angeles suburb of] Compton, which had much gang violence. Their Dad used to take them to local tennis courts to practice, where they occasionally used to dodge gunfire. In spite of their success, they have fought much racism; but they have responded with attitudes of courage and healing."
This fall, McCann has a whirl of public relations meetings, TV interview,s and book signings to promote the new book. "Last year, Simon & Schuster held a national contest for young girls to write essays about how they planned to 'rock the world'," remarkes McCann. "About thirty were chosen from a field of a hundred to have short paragraphs of their plans published in this book.
"Of those thirty, thirteen were from Portland. Three of them live in Sellwood, two in Brooklyn, and one in Woodstock. They all go to book signings with me, since their writing is also part of the book. I'm very proud of them. We have a surprisingly literate neighborhood here!"