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Transformers: But Myth Has No Prototype

Like many fantasy writers born and raised in Britain, I am haunted by Celtic and Arthurian myth; it goes with the territory. Even before I could read, I’d been shown the footprint of King Arthur’s horse up on the mountain above my grandmother’s village in Wales, and the mist that was the breath of the […]

Transformers: The Power of Storytelling

I grew up in a small brick row house on a dead-end street in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In many ways, my neighborhood block in the 1940s was representative of African American culture as a whole: there were too many things we were told we could not do, too many places we might […]

Transformers: Ready or Not…

Translating Madame Villeneuve’s and Madame Leprince de Beaumont’s eighteenth-century French into contemporary American 
English for our picture book Beauty and the Beast was indeed a transformative event. In addition to the dramatic change in language, there were other differences, surprises brought on by time and the filter of many others before me. The process taught […]

Transformers: Reimagining the World

Back in my late twenties, when I decided to finally, earnestly try to be a novelist, I chose to start with something I thought would be easy: a fairy-tale retelling. I figured that since I already knew the plot, I wouldn’t get stuck. (All seasoned writers who are reading this are probably laughing.) I settled […]

Transformers: Merlin and Me…Thirteen Books Later

On a cold Colorado night twenty-one years ago, I woke up suddenly. A vivid dream had possessed me — a dream of a boy, half drowned and only barely alive, who had washed up on the shore of a strange land. He had no memory, no idea who he was. But he did have something […]

Transformers: What Fairy Tales Tell

I don’t retell fairy tales. They retell me. Over and over again they tell me who I am, how I feel, what I believe. This process of self-discovery happens every time I write a poem, but it seems to happen most acutely when I throw on Red Riding Hood’s cloak or pull up a chair […]

Transformers: Transforming the Classics

The classics are deep, rich works of art that have many treasures to offer a reader. However, students don’t often encounter the classics by choice, and it seems increasingly rare for a young reader to fully experience the joys of a classic text when first they meet. I was one of the lucky ones who did enjoy […]

Hijacking the Pumpkin Coach

On an overcast winter morning in outback New England, I’m taking time to consider the notion of transformations as they pertain to reading and story-making. The word means metamorphoses, which you will remember comes from the Greek words for change and shape — though meta also carries a sense of “beyond” as in “veering toward […]

Transformers: How Did Snow White Survive in That Glass Coffin?

I often write novels based on fairy tales, folktales, myths, and religious stories. They attract me for three reasons. They have stood the test of time, and I want to harness that power. Their plots grip me so hard I can barely breathe. They challenge me: how do I interest readers in a story they […]