Eileen Spinelli
Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli is the author of more than fifty children’s picture books and novels, including Now It Is Winter, Jonah’s Whale, and her latest title from Eerdmans: When No One Is Watching.

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When I was ten I dressed up in my cousin Joni’s prom gown. I cut a picture of a microphone out of a magazine. I stood in front of my mirror. I sang sultry songs into the paper microphone.

Alone. In my room. With the door shut.

Because I was shy.

Lots of kids are just as shy as I was. It’s for them — and for my own ten-year-old self — that I wrote When No One Is Watching.

When people’s eyes were on me . . . I leaned like a bean against the wall. But when they turned away, I could be a regular diva.

When No One Is Watching
When No One Is Watching

I was always bolder in a zoo. I actually wanted the animals to notice me. I considered it a great compliment when the llama came over for a closer look. It’s not by accident that the shy heroine of When No One Is Watching enjoys visiting the zoo.

And then there is friendship, which also plays a prominent role in the book. There’s something about being with a friend that makes us braver — even when others are watching. It’s why “together” is one of my favorite words.

I’m still a little shy. But when no one is watching . . .

I dance. In the laundry room. With the door shut.

Click to order Eileen Spinelli’s When No One Is Watching, illustrated by David A. Johnson.