One of the great things about seeing a picture book through the process of idea-creation-revising-editing-publishing and promotion is that it finally gets into the hands of its readers!  Here, Tillie comes back to life for her loved ones and admirers, and is introduced to a whole new generation.  Personally, it’s been so wonderful for me to connect with Alice Roepke.  She is Tillie’s grandniece and has been so gracious about sharing photos and insight into Tillie.  It’s a huge boon for the biographer to have such help.  Alice is a big part of making Tillie the Terrible Swede a success and my husband, Roger and I are so looking forward to meeting her and her husband Terry in person when we arrive in Chicago.

Alice Roepke (Tillie's Grandniece) and her husband Terry

A recent trip to the lively and active Swedish American Heritage Society here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was also delightful.  Here I am picture with feisty Swede, Chuck Swenson.  Photo credit: John Seery

And finally, here’s another letter of encouragement from Taylor, a courageous rider herself, from  Whitehills Elementary in East Lansing.  Taylor wrote me a great letter of encouragement I wanted to share with you in case you need some encouragement today.

Dear Mrs.Stauffacher,

My teacher started reading your book DONUTHEAD and I think it is a magnificent book with tons of contradictions and laughs. You also came to our school (Whitehills Elementary 3-16-11) and I loved the story you told about Tille The Terrible. I remember you telling us you were going on a big bicycle trip which sounds really cool but you also mentioned you were scared so I want to tell you a story from my life.

I fell off my bike once while I was riding because something got caught in my spokes. I had a mild concussion and had to stay in the hospital for a night. After the 2 months of waiting I was pressured by my dad to get on my bike and ride. But I was terribly scared. I just pictured myself falling over and over again. But one day my curiousity got the better of me and I grabbed my bike and started riding. I fell a few times but I got right back up again. And soon biking was on my agenda again.
I hope my story motivates you to do well on your big trip in May!
From, Taylor