Listening to the Spirit: stories of history and reconciliation

Writing and illustrating The Unbreakable Code

Researching And Writing a Children's Book about the Navajo Code Talkers remains one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. More than any project I've been involved in before or since, a unity of spirit among writer, artist, and our subject seemed to propel and protect the creative process, no matter what the obstacle. The privilege of chronicling the quiet strength and modesty of these World War II veterans has truly been a "gift that keeps on giving."

Six years after the book's launch, the illustrator, Julie Miner, and I are still frequently invited to schools to share what we learned on the Navajo Reservation. Just recently, on September 24, I joined other authors as a guest of the Mayor of New York during the city's annual book week and presented The Unbreakable Code to the city's public schools.

Illustrating the Navajo way
October 7, 2002

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