What is Kathy Ishizuka Wearing?

Kathy Ishizuka is my opposite number at SLJ, (and you should go look at all the great Covid-19 resources they are offering). I don't know if she's archived her selfie series of "Tall Guys Next to Kathy" but I'm in there. For working at home, she sports an insouciant gracenote of Paris.


1. Just like Sarah Rettger, you had a birthday in the midst of this misery. How did you celebrate?

I’ve never been much for celebrating my birthday — I went all out for my kids and I like celebrating other people’s, and I, for sure, won’t turn down cake. So I thought it would be just like any other. But of course it wasn’t. 

Everything has changed. For me, it’s akin to how I felt after my father died. I looked down at my hands, up at the sky, everything looked very different from that point. I was different.

I am introverted by nature, reflection is not a new mode for me. Each day brings something new, and I’m just rolling with it.

Oh, yeah, my birthday. I connected with family and friends. My relatives remind me how terrible it is in New York, which is OK, they’ve said the same thing for more than 30 years. My husband cooked dinner (OK, he does that every night). Our son remarked on the two courses set before us last night: a lovely clam chowder, with fish from our local market. 

I feel very fortunate.  


2. We're both being urged to up web traffic. Shall I threaten to come to New York and hit you with a chair?

Hold the chair, big guy. SLJ’s traffic has actually never been higher. Thanks to our incredible staff of editors, reporters and writers, design and production staff (sounds like a lot of people, but it is not), we are working hard to cover this incredible event. It is the story of a lifetime and an opportunity to serve a continually growing need for information, illumination. The team is rising to the occasion. I am proud to work alongside them. 


3. In working at home, what is something you are discovering about yourself?

I love hot dogs. I didn’t think I could enjoy them on successive days. That may sound flip, but honestly, that is one thing I have discovered and noted. 

I have a very strong work ethic, so time management, sticking to task is not really an issue for me. I have others.

This strikes me as a Miss America question or something a shrink would say. You aren’t going to bill me, are you? 


4. Watching anything good?

I took in Tiger King, but the first episodes were recounted to me by my pandemic mates, then we watched the last two episodes together. So I’m not really a good judge of that one. I am enjoying the American Experience documentary on New York, which I have seen before, but find uplifting. Walt Whitman is a thread through several of the eight episodes. The recitation of “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” gets me every time. 


5. Reading anything good?

Still on a New York kick, The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto, which is pretty great, alternating with The Girl Who Played with Fire, late at night when I don’t want to think too much. The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine I would recommend. The Topeka School is on my nightstand. You know what I need? Recommendations for anything escapist, a great thriller. Anyone?

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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