25 Books to Read Before You Die

Kids' Q&A

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The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund

We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
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Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity

Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
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Kids' Q&A

T. A. Barron

Describe your new book.
I'm so happy that, at last, the Great Tree of Avalon trilogy is finished. Bringing out a new book is the closest thing to giving birth I ever get to experience...so I'm quite excited to give people the final volume.

This is a mythic journey, a fantasy epic involving the wondrous world tree Avalon. It's the last place in the universe where all kinds of people and all living creatures have lived together in harmony — until greed, arrogance, and otherworldly forces combine to cast Avalon into peril. Only three young people have a slim chance to save the world they love...which will require great heroism as well as surprising sacrifice. This is, foremost, an adventure tale. But it's also a parable about whether humanity can figure out how to live sustainably on our own world, Earth.

If you could be someone else, who would that be, and why?
Merlin. He was a wizard in the truest, deepest sense. He understood human frailties and weaknesses, as well as our highest ideals and aspirations. And on top of that, he knew how to live backward in time!

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Kashi multi-grain. I like it with maple syrup.

Do you have a favorite line from another author?
"The fate of this man or that was less than a drop, although it was a sparkling one, in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea." That's from the very last page of The Once and Future King by T.H. White.

What was your favorite story as a child?
I loved the biography of Wilma Rudolph — how she conquered polio, poverty, and racism to walk, then run, then become an Olympic champion. It just amazed me that a girl who couldn't even walk found the courage and perseverance to become the fastest woman in the world. She did what mythic heroes do, but even better: What she did was true.

What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving. I love that it's all about one simple thing: gratitude. No commercial frenzy. Just being grateful for family, friends, health, nature, and life.

What do you do for relaxation?
Go outside! I live on a farm near Boulder, Colorado, so it's easy to run, bicycle, or hike on nearby trails. If I'm really lucky, some of our energetic kids are around to join me.

Why do you write for kids?
Actually, I write for the child in myself. The child in us all retains a sense of wonder, a ready humor, and a desire to explore the whole wide universe. Kids have the freshness, honesty, and creativity to imagine a new life... or a new world. spacer

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