July 9th, 2009

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the last two weeks, we’ve been celebrating the launch of Albert’s Borris’s amazing novel Crash Into Me. When we embarked on this project, we had hopes that readers of this blog would take notice of Albert’s book. What we didn’t anticipate was just how quickly and intensely word would spread about our efforts and that we would soon be seeing posts about Albert on news-zines like MediaBistro, Boing Boing, and today the on-line version of the New Yorker. I think all of us at 2K9 are awed by just how much outreach and interest there has been in Albert, and how many children’s authors, editors, agents, bloggers, and publicists have banded together to help a single very charismatic author present his work of art to the world.  We really need to thank everyone involved for this. You are wonderful.

I’ve been a fan of Albert Borris even before I read Crash Into Me, ever since he introduced himself as the co-president of our group before his stroke. He was a tactful leader and managed to resolve some of our creative differences while simultaneously bringing us closer together.

I think the themes of Crash Into Me speak to how a group of diverse people can work together to initiate positive transformation and little miracles like the huge media attention we saw take place over the last few days. The characters in Crash Into Me struggle , but find ways to co-exist and thrive. I admire the psychological realism and metaphoric quality of Albert’s main character Owen, a boy who is continually waking up to the world after bursts of sleep. I look forward to meeting Albert face to face this week at Anderson's Book Store in Naperville, Illinois. We plan on presenting excerpts from Crash Into Me here and at Constellation Books in Maryland where 2K9ers will also be gathering to sign and present their own books.

Finally, I think Crash Into Me will make a great addition to a class I plan to teach this fall on Young Adult literature. Anyone else interested in using Crash Into Me in their classroom can download a teacher guide written by Albert from this site.

Here are some more thoughts about Crash Into Me from other 2K9ers.

I think what makes Crash Into Me edgy is the intense experiences these kids have had, the frightening, yet real way they decide to deal with it, and Albert’s lack of fear in facing it head on. It’s such a beautiful novel.--Cheryl Renee Herbsman author of Breathing

I could certainly see using this in a guidance classroom – or even studying this in health – it would get a lot more attention from the students than statistics and suicide prevention lectures.—Donna St. Cyr author of Secrets of The Cheese Syndicate

 What a fabulous book and SO many topics for teens to talk about!!!!--Beverly Patt Author of Haven

 Albert doesn't take the easy road of exploring who is to blame for the pain these teens are experiencing. That ground has been covered in other books. Albert takes the much more challenging and far more interesting road. He has his characters make choices, not wise choices often, but big-hearted ones and in the choosing--in the living that comes with those choices, they find an answer for their pain. Powerful, both in literary terms and in terms of the real lives of hurting teenagers.--Rosanne Parry author of Heart of a Shepherd

 Please add your thoughts about his exciting book to this blog. Consider joining us in Maryland or Chicago. We would love to hear from you. In the meantime “Go Albert!!!!!”





You asked how Albert was doing these days, so we are posting:

An Interview with Betty Borris, Albert’s wife


2k9: Tell us a little about Albert’s stroke and his road to recovery.


Betty: Albert had a very serious stroke that left him completely paralyzed and without speech. He has made a complete physical recovery, with only occasional fatigue in one arm. He’s back to doing the in-line skating he loves, as well as swimming and working out at the gym. His speech is coming back slowly. It’s a time thing. He could be fully recovered in two years. Right now, Albert is in Chicago at an intensive Speech Camp, to help jump-start that speech recovery process.


2k9: What has been the most difficult part of this for Albert? For you? Has it taught you anything?


Betty: Well, for Albert, it’s been the frustration of not being able to communicate. I mean, here’s a guy whose whole life is about communication – he’s a teen counselor and a writer. So he has all these thoughts in his head but can’t communicate them. At first the only word he could say was ‘when’. He’d use different intonations – when? When! When…Of course he didn’t really mean ‘when’ but that’s how the brain recovers.


The other hard part for him was losing his independence and having to rely on others for his basic needs (especially at the beginning). Someone asked him the other day what this experience has taught him and he said, “Slow down!” And that’s really true.


For me, the hardest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is asking others for help. Both Albert and I are fiercely independent individuals and having to ask others to help made me feel like a failure. But now I’ve learned, it’s karma – we’ve helped others (Betty is a doctor) and now it’s our turn to let others help us. I’m not a particularly religious person but I do believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. A friend of mine said, “yeah but don’t you wish He didn’t have so much faith in you?” (laughs)


2k9: You recently had a fundraiser for Albert. Can you tell us about that?


Betty: Sure. You know, so many people offered to help in any way they could. Albert has made a tremendous impact on the kids in our community and the parents know that. He tells the kids, “I’m not a counselor that helps you get into college, I’m the one that keeps you out of jail. I’m the one that keeps you or your friends from doing something stupid!” So, people were coming out of the woodwork to offer their help, most of them bringing food because that’s what we people do. My freezer was packed and I finally had to tell them to stop, which is terrible because they want to help. We decided to have a benefit to raise money to send Albert to Speech Camp in Chicago. Finally, here was a way for all those people to show Albert their support. The Friends of Albert Borris Fundraiser was held at a local recreation center with an arcade, in-line skating, a big indoor soccer field. Albert signed 100 copies of his book – we ran out and I had to order 40 more. Simon and Schuster donated a bunch of YA books, others sold handmade quilts. There were prizes and raffles. It was great.

2k9: That sounds awesome. One last question – how has Albert’s stroke affected his standing with his agent and his publisher?

Betty: Both Andrea and Anika have been extremely supportive. Neither are not pushing him in any way. All they want is for Albert to focus on getting better. That’s it. They both just want him to get better, however long it takes. And that’s wonderful.