The Hotel Between by Sean Easley

Hello, Sean Easley! Happy Thursday!

Sean: Hello, Mr. Schu!

Thank you for dropping by to chat with me about The Hotel Between, your parents, school libraries, and story. 

I wrote the words in purple, and Sean wrote the words in black. Thank you, Sean! 

The Hotel Between tells the story of a kid who’s afraid of everything and gets thrust into a big world that’s full of wonder and danger (or, as the book calls it, “terrors and treasures"). The book’s about a boy worries when he should be enjoying his kidhood, and who needs to learn that it’s okay to take risks, because that’s what life is. There’s magic in the world, and kids can’t enjoy all those wonders the world has to offer without taking the leap and trying new things, meeting new people, and discovering how much they don’t know.

Twins Cam and Cass couldn’t be more different. Cass is confident and sees the opportunities the world has to offer her, while Cam (wrongly) weighs himself down with responsibilities that don’t belong to him. They’re both kids—still learning how to navigate their own developing personalities—and they both have a lot to learn.

This is especially true of Cam, who’s struggling with feeling responsible for things that are out of his control. His wrong thinking—about the world, about his sister (who he thinks he needs to protect, even though she knows better)—is a driving force for his growth and the mishaps they encounter along the way. Cass’s confidence and Cam’s lack of confidence in the idea that good things can happen is a driving force in the story.

Did you know that my parents were both teachers? My dad taught sciences, and my mom taught foreign languages (Spanish, German). My whole experience growing up was shaped by the fact that I was always in schools (and libraries), and my mom’s love of languages translated into me loving global culture and reading.

School libraries are the heart and soul of lifelong learning. Classrooms are wonderful for teaching specific information and skills, but it’s in the freedom of the library that kids learn how big the world really is, and can discover the capacity they have to do things they never even dreamed of. Libraries let kids discover knowledge and skills and personality traits that set them apart onto their own paths, and aid in developing unique skillsets and worldviews that allow them to innovate and create as grow into adulthood.

Story is key to understanding people. Everyone has a story that gives texture to who they are and defines how they see the world. When kids learn story—and when they engage in stories that are new and from many different perspectives—they grow in empathy and wisdom. Knowledge can come from many sources, but wisdom is hard to instill apart from story.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about where the magic of The Hotel Between came from! I’ve always had a tumultuous relationship with magic systems in books because they feel so disconnected from the character arcs and what the protagonist is learning. I decided very early in the process of writing The Hotel Between that I wanted this magic to be inseparable from the emotions and deep truths my characters were learning. The magic in The Hotel Between does have physical manifestations—like binding doors between places in the world and gluing one thing to another—but it’s so much more than that. It’s the magic of family, and friendships, and dependence on one another. The magic of commitment, and the power people hold over each other, and the need for love. The binding (the magic of this book) is intrinsically personal, and I love seeing those personal wins turned into something spectacular.

Look for The Hotel Between on September 4, 2018. 


Popular Posts