When Tim Wadham calls, I listen
I had no idea where Puyallup was. I’d never even heard of it. And when I found out, it did not shoot to the top of my must-visit list. After all, nearby was Seattle —home of the Space Needle and Waterfront Park, Chihuly Garden & Glass, Olympic Sculpture Park, and the Seattle Public Library — all places I’d been wanting to spend time.
But, uh, Puyallup?
Then I got a pitch from Dr. Tim Wadham, the Puyallup Public Library’s director.
I am an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 30 books. My calendar is packed. But when Tim Wadham calls, I listen.
Why? Because over the past 15 years I have worked with Tim many times, and have gotten to know him not just as a library director, or book enthusiast, but as a person. Tim Wadham is an outstanding human being. He’s smart, enthused, invested, and courageous. He thinks in broad strokes and bold colors. He dares to imagine. And then he rolls up his sleeves and gets the job done.
Tim shared his vision for the 2014 Puyallup Book Festival. He got me excited to be part of what promised to be a Festival Beyond Compare. I then spread the word. I talked up Puyallup on social media, at speaking engagements across the country, and at conferences. Puyallup was now on my map, and I put it on others’.
I’ve followed the drama of Tim’s firing. I’ve read the articles. I’ve viewed the city council videos online. I am shocked and distraught and in a state of disbelief. Of course I’m aware that Tim’s a little quirky. But look at extraordinary people in history — you won’t find many who were not.
At the core of many of my books for young people is an underdog — someone with a good heart and a lot to offer who is misunderstood by his peers.
In the ring of cities surrounding Seattle, Puyallup looks to be an underdog. Well, inside your city is a man who has done a remarkable job of promoting you, defending you, and shining a light on you, and right now he’s being beaten up and beaten down. Is that okay with you? Can you just look on and watch it happen?
Puyallup, stand up — Tim Wadham is worth fighting for.
Wendelin Van Draanen
San Luis Obispo, Calif.