Yearly, I attend book events. Especially children and young adult book events. One evening, I attended an event at the New School without doing my research. I just showed up to listen to the different authors and illustrators read from their stories.
I sat in the back and kept my eye on the time. It was a weekday and I had work the next morning.
That night Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell were given the National Book Award for Young People Literature.
That night, I was completely mesmerized by Joh Lewis’ speech. His voice coming over the podium was so strong. I’ve been to many book events but this one by far was the first one that brought me to a special place. The voice said church, family, country, past, present, future. In a way it even said me.. I sat upright and looked at the program again.
Is that John Lewis? The one who marched with King?
To sit in his presence at that moment in time was a gem.
When he finished speaking, the entire house stood up and clapped and clapped.
I didn’t even know he was sharing his story via graphic novels.
After the event, he stood around shaking hands and speaking to the book lovers. Everyone stood around outside talking in the autumn breeze. Of course, the man of the hour was John Lewis. Young people listened to him and revenced him.
Thank You, I said to him before he signed my book and then again afterwards.
I’m grateful God allowed me time and space to share my gratitude with the Civil Rights leader while he was alive. Even if all I could think of saying was, Thank You.