Interviews

Interviews with writers and illustrators of books for young people.

Five questions for Kwame Alexander

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Middle-school hoops star Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell wants to play for Duke. His twin brother JB bleeds Carolina Blue. Is there a more apt metaphor for sibling rivalry?! Here we talk to 2015 Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander, for The Crossover (Houghton), about sports, music, sleep (who needs it?), and…Gangsta Cookies. 1. The book has […]

“These children need a champion”: an interview with Gretchen Bircher

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Gretchen Bircher is an instructional aide at Adam Elementary School in Santa Maria, California. (She’s also my amazing mom!) Today she is submitting a proposal to the Santa Maria–Bonita School District, advocating that a new elementary school be named in honor of Dr. Francisco Jiménez — author, recipient of a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and […]

Five questions for Lucy Cousins

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If you know any little girls named Maisy (or Tallulah; or, for that matter, any little boys named Cyril), chances are good that it’s because of Lucy Cousins. Her indomitable little-girl-mouse is beloved by toddlers and their grownups the world over, making Cousins one proud mama. 1. Your latest Maisy book — Count with Maisy, […]

Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight

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In the January/February 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano talked to Sharon M. Draper about her new intermediate novel Stella by Starlight. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: Have you ever tried to write by starlight? Sharon M. Draper: I’ve marveled at the moon — the phases intrigue me […]

Five questions for A. S. King

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A. S. King’s books are one of a kind: strange, sometimes surrealistic, but always grounded in truth. Her latest YA novel — Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future (Little, Brown, 14 years and up) — is most likely the only children’s book you’ll ever read in which a protagonist ingests desiccated bat remains — and […]

Five questions for Lizzie Skurnick

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Since 2013, Lizzie Skurnick Books (LSB; an imprint of Ig Publishing) has been handpicking and reissuing “the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s to the social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.” The list gained a passel of built-in followers with the release of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind-Family series, […]

Liniers on What There Is Before There Is Anything There

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In the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano asked Argentinian cartoonist Liniers about the inspiration for his “deeply unsettling” but “bravely existential” new picture book, What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: What made you decide to make […]

Steampunk queen: An interview with Gail Carriger

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Gail Carriger introduced readers to her alternate Victorian London — chock-full of steampunk technology and supernatural characters — in 2009 with Soulless, the first volume of her five-book adult series The Parasol Protectorate. The Finishing School series, a YA prequel series set in the same world, soon followed, beginning with Curtsies & Conspiracies. Espionage lessons, […]

Cece Bell on El Deafo

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In the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer Deirdre Baker asked Cece Bell about her graphic novel memoir El Deafo — which is told entirely with anthropomorphic bunnies. Read the starred review here; see more grrl-power graphic novels here. Deirdre F. Baker: Why did you choose to tell your autobiography with bunny characters? Cece Bell: […]

Five questions for Sharon G. Flake

Photo: Richard Kelly

Is Mr. Davenport a vampire, as Octobia May insists? The answer is not so cut-and-dried in Sharon G. Flake’s Unstoppable Octobia May, a historical-fiction-cum-mystery-novel with more than a dash of social commentary (Scholastic, 9–12 years). From the 1950s boarding house setting to the vivid characters — some plucky, some humorous, some downright sinister — the […]