Ten years ago author Nanci Turner Steveson found herself spending her days in an intensive care unit where her son was on life support. During that uncertain time, Steveson noted an indellible distraction. Every morning 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, which appeared to be one of his only possessions, and was surprised by its contents: books.
When her son gained enough strength to leave the ICU, she left the man with two books. He studied 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 what happened in the man’s life that forced him into homelessness.
That experience, and her own struggles securing stable housing for her family, compelled Steveson to focus her new children’s book, Lizzie Flying Solo, on how the depredations of homelessness affect children. It chronicles how one young girl’s life drastically changes after her father is arrested for embezzlement.
In light of the book’s recent award—Kirkus Reviews named it one of the Best Middle-Grade Books of 2019 Set in the Here and Now—KHOL brings you this recent interview with the children’s author.