Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly

Hello, Erin Entrada Kelly! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! It is always a SUPER DAY when you stop by to talk about books.

I LOVE Celia Krampien’s cover illustration and Sylvie Le Floc’h’s cover design for Those Kids from Fawn Creek. What ran through your heart the first time you saw it?

Erin Entrada Kelly: Joy, joy, joy!

Seeing the book cover for the first time is probably my favorite part of the publishing process. I knew the jacket for Those Kids From Fawn Creek would be incredible before I even saw it. I mean, it’s Sylvie and Celia, so I couldn’t go wrong. Celia also illustrated the cover for We Dream of Space and she’s responsible for so many other gorgeous book covers, like The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart and Coo by Kaela Noel, which is one of my favorite books.

I was also overjoyed to see all the kids on the cover. Those Kids from Fawn Creek has a large cast of characters. There are thirteen seventh graders, each of whom play a role in the narrative. By the end of the book, readers have heard from most of them. I love that all the kids from Fawn Creek will appear on the book jacket. Some are on the cover, as you see here, and others will appear on the back.

The book is set in a tiny, tiny town in south Louisiana, and I love the way Celia has illustrated the lushness of the region—the mossy trees, thick greenery, the stillness of the creek.

Basically: I love everything about it.

I like posing scenarios. Imagine you’re booktalking Those Kids from Fawn Creek to 300 5th graders.

Erin Entrada Kelly: Imagine you live in a tiny, tiny town. You’re in seventh grade. There are only twelve seventh graders in the entire school—including you. You’ve known all of them since kindergarten, because the same families have lived in your town for generations. Every day is the same. Then one day, out of nowhere, a new student appears. She’s not from your tiny, tiny town. She’s from the big city, and she’s traveled everywhere—places you’ve never even heard of. It’s always exciting when a new student arrives, isn’t it? Especially if you’ve never met one before.

Have you ever felt bored? Do you ever get tired of going to the same school every day and seeing the same teachers and talking to the same kids? Have you ever met a new student and wondered all kinds of things about them? Then you’re just like one of those kids from Fawn Creek! Be careful, though. Not all of them are as nice as you.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Seventh grade was my first before-and-after year. It was a difficult, difficult time for me.

We all have moments when everything changes. Let’s say your parents get divorced when you’re ten. When you look back on your life—say, your eighth birthday—you’ll recognize it as a time before your parents got divorced. And your eleventh birthday happened after.

That’s what I mean by a before-and-after year. Sometimes it can be a good thing—before I won the lottery. And sometimes it’s not a good thing—after my grandmother died.

For me, seventh-grade was that defining year, which is probably why I write about it so much.

Did you know hedgehogs like to make nests under hedges, and they also grunt like pigs, which is why they’re called “hedgehogs”? Hedgehogs also have some natural immunity against snake venom. Also, a group of hedgehogs can be called an “array” or a “prickle.” I think I prefer “prickle,” don’t you?

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me why I know so much about hedgehogs. Because I have one, of course! Actually, you know that already. But did you know that his name is Pinball and he has freckles and a crooked nose? I adopted him from Hog Wild Hedgehogs in Cherry Hill, NJ. When I got there, the woman introduced me to four hedgies for adoption. They were all very cute and friendly, but none of them felt like “the one.” Then she said, “There are others in the back. I don’t keep them up front because nobody wants them.” She brought out Pinball, who had been there the longest. “Nobody wants him because he never comes out of his ball,” she said. Sure enough, he was in a tight, tight ball, and he refused to come out. But then he peeked out his nose—just for a second—and I saw that he had freckles and a crooked nose. “I want this one,” I said, and we took him home.

Thank you, Erin! 

New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe and a Newbery Honor for We Dream of Space. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Delaware. She is a professor of children’s literature in the graduate fiction and publishing programs at Rosemont College, where she earned her MFA, and is on the faculty at Hamline University. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. Erin Entrada Kelly’s debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Literature Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature; You Go First, a Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick; Lalani of the Distant Sea, an Indie Next Pick; and Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey which she also illustrated. 

Look for Those Kids from Fawn Creek on March 8, 2022. 


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