It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/3/12

Jen and Kellee host a weekly meme called "What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA." It encourages you to share what you read during the previous week and to plan what you're going to read/review during the current week. Thank you, Kellee and Jen, for hosting this fun meme.

Last week, I interviewed four authors: Tammi Sauer, David Rubel, Donna Gephart, and Deborah Underwood.  

"Cutesy, Blinky, and Bob live at the zoo, where they dream of stardom. But does anyone pay attention to chipmunks? Noooo. All the zoo-goers are busy gawking at gorillas and clicking cameras at koalas. Oh, nuts! Something must be done. Something big." - Tammi Sauer.

Click here to read the full interview.

Mr. Schu: What planted the seed for The Carpenter’s Gift

David Rubel:
 The Carpenter’s Gift is actually my second book about Habitat for Humanity. The first was a middle-grade nonfiction work called If I Had a Hammer, which told the stories of the organization, the people who volunteer for it, and the people it serves. When I began writing that book, I knew very little about Habitat, so I had a lot of research to do. 

As a fan of the late George Plimpton, I’m usually inclined to adopt the role of participant-observer, but in this case I decided not to volunteer for Habitat while writing the book. I was concerned, correctly I still think, that if I volunteered, my experience would influence unconsciously the way I described the experiences of others. But I also decided that, once the book was done, I would volunteer; and I did just that, traveling to Thailand about the time the book was published to take part in the 2009 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. 

This is the best way I’ve found to describe that experience: Someone can tell you what a rollercoaster ride is like—and many people had indeed told me what to expect at a Carter build—but it’s never the same thing as taking the ride yourself. When I got back from Thailand, exhausted, I knew that I had something more to write about Habitat—something that wouldn't quite lend itself to nonfiction, because it was a feeling more than an idea.

I got back from Thailand just in time for Thanksgiving and spent the next several days dozing on the couch while my kids watched television. One night, they watched the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. I knew already from the research for my first book that Tishman Speyer, the owners of Rockefeller Center, had begun a tradition of donating the tree to Habitat. But that night it occurred to me that the tree could serve as the perfect symbol for the new story that I wanted to tell—one that used giving and receiving at holiday time as a metaphor for the interrelation of people occupying different stations in life. Everything else followed from that point. - 

Click here to read the full interview. 


Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the “unfortunate hula hoop incident,” but you’ll have to read Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen to discover what that’s all about.

And my web site, where I have FREE reading/activity guides, interviews with amazing industry professionals and a singing hamster video. 
-Donna Gephart 

Click here to read the full interview. 

Mr. Schu: The Quiet Book, The Loud Book, and The Christmas Quiet Book are three of the most adorable and delightful picture books. Renata Liwska’s pencil illustrations perfectly match and extend your phrases. Did you and Renata collaborate on how the characters would look? 

Deborah Underwood: Thank you so much! Nope, Renata is wholly responsible for the look of the adorable characters. In fact, when I wrote The Quiet Book, I imagined that the character would be a human kid—the same person throughout, since I thought that would make the book more cohesive. Thank goodness I let go of that idea!

Click here to read the full interview. 

M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton 


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