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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us

Our title is, of course, a problem. "Why Literature Can Save Us." And of course the problem is one of definition: what those words mean. What is... Continue »
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    Before, During, After

    Richard Bausch 9780307266262

Interviews | Today, 10:19am

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Interview

David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
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    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677


Kids' Q&A

Helen Wilbur

Describe your new book.
I just finished Z Is for Zeus: A Greek Mythology Alphabet. Some of the best websites for Greek mythology are constructed by school kids, so mythology is a vital part of the curriculum. Mythology connects us to everyday themes and elements in our current culture as well as to history.

  1. M Is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Alphabets)
    $6.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

Describe your most memorable teacher.
Miss Anna Collins taught junior high English in New England according to educational principles popularized in the 19th century. She was very small, immaculately dressed, a strict disciplinarian and always wore a hat and gloves to school. She made us memorize a stanza of poetry for every class. I can still remember many of the verses I learned over 40 years ago. While her poetry choices were old fashioned, she was ahead of her time in conservation. To save paper and taxpayer money, she gave us the teeniest pieces of paper — like little post it notes — to write out our exercises, poems and spelling words. Her lessons instilled a great foundation in English grammar and a love of poetry. No one ever forgot Miss Collins.

What was your favorite story as a child?
As a very young child I loved The Secret Garden. I just read it again last month and found it as engaging as ever. I first read Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre when I was twelve and have read it many times since. I love Jane — her courage, strength and tenderness always move me.

What do you do for relaxation?
Cook, read, and walk.

What is your idea of bliss?
Sitting on my deck in New Hampshire with a good book, feeding the birds and chipmunks.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always wanted to be a writer.

Why do you write books for kids?
The great thing about writing for kids is that it connects you to readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents read to their children, older children read to their younger brothers and sisters. How else can you reach so many readers? As an author of children's books to get an opportunity to engage the whole family — this case, including the cats!

It's fun to write the combination of verse and text in the Sleeping Bear Press books. Kids love verse — the rhythm and rhyme engage children and the text gives them further information on the topic.

Kids spend so much time with technology these days and that's great. BUT it's so meaningful to be connected to books and the printed word. USA Today reported on a study on early childhood learning that examined the "baby genius" trend, the purchase of expensive toys and classes to insure your baby's high intelligence. They found that all that expensive stuff had less of an impact than actually reading to your child.

Tell us about your pets.
Two cats — Rupert and the Itty Bitty — share my New York apartment a few blocks from Times Square. Itty Bitty is a tiny, dark brown Burmese who at 15 is still feisty and playful. Her domain is my desk where she monitors the printer and fax machine to chew up anything she doesn't like. We recently rescued 5-year-old Rupert from a shelter. He was the oldest (and largest) cat there. He leapt into my lap and wouldn't let me leave without him. He's the color of butterscotch and likes to watch television. They are both excellent sleepers.

What's your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving gets everyone in the family together around a great meal. What could be better than that? In our family, football is also a large component of Thanksgiving.

Make a question of your own, then answer it.
I have written a new poem that I would like to share. It sums up how we feel about our feline friends. For all you cat lovers out there it's called:

One Cat

One cat's unto himself complete
He owns the house, the yard, the street.
He lives a life alone, apart.
He's still enough to steal your heart. spacer

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