Ten years ago author Nanci Turner Steveson found herself spending her days in an intensive care unit where her son was on life support. Every morning at 6 o’clock, a man would appear, pour himself a cup of coffee and leave. Steveson observed his skinny frame. He used a string to hold his pants up. One day she watched him drop his backpack… it was full of books. So when her son gained enough strength to leave the ICU, she left the man with two books. He looked at the books and handed her back one of them, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. “Thanks, but I already read this one,” he said.
Steveson was struck by that.
She wondered about the man’s story and what happened in his life that forced him into homelessness. It was among the experiences that compelled Steveson to focus her new children’s book, Lizzie Flying Solo, on homelessness. In the book, 12-year-old Lizzie and her mother lose their home after Lizzie’s dad is arrested for embezzlement. Lizzie and her mom find themselves in a homeless shelter and Lizzie soon begins dreaming about a pony that arrives to a teaching stable near the shelter. As she dreams about the pony, a difficult new reality surfaces.
Nanci Turner Steveson hosts a book launch for Lizzie Flying Solo 6 p.m. April 16 at Jackson Hole Book Trader.