Search on SLJ.com ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Back to WIP

Over the Year We Heard From Several Authors Whose Work Was In Progress, But Not Published. Here is an Update from Mary Bowman-Kruhm. Other Authors Please Get In Touch.

After describing my book-in-progress last April, I thought some readers might be interested at the turn I’m taking on a proposed middle grade book about Jackson, a Kenyan Maasai. I believe Kenny Rogers’s "Gambler" song continues to have a message for writers. It’s not time for me to fold because I’m holding some aces, but it is time to consider what to throw away and what to keep.
I sent the original proposal to two publishers and was turned down, but I wasn’t crushed because I myself felt a need for revision. Plus several friends whose opinions I respect pointed out that the book was not directly connected to state middle school standards. Asking help from others and listening to my gut aren’t easy and I suspect the same is true for many of us introverted souls who have a good idea but trouble moving it forward. 
A variety of considerations are sending me in a new direction. With tons of great research material sitting on both real and virtual desktops, I now feel the book should move to YA and have given it the working title Kenya Today: Best of Both Worlds, the story of average Kenyans in their struggle to defend their heritage, protect wildlife, and concurrently move Kenya forward. I will still focus on the story of Jackson Minteeng Liaram, a Maasai herdsman who also guides tourists fascinated by the world’s wildest show of wildlife, but I will also profile others whom I interviewed during my March trip to Kenya:
·    An East African guide who is Luo by tribe and originally from Kendu Bay, where Barack Obama’s Luo grandparents live; a founder of Kenya Self-Help Project to educate and empower young women, a major step toward prevention of AIDS.
·   The manager of a camp that is a model for eco-tourism in Kenya’s vast Masai Mara Game Reserve.
·   The Chief Safari Guide, ethnically Kalenjin, for a large company that manages many camps in the Mara.
Although still intended as a trade book, I hope–no, believe–this book will be of high interest to young people interested in the country of President-elect Obama’s roots, will support the current thrust by schools for informational books that focus on story, and will address state science and social studies standards.
Good news or bad, I’ll stay in touch! Input invited.