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Kids' Q&A

Rosanne Parry

Describe your latest project.
Heart of a Shepherd: With his father deployed to Iraq, sixth grader Ignatius — who goes by Brother — promises to keep the ranch running perfectly in the hope that it will bring his father safely home. A year of hardship brings changes to the ranch and also reveals the man Brother is meant to become.

  1. Heart of a Shepherd
    $15.99 New Hardcover add to wishlist

    Heart of a Shepherd

    Rosanne Parry
    "This first novel is an unassuming, transcendent joy." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "A true evocation of modern ranch life, a life rooted in community and love, a life seldom written about with such grace and authenticity." Molly Gloss, finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

  2. Daddy This is a book that revels in the excitement of a young child welcoming Daddy home at the end of his day. Here's a sturdy little book with whimsical illustrations that evoke the precious hours that many fathers share with their children each evening.
Introduce one other author/illustrator you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
Graham Salisbury has written many wonderful books set in Hawaii. I love the richness of the setting, the way he captures the voices of his multi-ethnic characters, and the boy-appeal of his stories. One of my favorites is Blue Skin of the Sea. His last book, Night of the Howling Dogs, is a great adventure/survival story.

What is your favorite literary first line?
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds...." —William Shakespeare

Do you read the Sunday funnies, and which are your favorites?
Not being an early riser, the funnies are usually long gone by the time I get to the breakfast table. Fortunately, I have a house full of comics-lovers who will come read me the good parts. My all-time favorite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes.

What is your idea of bliss?
I would love to take a whole year off work and take my family on a trip around the world.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At first, I was going to be a dolphin and then I was going to be a falcon. Once I digested the rather depressing news about the permanence of species, I decided to be a circus flyer. I have trained for this throughout my life by climbing as many trees as possible.

Why do you write books for kids?
There is nothing at stake when you write for grown-ups. They already know how to read. With child readers, you have that stretch of six or seven years between the time they can read on their own and when they enter high school. If they haven't found a character they love or a book that really speaks to them by then, they will not become adult readers. Literacy doesn't just come from good instruction; it comes from good literature.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Historical friendships have always intrigued me. How much of our early American history was founded on the friendships and rivalries of a relatively small circle of men? I love it that two of my favorite authors from childhood, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, were friends. I'm fascinated that Clara Schumann apparently managed, inspired, advised, and financially supported both her husband and childhood friend, the composer Robert Schumann, and their friend Johannes Brahms. I also love it that Clara is the one who appeared on the Deutsche Mark and not the more famous men in her life.

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The stark beauty of eastern Oregon and the shared purpose of the ranching community made a lasting impression on Rosanne Parry. She found a similar rapport among the military families she knew when her husband was deployed to Iraq. She now lives in an old farmhouse in Portland, Oregon, with bunnies and chickens and her husband and four kids.


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