Today I am thrilled to welcome children’s author Kim T. Griswell, whose childhood lovey shares a name with one of Lucy’s seventeen dollies in Lucy’s Lovey. Though Kim’s Pinky wasn’t exactly a baby doll.
Who was your childhood lovey and where did it come from?
Girls growing up in the early 1960s were supposed to love dolls. Me? Not so much. My favorite toy was a gas station, complete with tiny cars and petrol pumps. I did have a lovey, though. My lovey was androgynous, neither boy nor girl: a rubber doll with a round pink head and a banana-yellow body. “Pinky” was given to me by my sister’s godmother, Mama Margaret. She’d been my mother’s English teacher at a boarding school in southern Georgia.
Did you and your lovey have a special daily routine?
Pinky went everywhere with me—to the zoo, the library, the corner store where I once bought a fudgsicle so cold it stuck to my upper lip. We were inseparable. In those days, I imagined that I would grow up to be a school teacher. I had a blackboard, a fistful of squeaky yellow chalk, and a dusty eraser that could never totally remove the marks I scribbled on the board. Unlike my older sister, Pinky would always sit quietly and listen to my teacherly ramblings. My lovey loved for me to read picture books aloud. The Littlest Angel and The Brementown Musicians were two of Pinky’s favorites. Both were inexpensive mass-market books with their spines rubbed raw from wear.
If you still have your lovey what is its current condition?
Like all inflatable toys, Pinky eventually…popped. I was heartbroken, of course. How could anything replace such a one-of-a-kind lovey? But Pinky’s legacy lives on. You see, there’s a direct connection between Pinky and my writing career. Mama Margaret—the godmother who gifted me with Pinky—enjoyed the letters I wrote her so much that she encouraged me to become a writer.
Although Pinky was well-loved, in truth my andro-doll was not the lovey of my life. That title goes—and has always gone—to whatever book I clutch in my hand as I fall asleep each night. My mother gifted me with a love of reading before I started school. By the time I did, I had devoured every children’s book in the East Point, Georgia, library, and had been given special permission by the librarian to check out books from the “big people” reading sections. Books, and the stories inside them, are the lovey of my life. I try to avoid the stinky ones and go straight for those that smell of lightning strikes, the ones that sizzle and smoke and threaten to explode if you don’t open their pages.
Kim T. Griswell has written about everything from flesh-eating plants to exploding toilets and spends as much of each day as possible reading and writing children’s books. For twenty years, Kim worked in senior editorial and book development positions in children’s and educational publishing, including at Highlights for Children, The Mailbox Book Company, Boyds Mills Press, and Portable Press. Kim has taught writing workshops, visited schools, and done readings of her work across the country. She has published hundreds of short stories, articles, columns, and blog posts, as well as a number of books for educational publishers.
She is the author of three picture books about a book-loving pig named Rufus: Rufus Goes to School and Rufus Goes to Sea (both Oregon Book Awards finalists), and Rufus Blasts Off! Kim writes in a tiny house nestled beneath a very tall redwood tree in Ashland, Oregon. Find out more about Kim at www.kimgriswell.com.