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When I was ten I dressed up in my cousin Joni’s prom gown. I cut a picture of a microphone out of a magazine. I stood in front of my mirror. I sang sultry songs into the paper microphone.
Alone. In my room. With the door shut.
Because I was shy.
Lots of kids are just as shy as I was. It’s for them — and for my own ten-year-old self — that I wrote When No One Is Watching.
When people’s eyes were on me . . . I leaned like a bean against the wall. But when they turned away, I could be a regular diva.
I was always bolder in a zoo. I actually wanted the animals to notice me. I considered it a great compliment when the llama came over for a closer look. It’s not by accident that the shy heroine of When No One Is Watching enjoys visiting the zoo.
And then there is friendship, which also plays a prominent role in the book. There’s something about being with a friend that makes us braver — even when others are watching. It’s why “together” is one of my favorite words.
I’m still a little shy. But when no one is watching . . .
I dance. In the laundry room. With the door shut.
Click to order Eileen Spinelli’s When No One Is Watching, illustrated by David A. Johnson.