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Archive for the 'Kids’ Q&A' Category

Kids’ Q&A: Emily Winfield Martin

Describe your new book.
Oddfellow's Orphanage is a series of stories/vignettes that tell the tale of the newest arrival to a curious orphanage, a mute girl named Delia. Through her eyes, we meet the orphanage itself, as well as the kind, but unusual family that calls Oddfellow's home. This is all nestled into the form of an early chapter book, heavily illustrated throughout with graphite drawings. I love books like The Wind in the Willows, Winnie-the-Pooh, or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, books in which small interactions and adventures are collected together to create a larger sense of wonder and place. This is my hope for these stories, too.

What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
I'd like to befriend Nick and Nora Charles from Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, but they would probably be too quick-witted (even soused) for the likes of me. So I'll opt for P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves. Preferably embodied by Stephen Fry.

If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
I do think it would be awfully nice ...


Kids’ Q&A: Pseudonymous Bosch

Describe your latest book.
The fourth book in the Secret Series, This Isn't What It Looks Like, is the latest book I have had the bad judgment to write. As the title suggests, anything I say about the book — if indeed it really is a book — would amount to misdirection. Undoubtedly, it would be best that you not look at This Isn't What it Looks Like at all. If you persist in knowing more about it, however, I will admit that the book concerns the adventures of one character in the past, one character in the present, and the return of a character from a past book into the present one. There is also a magical monocle. A magnetic rock. And a lot of chocolate. Repeat this to no one. Or almost no one. Secretly, PB

If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
PB Or Not PB: Wait, What Was the Question?

Writers are better liars than other people: true or false? Why, or not?
True AND False: in my experience, authors learn ...


Kids’ Q&A: Emily Whitman

Describe your new book.
Wildwing is a tale of love, time travel, and the wisdom of following your heart. Fifteen-year-old Addy is pulled from school and set to work as a maid for an eccentric old man, but she knows there must be more to life. So when she enters a locked room and finds a time travel machine, she grabs her chance and runs away to the Middle Ages. There, she's found wandering amidst the splintered remains of a shipwreck, and mistaken for the young woman arriving to marry the lord of the castle. If Addy can play her part, she'll have the respect and riches she's always dreamed of. But soon she's falling in love with the falconer's son, and the castle has dangerous secrets of its own — secrets to which Addy holds the only key.

Why do you write books for kids?
I write YA because I want to write about transformation and having the guts to change; because teens insist on emotional honesty; because I like the pace and excitement of YA; because talking with ...


Kids’ Q&A: Tad Hills


Describe your new book.
How Rocket Learned to Read is my latest picture book. It tells the story of a dog named Rocket who discovers the exciting world of books and, with the help of a little yellow bird, learns to read.

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
I was browsing books at Bookcourt, my neighborhood bookstore in Brooklyn, and overheard an animated conversation between my friend Zack Zook, the proprietor, and an older man whom Zack addressed as "L. J." L. J. was excitedly telling Zack that one of his books had been recently added to the syllabus of a 20th-century American lit class at Stanford University (if I remember correctly).

After L. J. left the store, I got the scoop from Zack, who then handed me a copy of L. J. Davis's A Meaningful Life, written in 1971.

Introduce one other author/illustrator and suggest a good book by him/her.
Brian Floca. His book Moonshot is really beautiful and a must-read.

Is there a maxim or philosophy that you live by?
Be friendly.

What three things would you bring to ...


Kids’ Q&A: Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Describe your new book/project/work.
The Red Umbrella is a historical novel that follows 14-year-old Lucia from her carefree life in a small town in Cuba to an unknown future in the heart of Nebraska. The novel is based on the very real events that occurred from 1960 to 1962 when the parents of over 14,000 Cuban children made the difficult decision to send their children to the U.S., alone, because they feared the actions of Castro's communist government. This story strikes a personal chord with me because both my parents and my mother-in-law were part of this exodus of children, which later came to be known as Operation Pedro Pan.

What is your favorite family story?
There are really so many great stories in my family, from the inspirational (like the focus of my book) to the sitcom variety. I have often said we are a little bit like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding except everyone is speaking a mix of English and Spanish. Just like the movie, I have a very large extended family (my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, nieces, and nephews all get together for every major holiday and summer vacations... there are over 50 of us) and with that many people you're bound to have some hilarious moments.

One particularly funny story involved a church softball game in the small Southern town where I grew up. That day, my grandmother (who spoke no English) went with us to the ballpark and during the game started shouting "Linguine! Linguine!" I wondered why she was yelling about pasta and when I asked, she shrugged and said "that's what all the Americans are saying." I listened to the crowd and heard shouts of "Let's win it! Let's win it!" Baseball games and linguine have never been the same since then.


Kids’ Q&A: Deb Caletti

Describe your new book/project/work.
The Six Rules of Maybe is about a girl, Scarlet Hughes, who is always involving herself in the problems and messes of other people — her friends, her neighbors, her family members. When her sister (the beautiful and aloof Juliet) comes home pregnant and married to a sweet young guy whom she seems to have no real love for, everything changes. Scarlet finds herself falling hard for him, and now must look at her own life and her own needs for the first time. The book explores the snarls good people get into when they feel they need to rescue others. It asks: When is giving too much? When does helping others become an excuse for not claiming your life as your own?

Describe your most memorable teacher.
My most memorable teacher was Rich Campe, my third-grade teacher at Fairlands Elementary in Pleasanton, California. Rich was a bona fide Bay Area hippie. We tie-dyed curtains for our room and made our own film. We also did a lot of creative writing in his class. His remarks on my stories (which I'd write on purple notebook paper) were the sort of encouragement that could make you feel that maybe, possibly, you were on to something with the whole writing thing. Groovy! he'd scrawl at the top of the page. Far OUT! If anyone knows where Rich Campe is, please let me know so that I can heartily and sincerely thank him.


Kids’ Q&A: Julia Hoban

Describe your new book.
Willow is the story of a young woman, a seventeen year old girl, who loses her parents in a car accident, an accident for which she was responsible. She is so overcome with guilt, so isolated and alone, that she feels she has no other way to deal with her pain than by cutting herself.

Sounds pretty grim, I know. But while the above may be the bare bones of the plot, the themes that Willow explores are really not so dire. Willow is really about hope, about redemption, and above all, about the power of love to heal. Now, Willow is not the right book for everyone, no question, but I'd like to assure your readers who are a little... let's say, frightened by the sound of it, that many, many people have told me that they found it to be a very uplifting book, a very hopeful book, and above all a very romantic book.

What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
Sherlock Holmes. That's not to say I'd like him to be my friend so much as my mentor. I've always adored Sherlock (I made sure to pay homage to him in Willow) and as with so many readers, he actually seems real to me, he's possibly the most charismatic character in literature. Why would I like him to be my mentor? So he could teach me, of course! He was such a genius, and Conan Doyle was an even greater genius to have created him.


Kids’ Q&A: Betsy Snyder

Describe your new book/project/work.
Sweet Dreams Lullaby is my first self-authored picture book. It features a young bunny (inspired by my own pet bunny) being tucked into bed and invites sleepy toddlers to dream of comforting scenes from nature's bedtime. As the bunny snuggles in, the rest of the world readies for bed as well — eggs are wrapped in a nest, baby ducks take their baths, daddy frogs sing little ones to sleep, and "caterpillars in cocoons are tucked in tight beneath the moon." The rhyming text and soothing color palettes mimic the lyrical nature of lullabies and encourage children to think of happy thoughts and peaceful moments as they drift off to sleep.

What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
I would very much like to be friends with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (books by Betty MacDonald). She has always been one of my favorite characters because she reminds me of a more eccentric version of my own grandmother — playful, whimsical, silly, unconventional, friendly, good-natured, and always a child at heart.

What was your favorite story as a child?
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams was one of my favorites, and still is. What a beautiful message — I've always been especially fond of the conversation between the Rabbit and the Skin Horse concerning "What is REAL?"

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It changed at different phases, but I mostly wanted to be a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld, a soap opera writer, an Olympic ice skater, and yes, even an artist. Today, if I weren't making books for kids, I'd like to be a marine biologist and study whales. But I'm pretty sure if I was a marine biologist studying whales, I'd dream about being an artist.


Kids’ Q&A: Rebecca Stead

[Editor's Note: Rebecca Stead has won the 2010 Newbery Award for When You Reach Me. We're pleased to reprint her Kids' Q&A from last summer.]

Describe your new book.
When You Reach Me tells the story of sixth-grader Miranda, who comes home from school one day to find the door to her apartment unlocked. Nothing seems to be missing or out of place, but a few days later, Miranda finds her first note. It says: "...I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own." As the meaning of a series of mysterious communications comes slowly into focus, Miranda struggles to solve her own personal puzzles, such as who has stolen her spare apartment key and why her lifelong friend Sal has closed the door on their friendship.

Introduce one other author/illustrator you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
I think everyone should read William Maxwell's books. His words make my brain clang with excitement while my heart inflates with recognition. If you are going to read one William Maxwell book, it should be So Long, See You Tomorrow.


Kids’ Q&A: Jimmy Pickering

Describe your new book.
My latest project is the recently released book Skelly and Femur, a follow-up to Skelly the Skeleton Girl, released in 2007. In the book Skelly the Skeleton Girl, Skelly found a bone and tried to solve the mystery of where it came from. In Skelly and Femur, things have gone missing in Skelly Manor. Skelly's missing the buttons off her dress, her dog Femur is missing his bone, and it seems most of her friends are missing something, too. Why have so many things gone missing? That's the mystery waiting to be solved within the pages of Skelly and Femur.

What movie character is most like you?
I would choose Mikey from The Goonies: a total misfit who gave himself the title of a Goonie because of his misfit status, but who has a small cluster of close-knit friends whom he cares deeply about. Or maybe E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, a ...


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