Publishers' Preview: Middle-Grade Novels: Five Questions for Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann

This interview originally appeared in the January/February 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Middle-Grade Novels, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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High school sophomores Brit, Christine, Abby, and new-kid Sasha help one another in the unending cycles of mean girls and menstruation in the graphic novel Go with the Flow.

1. Your girls’ (and I assume your) favorite is Matthew Macfadyen, so who is your second-favorite Mr. Darcy?

LW: Colin Firth…which will anger many people, but Matthew Macfadyen is my one true Darcy.

KS: Colin Firth takes second place for me, too.

2. Have you read The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh? First mention of menstruation in a children’s book.

LW: Now I need to! I absolutely loved Harriet the Spy growing up.

KS: It’s on my list now, too! The only mention I remember is in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

3. What advice can you give people moving from middle to high school?

KS: Find people who really “get” you and stick together.

LW: Embrace who you are and that it will change. Uncertainty leaves room for wonderful things!

4. Did you have a good friend group in high school?

KS: A great group. We had weird adventures and jokes about nothing and everything. I’m friends with some of them to this day, and we’re having kids of our own now!

LW: It would have been hard to write this without understanding the connection that female friendships can provide. I’m thankful to my Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha for helping me survive high school and beyond.

5. What’s the biggest misconception non-menstruators have?

LW: That all periods are similar. Some people skip cycles, some bleed a lot, some have horrible cramps. Every body is different!

KS: Menstruation has been so taboo. Some people assume you can hold it in. Or that PMS causes everyone to turn into a giant asteroid of rage. Periods don’t have to be something you celebrate, but we shouldn’t be ashamed of them.

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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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