Newbery Honor Author Christian McKay Heidicker

Click here to watch the 2020 ALA Youth Media Awards press conference.

I asked Jerry Craft, Kwame Alexander, Christian McKay Heidicker, Jasmine Warga, and Alicia D. Williams to answer two questions and finish two sentence starters. 

Hello, Christian McKay Heidicker! I love hearing about THE CALL! What ran through your head when the phone rang? What were you thinking about when the Newbery committee was clapping and cheering for you?

Christian McKay Heidicker: Hello, Mr. Schu! Thank you so much for having me!

The only thing running through my head when the phone rang were the coattails of a dream that was nowhere near as incredible as the reality I was about to wake up to.

When I saw it was an unknown number from Philadelphia, my kneejerk thought was, Robocall. I silenced my phone and flopped back onto my pillow. But then I slowly lifted my head, thinking, Robots never call in the middle of the night. And they certainly never call twice.

I stared at my phone and said, “Ring again.”

And it did.

I answered and heard a voice as bright as a birthday candle on the other end. Her name was Krishna Grady, and she had some good news for me.

“Are you serious?” I said.

“As serious as a Golgathursh,” she said.

And then I went into actual shock while my phone erupted with cheers. All I could think about was where all the feeling in my face had gone so I could bring it back and say something witty and cool.
I just tearfully told them I loved them all instead.

Maybe that’s why the committee calls so early. They want to catch you at your least composed. I like that about them.

What does a Newbery Honor for Scary Stories for Young Foxes mean to you?

Christian McKay Heidicker: The promise of adventure. The Newbery sticker has always been a beacon for experiences that are fresh, enveloping, and a little off-center. I’ve spent the last week reading the medal winner and other honorees, and I have been transported to some truly enthralling, devastating, and enlightening places.

There are lots and lots of amazing stories out there, so I feel insanely lucky to have a lighthouse-sized beacon on my little book. My hope is that Scary Stories for Young Foxes will take readers somewhere wild and unfamiliar but see them home safe with a little bit of forest wisdom in their hearts.

Please finish these sentence starters:

Story is an enchanted mirror that shows us how to live better, more interesting lives. 

School libraries are haunted wardrobe time machines.

Borrow Scary Stories for Young Foxes from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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