Home/Tag: Kathi Appelt

One Small Sentence

I want to tell you a small part of my experience of writing Angel Thieves. To a certain extent, all of my books feel a bit slippery as they come into being, but this one was like trying to walk a dozen cats on the ends of a dozen leashes. The various story lines kept getting tangled up and twisted. There were moments when I just wanted to toss it all, for sure. And just when I thought I had it in place, it slipped away again.

In fact, the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) is basically draft #38 out of maybe 52 drafts? (I stopped counting a year ago). Anyways, I made substantial changes to the manuscript after the ARC came out, so if you happen to have one, use it to study and show how a book can change from one draft to another, especially when it comes to the ending.

There are over fifty-thousand words at play here. It took me three years to get those words all arranged in just the right way. And yet . . .

Yet . . .

There was one sentence that just kept eluding me. One critical sentence. Only three words long.

It first occurs on page 83 when my young protagonist Cade has just come face to face with his biological mother for the first time. At six years old, the trauma of it was overwhelming and Cade did the only thing he could think to do—ducked into the bathroom and locked the door.

Minutes later, he hears his dad Paul on the other side of the door, who tells him the best words ever: “I’ll always be right here.” Of course, those are perfect words to say to a kid

The Angel Next to Me


Several years ago, we were decorating our annual tree when I pulled out a box that was stored next to the ornaments. In it were our sons’ baby shoes. Instead of neatly wrapping them back up, I decided that they needed a new life, and hung them on the tree.

Later, I added my own little shoe, along with Ken’s. As it turns out, they make perfect decorations, and looking at them reminds me about babies and families and also about all the steps we each take between the seasons, about how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.

Those shoes, along with the ornaments that we’ve collected over all these years together make our tree feel like our history together. So, we wrote this song to celebrate it, and now we’re passing it along to you, our kith and kin.

Not only do we have shoes, but over the past several years, my beloved friend and artist Joy Fisher Hein, has sent me a new “cat angel” each year. Here is one of my favorites.

Let it be merry, ya’ll!