A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

Hello, Amy Rebecca Tan! Thank you for celebrating A Kind of Paradise’s cover with me today. I want to spend time in the room featured on the cover. Please tell us about the scene Chloe Bristol illustrated. 

Amy Rebecca Tan: Chloe’s gorgeous cover art doesn’t depict a specific scene, but rather captures the spirit of Jamie’s summer experience at the library. Every detail in her illustration – the upholstered chair, the vase with flower, the coffee mug, the dog, the books – are key elements in the story. As you read the book, you may find yourself flipping back to the cover and looking at these images with a new understanding.

And, of course, I am a fanatical booknerd so having beautiful drawings of books all over the cover of my debut book is a complete dream come true. Thank you Chloe! 

What are three things we should know about Jamie Bunn? 

1. Jamie Bunn is so genuinely kind that she will offer to taste your thick, lumpy, unappetizing borscht just to make you feel better. 

2. There is a good possibility that Jamie will analyze all future social situations in Jane Eyre terms. 

3. There is an even better possibility that Jamie will grow up to become a serious spine poetry competitor. 

(All the above will make sense when you read the book.) 

I have a feeling you love booktalking. Which children’s books have you been telling everyone about?

The Book of Mistakes by Corrina Luyken is a gorgeous picture book that I push on everyone. It’s perfect for Jamie and perfect for pretty much every human being on the planet. I also can’t get enough of the picture book A Different Pond by Bao Phi. Susin Nielsen’s middle grade novel No Fixed Address is full of heart and humor and I savored every page. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani is incredibly powerful and important, and Jarrett Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo blew me away. I could recommend books all day – this is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

Please finish these sentence starters: 

I hope A Kind of Paradise brings more kids to the library. I hope it leads them to a life full of books and reading, but also to a life full of listening and observing and inquiring and sharing. I hope it inspires them to become a part of the wonderful communities that libraries foster.

School libraries are safe havens. They are where kids get to exercise agency. School libraries let kids know that they matter – their learning matters, their growing matters, and their stories matter.

Story is the universal language. Story opens us up to ideas and hopes and differences and dreams. Story is what makes us human, and sharing stories is what makes us the best possible humans we can be.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me why Jamie’s last name is Bunn. Beverly Cleary’s middle grade novels were the first ones that made me feel like a reader. When I learned that Beverly Cleary’s maiden name was Bunn, I borrowed it for my main character. Jamie Bunn is named after the first important author in my reading life. 

Look for A Kind of Paradise on May 7, 2019. 


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