At philanthropist Emma Kaliterna’s library yearbook collection dedication in late April, attendees learned that an anonymous donor would be sponsoring annual children’s book author events in honor of her. Celebrating Children’s Book Week, the Santa Clara City Library hosted its inaugural Emma Kaliterna Author Event by inviting Jennifer Fosberry, a New York Times bestselling children’s writer, to visit the library on the evening of May 13. Fosberry’s books feature young and bright protagonists, Isabella and Alexander.
“I love Jennifer Fosberry’s books,” says Erin Ulrich, program coordinator of youth services at the library. “We hosted her years ago when her first book came out. Her books are fun. The illustrations are wonderful. There are nice, positive messages for girls in them.”
“I have a daughter named Isabella, and she had always wanted to be a princess,” Fosberry says. “But there aren’t that many jobs for princesses. So I wrote, ‘My Name Is Not Isabella,’ to show her real women role models who have changed the world, such as Rosa Parks, Annie Oakley, Marie Curie, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Isabella’s own mother. Mothers are also heroes.”
“The message of ‘My Name is Not Isabella’ is that you can be anything you want to be, and we sometimes forget to tell boys that,” Fosberry continues. “So I wrote ‘My Name is Not Alexander’ for my son and boys everywhere. In that book, [I write about] Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Chief Joseph, Fred Astaire, and Jackie Robinson. My son’s name is not Alexander though.”
Addressing a group of about 50 audience members, Fosberry talked about her background and read “Isabella: Star of the Story” and “My Name is Not Alexander” aloud. At the end of the evening, she grabbed a big, orange feather pen and signed books for fans. Each attending family received a complementary picture book written by Fosberry. The Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends generously purchased these books as gifts for the guests.