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Book Reviews from the Children's Department Staff of the Park Ridge Public Library
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Peace, by artist Wendy Anderson Halperin is a visual and poetic meditation on the subject of peace. The book is dedicated to our senses, and that dedication sets the tone for the book – peace is real, and it can be sensed with our whole bodies and expressed with our words, actions, and thoughts. There is a very short text which can be read aloud, along with quotes from famous peacemakers spread throughout, and panels of illustrations depicting scenes of peace.
Halperin chooses quotes from people like Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and Anne Frank. I like that many of the quotes focused on the small ways we can work toward peace: “When people talk, listen completely” (Ernest Hemingway); and “Friendship is the only cure for hatred, the only guarantee of peace” (Buddha). The many illustrations, too, while wide in scope (they depict children and nature around the world), also depict small scenes of peace. Some of the images contrast to illustrate the concept. For example, one scene shows a grandmother washing dishes while her granddaughter lounges on the couch. A few pages later, we see the same grandmother washing the dishes with her granddaughter at her side helping her. Another scene depicts an elderly man boarding a bus as everyone continues to read their paper. Later on in the book, we see that a child has risen from his seat and offered it to the man. We also see children reading in tree houses, planting vegetables, sharing meals with their families, and quietly observing a heron.
The book is one to read and look at over and over again. It may spark discussions about kindness, friendship, stewardship of the earth, and about standing against all those things that destroy peace – like anger, apathy, ignorance, and jealousy. I can see this making a soothing bedtime book for all ages, and while it would be difficult to read the book aloud to a classroom (too many small details), it would make a good book for small groups to read and discuss in the classroom.
Posted by: Parry
When you find a best friend, you want to hold on to him! And anyway, life is sooo… much better with a friend – you can play together and swim together, swimming over and under and all around. Such is the life of two happy friends, Nugget a minnow, and Fang a shark, until Nugget goes off to school. Then, everything is different for Fang and Nugget. At school, Nugget learns lots of new things about the world and his place in it, including the unsettling fact that sharks EAT minnows!!! Nugget cannot believe this and tries to convince his schoolmates that his friend Fang could never hurt anyone.
Eventually though, Nugget does start to believe the rumors and reluctantly lets go of his friendship with Fang. Of course Fang is lost without his best friend and tries everything he can think of to win his friend back. Sadly though, nothing works, until a giant net captures Nugget and the other little fish, and Fang must come to their rescue. In the end, everyone lets go of their old ideas about their shark friend, and the ELEVEN friends live happily ever after, swimming over and under and all around. This book would make a good read-aloud, and there are some wonderful lessons to be learned as well. The illustrations are very colorful and appealing. Really fun!
Posted by: Mary
Mixed up alphabet books are not hard to find in the picture book section, and for good reason. They offer children who have mastered linear alphabet stories but are still learning to decode letters and learn letter sounds a unique way to do that. When done well, mixed up alphabet books are delightful for older preschoolers and their caregivers and offer lots of zany, educational fun.
A is for Musk Ox is one such mixed up alphabet book. Told as a dialogue between a musk ox who is tired of only being featured on one page of the alphabet book and his zebra friend who would really prefer the alphabet remain orderly. The musk ox, who we learn on the “J” page is named Joseph starts by eating the apple on the “A” page and replacing it with himself because musk oxen are”awesome” after all. The musk ox barges his way through the alphabet with corrective tape covering babies, clowns and more so that he is prominently featured on each page while the zebra tries in vain to stop him. The collage style illustrations are bold and full of whimsy and offer so much detail that children will love looking through this book over and over again. As an added bonus, the musk ox’s self-centered mission allows readers to learn all about the animal. This would be an excellent choice for children in later preschool all the way through older elementary school.
Posted by: Kelly
Sam and Morgan are best friends. Strike that – Sam and Morgan used to be best friends. Now Morgan has declared that he will be kicking Sam’s butt in exactly 33 minutes. How did these life-long friends come to this place? That’s exactly what Sam is trying to figure out in Todd Hasak-Lowy’s 33 Minutes. Told mostly through flashbacks from Sam’s point of view, Hasak-Lowy uses sharp wit to take a bit of the edge off the very real heartache that comes with growing up and growing apart, without sugar-coating the reality of this all-too-familiar situation.
Sam is incredibly bright, but not so popular. Morgan has become quite popular in junior high, but he’s never been the best student. As Morgan’s new friends begin taking up more of his time, Sam can’t help but feel left out and a bit jealous. Over the course of a few months, tensions build between the two best friends, and when everything comes to a head Sam is certain it must be Morgan’s fault. A little reflection over the course of the ever dwindling 33 minutes, however, sheds some light on the reality of Sam and Morgan’s situation, and Sam realizes that maybe he is not completely blameless himself.
In Sam Todd Hasak-Lowy has created a very real and very witty character. Sam’s clever observations will have readers laughing out loud but the humor does not take away from the painful reality of Sam’s situation. It is exactly this mixture of humor and reality that make this book an excellent choice for a book discussion group (particularly for boys) or for a 5th or 6th grade classroom read-aloud.
Posted by: Staci
National Geographic and J. Patrick Lewis work well together. In 2007 they released The Brother’s War: Civil War Voices in Verse. It was a solemn, evocative and gut churning collection that stays in my mind even today. But, could we expect less of the U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate? The answer, of course is no and to prove my point, NatGeo—as we hipsters refer to them—and Lewis have done it again.
The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry is a treat. It’s more than a treat, it’s a triumph. The combination of stunning photos–as only Nat Geo can seems to be able to produce—and the writings of some of America’s best poets lights up the imagination and thrills the soul. It doesn’t hurt that a “parent /child” photo of a giraffes, one of my favorite animals, graces the cover. The book entices the reader with a subtitle that states, “200 poems with photographs that squeak, soar and ROAR!”
Mr. Lewis has chosen a wide variety authors who represent an even wider variety of styles—19th century, 20th century or 21st century; lighthearted, silly, or serious; rhyming verse, haiku or concrete poems. It’s all there, all carefully chosen by Mr. Lewis and all perfectly matched to the photography.
Don’t miss a chance to share these little gems with a favorite child or better yet, just curl up in a comfy spot and let yourself go wild among the animals.
Posted by: Eileen
Jasper is Star of the Week!! He has been waiting for that honor all school year and FINALLY it is his week. He has high hopes that his week will be simply awesome and he will be the best Star of the Week that his class has ever seen.
Day 1 is Show -and-Tell Day just for the Star of the Week, but, unfortunately things don’t go exactly as Jasper had hoped. First, Ori steals the limelight with the news of the arrival of his new baby sister and then the class is not at all impressed with Jasper’s very special show and tell.
Day 2 is Family Tree Day, which proves to be tricky for Jasper because his family is so small. He uses a tree branch for his display and rather than calling it his family tree, he names it his family stick. He puts on a leaf for every single family member he can think of, including a brother named Earl who doesn’t even exist.
Day 3 is Science Experiment Day, which Jasper totally forgets about because his focus is on producing the “pretend” brother who is on his family stick. He ends up constructing his brother, Earl, from wood and since it turns out that Earl has no heart (because he is made from wood), there is a vague science discussion. Jasper’s heartless brother also causes him trouble on the playground which results in a trip to the principal’s office.
Day 4 is Talent Day, which after an enormous drink of water from the water fountain, Jasper delights the class with water sloshing “music” from his tummy.
Day 5 is Special Snack and Compliment Day which turns out to be a great day for Jasper!
Not only does Jasper’s special week to be the class Star turn out to be highly amusing, but other quirky and humorous events are sprinkled in along the way. This new book series promises to be a hit with early readers!
Posted by: Wendy
Finally, after a long winter of dissatisfying-to-outright-bad novels, a DELIGHTFUL new fantasy has appeared!
Tom is used to living his ordinary (but happy) life with his parents, running their deli and hanging out with his friend Charlie. One day, though he awakens to a shocking discovery: his father is a fairy. A real, live, MAGICAL fairy. Which means that, he, Tom is a demisprite: demisprites are illegal, and the fairy authorities are trying to find Tom and his family to arrest and even execute them!
Tom’s father goes on the run, Tom’s mother is hidden somewhere (hilariously) magical, and Tom himself is spirited away by his surprisingly non-fairy-like godmother, Lorna Mustard, the owner of a scrapyard in Scotland. In the course of just a few days, Tom is introduced to his other (even more non-fairy-like) godmothers, his unexpected cousin Pindar, a number of revolutionary genies, and the hottest new fairy rock star (singer of the smash hit: Old Fairies Suck).
That might be enough to overwhelm an ordinary person, but Tom’s not ordinary (and neither are his friends) and he plans to rescue his family if it’s the last thing he does–even if it means that he has to completely change fairy society.
This book is a delightful romp full of truly original moments and laugh-out-loud characters, and it’s impossible to read it without a huge smile on one’s face. I enjoyed Kate Saunders’ last book, Beswitched, but I LOVED this one, and I hope all of you will, too.
Posted by: Sarah
Kelly shares a sweet–and true!–animal tale: Douwlina: A Rhino’s Story, by Grace Borgeson.
This month, Eileen shares the book Body Actions, by Shelley Rotner, a great choice for those days when it’s just beginning to be warm enough to get outside and move our bodies!
Marty McGuire’s 3rd grade class room is charged with a very important task: create a Save the Earth Project. Marty is inspired – she and her best friend Annie have long admired natural scientists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, and they often go into the woods behind Marty’s house and pretend to be studying gorillas and chimpanzees themselves. Now they have a chance to really make a difference!
With the help of Marty’s Grandma Barb the girls come up with an idea that will help reduce food waste at their school cafeteria: create a worm composting bin! Marty is very confident that their project will make an impact, and talks up the worms to her classmates so everyone is very excited to feed the worms all their crusts, green beans, and leftover bits of tuna fish sandwiches. But there’s a problem: the worms can only eat a little bit at a time; and certain foods, like meat or tuna fish, shouldn’t enter their habitat. Marty knows these things, but she also doesn’t want to let down her classmates, who are all clamoring for a chance to feed the worms. When Marty lets the worms’ habitat become inhospitable because she wants to please her classmates, the worms escape, and she is forced to reassess her plan. Marty and Annie come up with a solution to their worm problem, and ultimately their project is a success. Marty learns that change takes time, and that often you must be patient in order to see your ideas come to fruition. She also learns that taking responsibility for something takes planning, problem-solving, and courage.
Marty McGuire is an excellent book for kids transitioning into reading chapter books – the chapters are fairly short, and the book is dotted with black and white illustrations by Brian Floca which, with humor and expression, perfectly capture the different characters of the book. Marty McGuire Digs Worms! is an amusing and realistic look at the world of a 3rd grade classroom – Marty is a likable character, as are her patient teacher Mrs. Aloi, wacky Grandma Barb, and her loyal friend Annie. This would make a great read-aloud for a classroom – just in time for Earth Day! It can be read as the sequel to Messner’s book Marty McGuire, but it also stands on its own.
Posted by: Parry
A young penguin discovers a cold pinecone and knits him a scarf. Even though he loves his new friend, he returns it to the forest where he belongs. He tells the pinecone that he will always be in his heart. Penguin continues to think about the pinecone and wonder if he has grown big and strong. He eventually returns to visit it. When he does, he discovers that his pinecone is still wearing the scarf and has grown into a tree. This is a sweet story about love and caring for others.
Posted by: Liz
Little dragon is one amazing fire breather until one day, during a particularly splash-filled bath, he accidentally douses his spark. When his flame goes out, Little Dragon fears that his mother will no longer love him, so he does what any resourceful dragon would do and tries to reignite that spark through various warming methods including rubbing his belly, putting on lots of warm clothes, and eating super-hot peppers. Nothing seems to work, however, and Little Dragon has no choice but to tell his mother what has happened. Little Dragon is relieved to find that his mother still loves him even without his flame. Then, to his surprise, he notices something warm in his belly. Could it be that his mother’s love has reignited the spark?
This adorable tale of unconditional love is told through bold yet simple illustrations of a bright blue Little Dragon set against a black and white background. Realistic images of Little Dragon’s flame, chili peppers, and a few other items are sprinkled throughout, adding a lively contrast to the charming dragon. Little Dragon’s exuberance and silliness provide balance and freshness for the familiar subject matter of motherly love, making this a fun read-aloud for parents of children in preschool through second grade.
Posted by: Staci
At the time of this writing, I am the proud new mother of a two week old boy. As a Librarian and lover of children’s literature, one of the things I most looked forward to when becoming a parent was reading to my child. Now, those who have experienced a two week old probably are aware that their eye sight is not completely developed and many babies find too much talking and interacting overwhelming; my baby certainly does. But, as I know from my education, it is never too early to start introducing books to children. When we share books, my baby seems to be able to look at one page and then needs to look away. However, there is one book in our library that engaged him even in his first week and that is Deborah Donenfeld’s Baby A B C.
This board book features crisp black and white photos of babies coupled with a primary colored letter and an object that starts with that letter. The primarily black and white photos with strong focus on the babies’ faces coupled with pops of color are the perfect combination for an infant’s developing eye sight. This book, while very simplistic, is a strong choice to share during the first two years of a child’s life. The babies featured in the book are adorable and children and parents alike will enjoy looking at them many times. The letters are presented clearly and perfect for children learning to recognize print. And for older toddlers, the objects featured on each page are ideal pairs for teaching initial sounds.
Posted by: Kelly
Sometimes your bad reputation precedes you, and it doesn’t matter what you do – you will be the one to get in trouble every time! That is exactly what happens in Here Comes Trouble! Our main character, Toby the dog, does not like cats – not slinky cats or spunky cats or snooty cats or snobby cats – not ANY cats. He thinks cats can just do whatever they want and NEVER get in trouble, including the cat who lives next door. Toby on the other hand gets into plenty of trouble and always seem be getting caught.
When the neighbor cat Pandora comes to stay and everyone thinks she is simply perfect, Toby knows better. He sees when she scratches up the sofa, and when she claws the curtains, and when she leaps up on the kitchen counter and samples the cake and simply prances off licking her whiskers. The trouble is, no one else ever notices, and so when Pandora gets herself into real trouble by climbing up a tree and getting stuck, Toby is the only one who can come to her rescue. He tries to bark to tell someone, but they just tell him to be quiet; he tries to run circles around the tree to get them to notice, but they just tell him to slow down. Finally Toby must use his muddy paws to write the message “CAT IN TREE”, which finally brings help running. In the end, Toby and Pandora find a way to be friends, and to get into trouble TOGETHER, which is always much more fun. This is a very fun read!
Posted by: Mary
To be honest, it was the colorful cover depicting a cute little green crocodile carrying an oversized flowery change purse that first caught my eye. Upon further inspection, it was the delightful illustrations within Little Croc’s Purse, as well as the story itself, that continued to keep me smiling.
What would you do if you found someone’s purse and it was full of money? Would you keep the money to buy yourself something special? Would you share some of the money with your friends? Would you give the money to someone needy? Would you turn the purse over to police who could hopefully track down its owner?
Little Croc has found a purse full of money and is faced with the dilemma of what to do. His friends (as well as the local bully) try to convince him of how he should best use his sudden windfall. But he knows what the right thing to do is and his conscience guides him in making his decision to turn the purse over to the police. When the owner is found, she is so happy to find her most precious treasure hidden inside the lining of her purse that she gives Little Croc a generous reward. Little Croc is gobsmacked at her generosity. What he does next is just perfect.
What a sweet treasure to discover hidden within the “lining” of this book. Honesty, sharing and giving – we all sometimes can use a reminder about these values.
Posted by: Wendy
Willie’s mom needs to go out, and Willie needs a babysitter. Who’s coming to watch him? Uncle Bill! Uncle Bill (who has spiky hair and dances while he makes lunch) is a bit crazy, but Willie (in his checked pants and big stripey shirt) is more than a match for him. As their names suggest, these two are kindred spirits, in spite of their difference in age.
Want to cover up the results of a bad scissors experiment? Need a co-chef to create the latest version of Icky Stew? Interested in a sneaky, musical, nighttime excursion? Uncle Bill is your man (and Willie is his able sidekick).
Amy Schwartz has created an adorable little book about every child’s dream babysitter (and dream relative!), and her delightful illustrations enhance the text perfectly.
Posted by: Sarah
This month, Kelly shares a new favorite: Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George.
Cut off from the rest of the world by an enormous mountain, secured by a massive gated wall exists the city of Deliverance. The residents of Deliverance are special. They look like everyone on the other side of the mountain, but they all possess a form of telekinesis called psi. The people of Deliverance use their psi for everything including cooking, cleaning, getting dressed, driving, etc. Ocassionally, however, children’s psi powers do not develop and are labeled Freaklings. Of course, it is impossible for Freaklings to exist among the psi wielders; therefore, those children are sent to the nonpsi village outside the walls of Deliverance where they are taught to survive in a world where they must do everything for themselves.
Taemon was not born a Freakling, but he is different from other psi wielders. He has the ability to “mind wander” or see inside objects using his mind – a very dangerous power in the hands of the wrong person. Taemon’s brother, Yens, is extremely gifted at using psi and hungers for fame and power. As Yens starts to realize just how powerful Taemon really is, he begins to feel threatened and attacks Taemon in hopes of scaring him into explaining the root of his power. As a result, Taemon actually loses his ability to control objects with psi and must hide his handicap or be exiled from the city. Ultimately, Taemon must make a decision that will impact everyone in Deliverance and even beyond, but can he trust himself to make the right decision?
Posted by: Staci
February is a gloomy time, full of dark skies and sleety snow and grumbles. What better way to cheer up than by making some exciting cupcakes? Just because Valentine’s Day is over doesn’t mean that we can’t make treats for ourselves!
Dana Meachen Rau’s new book, What’s Up Cupcake, offers myriad incredibly creative cupcake decorating ideas (who on earth would have thought of making an armadillo out of peanut-butter-filled sandwich cookies?) that will inspire any child–to either follow the recipe or make up their own designs! Rau, a prolific author of children’s nonfiction, has three other, equally creative and inspiring, books in her Dessert Designers series: Smart Cookie, Piece of Cake, and Eye Candy. Get out your mixing bowls and bake away those winter blues!
Posted by: Sarah
I’ve been to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and was awed as I looked out at the faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt that are carved into the side of a mountain. It’s hard to imagine how such an extraordinary feat could have been accomplished – especially since it was begun in 1927, and not in today’s world with the aid of modern tools and technology.
The renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to begin the project that has become a destination for many tourists. This book details how Gutzon designed and organized the carving, but how it was his son, Lincoln, who saw the project through to the end. Interesting facts include how a small village was constructed for the workers at the base of the mountain and how Jefferson’s head was originally carved on the other side of where it is now.
This book is interesting to read and would be a great introduction to Mount Rushmore for anyone planning a trip to this national monument.
Posted by: Wendy
Penny comes home with a new song, and she wants someone to listen to her! But Mama and Papa say it’s the babies’ nap time. Penny tries singing to herself in the mirror, but that isn’t the same, and neither is singing to her little glass animals. So Penny waits all the way until dinner time, only to be told, “Not at the table,” by Mama. Finally, after dinner, Penny gets her big chance. Penny sings her song beautifully, and then the whole family joins in, including the babies (“in their own baby way”). They all have a little family dance party, with Mama in funny sunglasses and Papa in a funny hat. Penny’s song was worth the wait – it brings the little mouse family a joyful end to their day and ushers in sweet sleep for the babies.
This easy reader from beloved author and illustrator Kevin Henkes is perfect for newly independent readers – the short and simple text is supported by Henkes’ trademark watercolor illustrations, and the headings of “Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.” build confidence and add a level of gravitas that new readers can be so hungry for. Children, especially older siblings, will appreciate Penny’s plight and ultimate triumph, and readers of all ages will delight in the depiction of a warm and loving mouse family, making musical memories one ordinary evening. Although this book is perfect for new readers, it would also make a lovely read-aloud for younger children.
Posted by: Parry
When you are writing a story, inspiration can come from anywhere, but sometimes you just get STUCK and can’t think of anything to write about. That is what happens to poor Ralph. His teacher tells him that stories are everywhere, and for his friend Daisy, they are — she even writes stories about things that happen to Ralph! Ralph looks out the window for stories, but nothing; he looks in the aquarium for stories, and still nothing; he looks in his desk, and finally under the desk for stories – but nothing . . . until he remembers lying in the grass at the park. He then realizes that he does have a story to tell – and it turns out to be a really good one about an inchworm and a house that he built for the inchworm, and a baby that puts the inchworm in his diaper, and a boy named Ralph who rescues the inchworm from the giant baby. From that time on, Ralph seems to find stories everywhere – just like his teacher said. This wonderful story will be a favorite read-aloud for teachers and parents of those first learning to write, and maybe even just those who get stuck every once in a while. The illustrations are perfect with childlike drawings of messy little kids and messy writing. This book is bound to be a favorite!
Posted by: Mary
Fans of Mo Willems tongue-in-cheek humor will not be disappointed with his first attempt at a fairy tale send-up. Goldilocks and the Three Bears is fractured beyond belief by Willems as the bears are replaced by three dinosaurs, Mama, Papa and “some other dinosaur visiting from Norway.” The dinosaurs cook chocolate pudding and leave it out at varying temperatures to lure an unsuspecting “succulent child” which works like a charm on Goldilocks. She doesn’t care about the temperature of the food since chocolate pudding is good at any temperature. Zany chaos ensues as Goldilocks realizes that she has, in fact, fallen into a trap set by dinosaurs. She realizes this mostly because the dinosaurs are peering at her through the window of the house and gloating with the anticipation of eating a little girl. Goldilocks escapes through the back door as the dinosaurs rush through the front, and reminds the readers of the very important moral “if you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”
Certainly a story for a child who is familiar with the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears this might be even more enjoyable to readers of Mo Willems work, as readers can search for his other characters which sneak into the scenes of this story, including the very famous Pigeon.
Posted by: Kelly
We’re thrilled to bring you an interview with Nikki Loftin, author of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, and other forthcoming books. I’m sure you’ll be just as excited as we were to read her answers to our questions.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, since I was nine. Before then I wanted to be a vet, but I discovered I was afraid of blood. So… writing. I’m not at all scared of fictional blood!
When did you start writing?
My first published poem appeared in the local newspaper when I was nine or ten. I was hooked on writing for publication – even if I did give it up for a long while when my kids were very young.
If you weren’t a writer, what would your job be?
Oh, wow. I love working with kids – I loved my years as a teacher. I might teach writing! (Does that count?)
How long did it take from finishing your first book to when it was actually published?
I finished the first draft in June 2010. It appeared on the shelves in August 2012. It felt like forever to wait!
Did you get many rejections?
Some, but not as many as a lot of my friends talk about. I already had my agent, so I wasn’t querying from scratch. My agent sent it to a few editors – and it landed very quickly on the desk of an amazing person who I adore working with at Razorbill.
Do you find it hard to stop revising? Or do you have a definite ending point?
I find it hard to START revising! Seriously, I love drafting a new book – and I detest revising, even though that’s where the magic really happens. I have a formula for revisions. First, I send it to between 3 and 6 writing critique partners. (Revise revise revise.)Then, my agent gives me notes. (More revisions, lots of chocolate.) Sometimes I have to revise again during the process of submitting to editors. Of course, once an editor chooses your manuscript, there are months more of revisions ahead!
For you, what is the hardest part of writing a book?
See above: Revisions.
What made you decide to write for children, and how is it different from writing for adults?
I thought I was going to write books for adults – but the stories that came to my mind were all middle-grade level, mostly fantasies and humor. So I decided to go with the muse and try my hand at kid lit. It’s working out very well!
Do you think the character of Molly, in your book, really is a wicked stepmother, or does she have some good in her?
I’m going to plead the fifth on this one. If I ever end up writing a sequel, an answer to this question probably would spoil the next book!
How much input, if any, did you have into the art in the book?
A little bit! The artists sent me a few different versions of the playground illustration to choose from. I let my son help – he loved getting to pick!
Did your children read the book? If so, what did they think of it?
My kids had it read to them by me, more than once! They loved it, even if a few parts were a bit scary for my youngest (who was seven at the time). They’re both my number one fans and supporters, and I feel super lucky to have them for my first readers.
What advice would you give young writers?
Read as much as you can, in as many different genres as you can. What you read now will play a huge in part in what you write later. You may be the Next World’s Best Mystery Writer – but if you only read non-fiction or romance, you may never discover your hidden talents.
Do you have any subjects that you’re dying to write about, but haven’t yet?
Any new books that will be coming out soon? I have a new book called Nightingale’s Nest coming out in early 2014. I love this book – it’s full of magic and mystery, and darkness, too. I’ll have another book out a year or so later (to be decided!). I play with new ideas all the time, mostly re-imagined fairy tales, but any topic that combines scariness with magic and a bit of humor is what I love to write.
What is your favorite word?
Murmuration. My LEAST favorite is moist. Ick.
What inspires you?
My kids, other people’s books, long walks, music, memories, letters from my readers… everything, it seems like. I am still in love with the world, like I was when I was a kid – and it gives me so much to choose from.
Who is your favorite author or book (children’s or adult)?
Ooh, hard one. I’m not going to list living ones, since I have a LOT of friends who are writers! LOL I adored the Pippi Longstocking books, by Astrid Lindgren. And I have a soft spot in my heart for Dante. Is that weird?
What authors influenced you when you were first starting out?
The Grimm Brothers, of course! I read a lot, but in particular? I studied Robin McKinley’s fairy tale re-inventions, and read Shannon Hale pretty closely, too.
What are your hobbies when you’re not writing?
I play with my kids or my dogs! I also love to do Zumba (aerobic dance plus world rhythms), in-line skating or bike riding, reading (of course!), and baking. In fact, I bake whenever I’m stressed – so when I’m on deadline, my house smells amazing!
Thanks so much to Nikki Loftin for taking time out of her busy writing schedule to take part in this interview. We’re all REALLY looking forward to her new books!
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“Hey, you guys! Check out this book.” Here’s a title for the youngest construction lovers. It starts with the crew entering their trucks and knocking down a building. After the site is cleared, the crew begins work on a new building. Bold illustrations fill the pages. It’s a very simple introduction to a day at the construction site and is a favorite in our house.
Posted by: Liz