In this guest post, author Crystal Hubbard shares how her interest in careers and stories led her to write about people who inspire others to pursue their own dreams. Marvelous Mabel: Figure Skating Superstar is available wherever books are sold.
I wanted to be a trash picker when I was nine years old. I wanted to stroll through the park, using a stick with a point on the end to stab litter and scrape it into a big sack at my side. I thought there was no better job than one where you could spend the entire day in the sun, listening to children playing and birds singing, watching dogs chase Frisbees, and being able to read in the shade of a big old tree during your lunch break.
I loved reading. As I got older, the more I read, the farther I strayed from my very first career choice. Books allowed me to set myself in the lives of others, fictional and nonfictional. Reading opened up more possibilities than I could ever count.
But then I turned twelve, and after reading all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about Sherlock Holmes, I decided I’d rather be a detective. I wanted to solve the unsolvable mysteries bedeviling law enforcement, grieving widows, and husbands whose spouses were missing. I bought a huge magnifying glass and examined my siblings’ belongings. I colored their fingers with El Marko permanent markers to take down their fingerprints. I planted candy around the house, hoping someone would snatch it so I could solve the whodunit.
By age fifteen, I was heavily influenced by Lupin, the “Gentleman Thief” of French literature. I was determined to become the world’s greatest cat burglar. I wanted to be so slick and clever, I’d confound even the great Sherlock Holmes with my feats of daring.
Every one of my ever-changing career aspirations resulted from the books I read. I loved reading. I loved stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things and stories of extraordinary people who did ordinary things. By the time I was sixteen, I knew what I really wanted to do with my life.
I wanted to tell stories.
Every person one meets—the trash picker in the park, the child playing at detective, the teenager dreaming of pilfering crown jewels—is a story. There are as many stories in the world as there are people who’ve ever lived, who are living now, and who will come to live. For someone who loves reading as much as I do, I look forward to all those stories!
I write about people whose stories inspire others to follow their own hearts and to pursue their own dreams. A girl who wanted to play professional baseball. A jockey who thrived in the sport of kings all over the world. A tennis player who was as much a champion off the court as on. A figure skater who refused to let prejudice dim her star quality.
My story is that of a storyteller. It is my hope that the stories I bring into the light show young readers that they can craft their own stories. I want them to close my books after reading them, knowing that there are no obstacles they can’t overcome to make their dreams real.
Praise for Marvelous Mabel: Figure Skating Superstar:
“Fans of the Winter Olympics, strong female characters, and underdog stories will flock to this title.” —Booklist
“An account of a sports pioneer that should be widely read and shared.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Perseverance lies at the center of this affecting biography.” —Publishers Weekly
“Every twist and turn is captured and the movement is dynamic in this book; a pleasure to read and to share.” —School Library Journal
Order a copy:
Lee & Low
Barnes & Noble
. . . or from your favorite Black-owned bookshop!
Crystal Hubbard is a sports buff and full-time writer. Her children’s books have received honors such as Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year and ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project. Hubbard lives in Missouri with her husband and their four children.