I’m just back from New York, where I was the guest of the New York Historical Society for their Historical Fiction book club.
|Me with fellow historical fiction lovers at the NYC Historical Soeiety|
I had a grand time with the young people and their families and a grand time re-visiting the Historical Society, where I spent many hours researching for an earlier book of mine, The Friendship Doll.
That book centers on the Ambassador Dolls, or Friendship Dolls, sent by the children of Japan to the children of this country in 1927, in hopes of improving relations between our two nations.
The book opens in New York city, with the presentation of five of the dolls at City Hall, an event presided over by then-Mayor Jimmy Walker. Research revealed that Miss Belle Wyatt Roosevelt—granddaughter of Teddy– was selected to accept one of the dolls on behalf of the children of America. Another snippet of research uncovered the fact that Belle was quite nervous and wobbled upon receiving the treasured token of friendship.
That detail was all it took for my writer’s mind to wonder “what if?” If you want to see how I spun that fact into fiction, check out The Friendship Doll for yourself. And be sure to do a little homework here to find out if your state was one of the lucky ones to have been gifted with a Friendship Doll way back when.
|Miss Miyazaki, presumed lost but uncovered after an intrepid librarian read
The Friendship Doll and was moved to search for her
|Miss Tokushima, Washington state’s Friendship Doll|
What a lovely idea: exchanging dolls between countries as as an assurance of friendship. I never knew about this.
I really need to find time to read this book. It sounds charming.