I just learned that children’s author Andrea Cheng passed away in December 2015. She was probably best known for her Anna Wang books-a series about a Chinese American girl and her family. I loved her books and her writing style. Something about the way she wrote strikes a sweet, simple chord in my heart whenever I re-read her books. She had a lifelong fan the minute I started reading The Year of the Book.
I was lucky enough to meet Andrea on the Super Shuttle en route to my TLA hotel. Besides the driver, we were the only passengers on the van that day so it’s not improbable that she struck up a conversation. As soon as I learned her name I am not ashamed to say that I fangirled left and right over her. It is so hard to believe that, during that van ride, I learned so much about her and her family. She was so kind and personable, that I was not surprised she was able to create such genuinely authentic characters. I have had the privilege of meeting several authors over the years, but I must say that, for all my fangirling, I didn’t feel nervous or awkward around her. She was just so easy to be with. It is definitely my most favorite Super Shuttle ride ever!
During the conference, I was sure to make time to visit Andrea during her booth signing. I was so humbled when she told me that, since this was her first Texas Library Conference (it may have been her first Library conference ever), she wasn’t sure how it was going to go.
She went on to say that she was having a great time and part of it she attributes to our meeting on the Super Shuttle. She said something along the lines of it being a wonderful conference and that she believed that it got off to a great start because of our visit on that van.
I regret that I never kept in better touch with Andrea. I have, even within the last few months, thought about sending her a quick hello, but I never followed through. I regret that I never sent her the pictures that we took together, or a picture of my kiddos with the book that she signed for them. I regret that I never told her how much I loved The Year of the Baby. Right now I’m feeling beyond blessed that I, not only had the chance to meet this wonderful woman, but that I was able to tell her how very much her work meant to me. Thank you for all your work, Andrea Cheng. Every time I read your books, my world shines a little bit brighter. I’m honored and glad that I met you.