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Why I wrote Refugee Child

When I heard that 2006 was the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, I did some research and found no children’s books on the subject. I knew then that I had to write this book! Not only did I live through the Revolution, become a refugee and immigrant, but I’ve also written many children’s history books. Writing this book became a sacred duty.

Although I’ve written hundreds of books, never have I written a book as difficult as this one. I’ve always been reluctant to tell my story because of the deep emotions it triggered, so even my husband and children have never heard it in detail. I wasn’t sure I could remember enough for a book, so, as a starting point, I wrote down my most vivid memories. Then, an amazing thing happened! News about this book spread quickly, and my relatives and friends came forward with their eyewitness accounts, which corroborated my memories or added to my story. Whenever I had a missing piece, it miraculously showed up!

As I wrote the book, I also realized just how universal my story was. When Hurricane Katrina left thousands homeless, I knew how it felt to lose my home and all my possessions. As I watched stories about Iraq, I could feel the fear and sorrow. Writing the book also made me feel gratitude for the people who reached out and helped us. I called everyone I could find to thank them again. Having written this book, I now understand many of the choices, actions, values, and repeating patterns in my life.

More than anything, Refugee Child has made me realize how strong I am and what an important role my dreams have played in creating the kind of life I live. I‘ve always known that everything I’ve ever needed was inside me. Perhaps Refugee Child will help children—and adults—look inside themselves for the strength they need and the answers they seek.

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Copyright Crabtree Publishing 2006