Saturday, October 04, 2008

Authors are my red carpet people

I'm a middle school English teacher turned school librarian, so - yeah - I like books and reading, and as a colleague of mine said today, "authors are my 'red carpet' people."
I love to meet authors in person and hear them talk about their writing process and the events that have shaped their lives. I love getting a glimpse of them as real people, and not just as photos on a dust jacket.
I wish I wasn't such an introvert - I am so horrible at making small talk - when I get opportunities to meet my 'red carpet people' I usually don't end up conversing much. Mostly I end up saying some variation on the "I really liked your book" theme. Lame, I know.

Today I pushed myself a bit beyond my comfort zone when I met Jordan Sonnenblick, and not only told him I liked his book, but also asked for a picture. Whoa!

Jordan Sonnenblick and I

I have had opportunities to meet many writers in person over the years: Gwendolyn Brooks (all I can say is wow!), Tomie dePaola, Jean Craighead George, Sharon Creech, Katherine Paterson, and many others.
There are those I have met with whom I would not want to be trapped in an elevator (Tamora Pierce, please write a million books - I will read them all with great pleasure - but I hope there are no elevators in our future). Then there are those authors I have met with whom I would consider that situation a blessing. Jordan Sonnenblick would be one of those authors - although I would probably be laughing quite a bit, and without the opportunity to go to the bathroom (being trapped in an elevator and all) "holding it" might become a problem. Hmmm.

Sonnenblick wrote his first book, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, specifically to make a difference for one of his students whose younger brother had cancer. He tried desperately to find a book to help her deal with her feelings. When his searches came up empty, he knew he needed to write it himself.

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie was one of my top 3 reads of last year - the other two being The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. (Yes, I do keep a log of the books I read with a rating - I'm a librarian, what can I say.)

As Sonnenblick says, it is "the story of a middle school kid whose little brother gets cancer... but it's funny." There are few authors who are able to write seriously about tragic subjects while interjecting humor and pull it off. Barbara Park did it well with Mick Harte was Here and The Graduation of Jake Moon, and Sonnenblick nailed it with Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie.

Some of you know I am a lover of audiobooks, but not all audiobooks are worth a listen (I still have not forgiven Campbell Scott and his crazy breathing for ruining one of my all time favorite books, Time and Again by Jack Finney). Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie and Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian are both fabulous as audiobooks as well - CBF (crazy breathing free), I promise.

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Blogger cath said...

very cool! I will have to check out those books. I used to keep a log of my reading--back in the day when I would devour books in a weekend--the book journal sits unused, even when I get to the occasional book these days. I spend a lot of time commuting, so I now do a lot of audio books--and I don't count those in the book journal.

Have been racing through all the Tamora Pierce I can get my hands on over the last 2 months--had her in the back of my mind, but just never got to her until now. Care to elaborate on why you would not want to be trapped with her :)

October 04, 2008 9:39 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

It was fun to meet you at MEMO. What a small world. Who was your most memorable teacher at Wilson? Mine was Mrs. Macaloon (sp?) in sixth grade. Was she still there?

You have a fun blog and I LOVE your photos.

October 05, 2008 1:18 PM  

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