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Sock it to me: Crazy socks abound at American Book Review event

By APRILL BRANDON
Sept. 23, 2010 at 4:23 a.m.
Updated Sept. 24, 2010 at 4:24 a.m.

At a mother-daughter reception at Trinity Episcopal Church on Thursday evening, American Book Review guest author Diana Lopez, top, shares her young-adult book "Confetti Girl" with a host of admirers - all wearing zany socks. Guests are, clockwise from next to Lopez,  Daisy Hudson, DeeDee Hudson, Rachel Johnson, Cheryl Johnson, Amber Romano, Klarissa Zamora, Paula Cobler, Nicole Cobler and Gianna Grace Hudson.

UPCOMING ABR SPEAKERSOct. 21: Amelia Gray, author of recently published book "Museum of the Weird"

Nov. 4: Ann Weisgarber, author of "The Personal History of Rachel DuPree"

Dec. 2: E. Ethelbert Miller, literary activist and author of "In Search of Color Everywhere"

Art often imitates life. So when writer and new University of Houston-Victoria professor Diana Lopez started writing her first young adult novel, "Confetti Girl," she drew from her own experiences as a former middle school teacher to give voice to her young protagonist.

Throughout the book, the main character, Lina, wears crazy socks to express herself. This quirk was something Lopez picked up from her own students when her school district switched to uniforms.

"Of course, the students resisted the idea of uniforms; they wanted to be individuals. So they found ways around the rules. There was nothing in the policy about socks and so the girls started wearing these wild, crazy socks and the boys would wear crazy shoelaces," Lopez, who was the featured speaker for the American Book Review, said. "I always wanted to bring that into my book."

After Lopez's noon-time speech for the reading series at the University of Houston-Victoria, a special Mother-Daughter reception was held Thursday night at Trinity Episcopal Church where the only dress code policy was wacky socks were highly encouraged.

Laura Rosales brought her two stepdaughters out to the event to meet Lopez and get copies of "Confetti Girl" signed.

"They just got the books today, so they're really looking forward to reading them and getting to talk to the author on a one-on-one basis," she added.

"The book sounds cool," 9-year-old Amber Romano chimed in. "And it's cool that I can talk to the author. I never got to do that before."

The reception was a fitting event for Lopez, especially considering it was her own parents, while not writers or big readers themselves, who inspired her career path.

"We learn what we are exposed to. Children pick up what they are exposed to. My house didn't have a lot of books, and my parents weren't avid readers, but they exposed me to so many things in other ways," Lopez said.

Those other ways include her dad letting her tag along on his fishing trips, where she learned patience and the importance of paying attention.

Her mother taught her how to sew, which taught her three very important things that have stayed with her to this day.

"My mom told me three things in regards to sewing: If you start something, finish it. If you do something, do it right. And if you make a mistake, fix it," she added. "I apply those lessons to my writing. And in the same way that sewing is about imagining the future and then bringing it to life by sewing, so is writing. We imagine something and then make it real by writing."

Lopez is also the author of the adult novel "Sofia's Saints," which was published in 2002.

The Corpus Christi native began teaching English at the University of Houston-Victoria this semester.

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