Hello, Gary Schmidt! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! Thank you for stopping by to share the cover for Pay Attention, Carter Jones! Who is Carter Jones?
Gary Schmidt: First things first: Thank you for having me back!
Carter Jones is a sixth grade kiddo who has lost a lot—in fact, at the beginning of the novel, he doesn’t even know how much he has lost. But he’s smart, hopeful, not too awful to his sisters, and he loves baseball. And he’s been to the Blue Mountains of Australia!
I love James Lancett’s colorful cover illustration. Please tell us about a few of the objects featured on the cover.
Gary Schmidt: It’s a great cover, not at all what I expected—which is why authors—or at least, this author—isn’t generally consulted about the cover. There is, mysteriously enough, a cricket bat (instead of a baseball bat), and army goggles and a marble—not to mention the wide-eyed dog and the curious shoes that are at the very bottom of the cover. He’s taken things that are about to be very important in Carter’s life and mixed them all together—which is, of course, how we live much of our lives: everything mixed together. It’s brilliant!
What three words best describe Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick?
Gary Schmidt: Arrogant. Gentlemanly. Complicated.
Please finish these sentence starters:
Carter’s family is in trouble, no one more than Carter himself.
School libraries are the salvation of the world—and I am not being hyperbolic at all.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me whether I play cricket or not. Or whether there is any character in the novel that appeared in another novel. Or why this one took so very long to write. Or whether I’ve ever been to the Blue Mountains of Australia. (I have.)