In November, artist David Walker visited Japan on invitation from our Japanese publisher. Candlestick editor Sarah Ketchersid joined the group for signings at three large bookstores, two in Tokyo and one in Osaka. Large audiences enjoyed extensive displays of the series and boxed sets of the little stuffed bears from the books, as well as meeting the artist. It's so exciting to see all this happen as a result of watching my granddaughter Elizabeth as a not-quite-three year old playing with bears and stuffed animals during a visit to a bookstore all those years ago.
The bears are now in several Scandinavian countries, as well. I'm thrilled that Candlewick sent me copies of toddler-size Bears in Beds and Bears in the Bath published in Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian languages. I hope the bears are welcomed to those countries with the enthusiasm shown by child readers in Japan.
I'm thrilled that the Japanese publisher of my bears series has bought translation rights to Ship of Dolls and to Dolls of Hope (Candlewick 2015). He plans to tie publication next spring to the 70th anniversary of the ending of the war in the Pacific. I'm deeply touched that he believes Lexie's story will help express to young readers his company's wish for world friendship and peace. Writing can surprise and delight, but this is an unexpected honor.