Recently, Maureen sent us an email that read, in part, “Besides being a longtime reader of the site and of romance, I’m a children’s librarian by day, and a YA book blogger by night [at Confessions of a Bibliovore]. Basically you can’t shut me up when it comes to kids’ books. With the holidays coming up, I thought your readers might like to hear from somebody who can suggest books to wrap up for kidlings in their lives that may or may not be their actual child. There’s a lotta good stuff out there under the radar, and I love to spread the joy.” So, you ready for a ton of books for young readers? Here they come.
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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
Maureen also mentioned The Cybils, the annual YA awards from kitlit bloggers. Their shortlist should be published around 1 January 2015.
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This Episode's Music
Our music is provided by Sassy Outwater. This is Deviations Project, again again, from their album Adeste Fiddles. Because it is so great.
This track is Lieutenant Kiji (Troika), originally composed by Prokofiev.
This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, publisher of My Cowboy Homecoming, the steamy new novel from Z. A. Maxfield.
Love can heal the deepest wounds…
A sense of duty brings a soldier home…but a passionate cowboy makes him want to stay.
After his brother’s tragic death, Tripp has to leave the army and return to New Mexico to take care of his mother while his father is in prison for arson. Seeking work at the J-Bar Ranch, Tripp is immediately drawn to injured cowboy Lucho Reyes, whose foot was accidentally crushed by a rescue horse. But will the sins of the father interfere with the desires of the son? Tripp’s father may be responsible for the death of Lucho’s grandfather. Now Tripp must balance caring for his mother, repairing his father’s damages, and trying to win the heart of a man who has every reason to hate him and his family…
On sale December 2nd!
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Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to episode number 120 of the DBSA podcast. I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and as you can probably tell, I have a wicked cold, so I apologize, not only for the quality of my voice and the degree of stuffed-uppedness, but for some breathing that I do that I wasn’t aware that I was doing. I mean, I’m aware that I’m breathing, that’s kind of an obvious thing, but sometimes my breathing is picked up in the audio of this interview, and I apologize, ‘cause it sounds like I’m, like, a creepy mouth-breather, and right now, well, I am.
Today I’m interviewing a librarian named Maureen who also blogs at Confessions of a Bibliovore. She wrote in and said, you should totally interview me, because I have lots of recommendations of YA books that would make holiday gifts much, much easier for everyone, so – yeah, like I’m going to turn that down. So this is probably an expensive podcast. We talk about books for very young readers, we talk about picture books, and we talk about chapter books, and some, a couple of YA dystopias that sound like books that I personally would not want to read, but I can already think of at least three people who would totally dig them.
As usual, every book we discuss will be mentioned in the podcast entry on Smart Bitches and on Dear Author, so please don’t try to write these down while you drive; that would be very bad. Unless there’s, like, a bus driver driving and you’re just sitting, in which case have at it. No problem.
This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, publisher of My Cowboy Homecoming, a steamy new novel from Z. A. Maxfield. You can download it on December 2nd – or now, ‘cause it’s after December 2nd – wherever fine eBooks are sold.
The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. I’ll have information at the end of the podcast as to who this is and where you can buy it, but if you’re thinking Adeste Fiddles, you are thinking right, ‘cause despite not having any use for Christmas music, I kind of have this album on repeat ‘cause it’s awesome! And I know a couple of you have bought it too, so I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I have.
And now, on with the podcast.
Sarah: Okay, so, you sent us a really cool email thinking we should interview you! Introduce yourself, please, and tell us why should we interview you, ‘cause we’re going to, like, right now, just in case. Like, this isn’t, like, a test or anything.
Maureen: So, my name is Maureen, and I am a children’s librarian in a large Southwestern city, and I also blog about YA, so basically, I tell people you really just can’t shut me up about books for people under the age of 18.
Sarah: I am totally in favor of this. What’s your blog?
Maureen: My blog is called Confessions of a Bibliovore.
Sarah: This is a good name.
Sarah: I like this name. It’s, it doesn’t have profanity in it, which is strangely an asset, I have found. When you emailed us, you said you had ideas for gifts and ideas for books that would make great gifts this holiday season. I actually have a situation that I need your advice with, so I want to start with that.
Maureen: Sure. Okay.
Sarah: So, like a lot of people, my family is pretty diverse, and –
Sarah: – my husband’s, my husband’s family is in touch with all of their second and third cousins. Like, when we did our, our, our list for our wedding I was like, are you serious?
Maureen: Oh, God.
Sarah: It’s, like, third cousins, third cousins and their children, and they’re all in touch ‘cause they all live right around each other, but we give them Christmas gifts because they celebrate Christmas, despite the rest of us being Jewish.
Sarah: They are young women. They are – I don’t want to give their names – they are eight and six, and they are both young women of color.
Sarah: And I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for me once a year, let alone someone who is doing this every day and every week, to go into the bookstore and be like, there’s nothing here.
Sarah: Nothing but white children.
Maureen: I hear you.
Sarah: There’s no, there’s no Jewish, and there’s no – and, oh, and forget children of color celebrating Hanukkah? Just give up on that –
Maureen: Oh, God.
Sarah: – That doesn’t happen. ‘Cause they celebrate both. They just, they do Christmas on Christmas, so that’s when we’re seeing them.
Sarah: So I would like to give them a book.
Sarah: The older one loves horses and anything about animals and being outside, and the younger one isn’t quite into chapter books yet, but she will read pretty much anything you put in front of her.
Maureen: Okay. So, for the younger one, that’s what I’ll start first, is, there’s a type of book called a reader, and this – I’m going to use a lot of librarian/bookseller type jargon, so interrupt me if you are like, what the hell is that?
Maureen: So, there’s books called readers which are for kids who are just starting to read on their own, and this is stuff like the Elephant and Piggy series, and – let me see; let me go look at my notes again, ‘cause you know, being a librarian, I made myself a whole book list to use while I was talking to you.
Sarah: Oh, that’s really handy, ‘cause while we’re, while you’re talking, I’m making a book list.
Maureen: Awesome. Okay.
Maureen: So, Elephant and Piggy is an example of an easy reader –
Maureen: – or early reader, they’re often called. Brownie & Pearl. I’m trying to think of some that might feature kids of color, and this is a discussion that’s going on. You know, like, it’s going on everywhere else right now. It’s also going on –
Maureen: – in the kid lit world –
Maureen: – because we’re starting to, like, hey, you know, there’s – some ridiculous percentage of books written for children are, feature white children. You know, white, straight, nuclear family children.
Sarah: Right, and I am not alone in having people of color in my family.
Maureen: Absolutely not.
Sarah: This is not a new concept, and I –
Sarah: – and I hate having to give books that don’t represent them to themselves.
Maureen: I know.
Sarah: You know, I want them to see themselves in the books that they read.
Sarah: ‘Cause then someday they’ll be old enough for me to give them romance, and then it’s on like Donkey Kong.
Sarah: But not yet. It’s a long way away.
Maureen: Yeah, yeah. So easy readers, this one I have not yet – hopefully that will change – I haven’t yet seen a whole lot of easy readers that would jump to my mind of having, as having children of color. If she is a little beyond sort of like the beginner – they’re like skinny little chapter books.
Maureen: And those are, like, a step up, because – I’m going to quote some numbers that may not be right, here – 75 to 150 pages –
Maureen: – and they have a lot of illustrations, so they’re very doable for kids.
Sarah: My, my seven-year-old loves those, particularly those that are novelizations of television shows he’s already seen.
Maureen: Oh, God, yes.
Sarah: He loves those, like Phineas & Ferb and Pokémon.
Sarah: Oh, my God, my whole, my whole book case is, like, Pokémon now; it’s amazing.
Maureen: You know, it’s a sort of nice thing, and sometimes I have a little trouble with it. A lot of the easy readers have, are movie tie-ins now.
Sarah: Yep. Because you know the story –
Sarah: – it, it helps with you pre-, predicting what the story is going to say, and then you learn the words that go along with the, the ones that you’re already aware of, that you’ve already heard.
Maureen: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Oh, you know, one thing I just thought of ‘cause it, it jumped up in my notes is, so there’s this, one of those skinny little chapter book series is called Rainbow Fairies.
Sarah: I was just going to ask you about that –
Sarah: – because I was in the library yesterday, and there was a woman sitting next to me in the, in the grownup chairs in the children’s library –
Sarah: – and to every librarian who has ever put really comfortable chairs for the grownups in the children’s library, you are so awesome, ‘cause, oh, my gosh, that chair was amazing and I didn’t want to leave – but this one little girl kept bringing books to her mom who was sitting next to me, and her mom was pretending to be all outraged. You can’t take this many books out of the library! Please, our library cards let us take, like, fifty books out.
Sarah: So she was totally pulling her daughter’s leg, but she kept bringing these fairy books –
Sarah: – and I was like, what, what, what? What are these? ‘Cause, you know, I got two boys. I have no –
Sarah: – no room for fairies. Please tell me more about these books, ‘cause they left before I could ask.
Maureen: Okay. So, Rainbow Fairies series is by Daisy Meadows, which just, it makes me laugh every time I see the covers, because Daisy Meadows? Seriously? Boy, you know that was a –
Sarah: It was like she was born to write a fairy series.
Maureen: Right. If she’s not, if she is a real person, she was totally born to write these, and if she’s not a real person and the publisher just sort of, like, made up a pseudonym, like for the Nan-, they did for the Nancy Drew books, that was freakin’ genius.
Sarah: Yeah, that’s a pretty good one.
Maureen: Anyway, the Rainbow Fairies, after the title and my notes, I have, oh, so God-damn-many Rainbow Fairies. This series goes on for a million years. And basically each book –
Sarah: [Laughs] Sorry, I’m just laughing. Go ahead.
Maureen: [Laughs] I have not read any of them yet, but I know – my little girls in my library, they’re just like, miss, where are the Rainbow Fairy books? I’m like, over there. Have at it! So, each book focuses on one Rainbow Fairy, and it’s stuff like Ivy the Christmas Fairy and Rhythm the Music Fairy and – I’m probably misquoting the titles, but they’re all like that, you know –
Maureen: – it’s Something the Something Fairy, and a number of these fairies, I noticed, are fairies of color. They –
Maureen: I have noticed some who are African-American fairies. I’ve noticed definitely variations in the hair color, not just, like, green and blue, but the, they, definitely there’s a variation in how they all look, and this is, you know, again, the publisher being smart, because they know that little girls are eating this up with a spoon, and those little girls –
Sarah: Ohhh, Stacey the Soccer Fairy has braids!
Sarah: Oh, my gosh, I am so excited right now, I might sneeze.
Sarah: This is amazing! Selena the Sleepover Fairy? Oh, come on!
Sarah: This is, like, little girl crack right here!
Maureen: It really, really is. It really is. And we have so many of them, and, you know, unless they are actually falling apart in my hand, I would never weed them, because – and by weeding I mean take them out of the library and discard them –
Sarah: Of course.
Maureen: I would never weed them, because the, this is what they want. This is what these little girls, they just go after it, and I remember one kid came in the other day, and she’s like, are there any Christmas fairy books? And I had to tell her, you know, sweetie, the 17,000 different Christmas fairies have all been checked out, because it is December 15th.
Sarah: Yep. Hey, is there a Hanukkah fairy?
Maureen: Might be!
Sarah: I’m going to have to look for the Hanukkah fairy.
Maureen: You will have to look for the Hanukkah fairy.
Sarah: ‘Cause that’s awesome.
Sarah: ‘Course, then I have to figure out how they spelled Hanukkah, ‘cause there’s one of, like, nine different ways to spell it. But anyway, so, Rainbow Fairies is a good option if you’re looking for a series for young girls that has a little bit more diversity than one might expect from children’s series literature.
Maureen: That’s a good one, and it’s just, like, you know – I think you were the one that mentioned, and I went, hey, that’s right – like, the Magic Tree House series. They’re very formulaic, but that’s very comforting. (FLAG _____ 10:17) –
Maureen: – because it’s predictable, and they can handle that while they’re still struggling with decoding the language.
Sarah: Absolutely. And I didn’t realize that when I was complaining about it. It took another librarian emailing me and saying, well, here’s why those work before I was like, oh, durr, of course!
Sarah: That makes complete sense, ‘cause my, my, like, sort of comfort familiarity was the Ramona Quimby books –
Sarah: – and then Sweet Valley High. When I out grew that –
Sarah: – my next, like, world comfort read-every-one-in-twenty-
Maureen: Mm-hmm. Yeah, well, for me it was the Babysitters’ Club, and I remember when I was reading those, I realized at some point that there was a formula to them –
Maureen: – and I just felt super smart for figuring out there was a formula, and I didn’t feel cheated, like, oh, they’re not being original or anything.
Sarah: Yep. And then there were, like, the spinoffs, ‘cause there were Sweet Valley Twins –
Maureen: Oh, God, yeah.
Sarah: – and then there was a Babysitters’ set of spinoffs. I mean, my God.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. The Babysitters’ Little Sister, whatever.
Maureen: I think there was a series about Dawn, which I, I never read myself. I might have heard it about, I may have heard about it on your podcast, and I was like, wait, what? They did what?
Sarah: I did not know that until the podcast either. There was totally a spinoff about Dawn in California. It’s like the, the Joey version of Friends?
Maureen: [Laughs] Yes.
Sarah: Only for the Babysitters’ Club. You know what? I bet somewhere, and if there isn’t, there is now, there’s Dawn and Joey fanfic.
Maureen: Oh, God. You saying that made it come into being.
Sarah: That’s right. I totally – somebody right now is like, I am writing it, thank you!
Maureen: I love it! It’s going to go up on fanfiction.net in an hour!
Sarah: Yep. Twenty-two minutes, here you go.
Sarah: I love this. Okay, what other books are you dying to tell us about?
Maureen: Dying to tell you about. In terms of, like, the easy chapter books kind of thing or just in general?
Sarah: In general. I’m really curious what, what you just, what you listed and why you listed it. Just bring it on.
Maureen: Okay. So, for picture books, one of my favorites of the last year was called Oliver and His Alligator.
Sarah: Oliver and His Alligator.
Maureen: Yes, by Paul Schmid – S-C-H-M-I-D –
Maureen: – and it’s about a little boy who’s very worried about going to school for the first time –
Maureen: – which is a reasonable thing. So he stops off at the pond and gets himself an alligator.
Sarah: Like you do.
Sarah: Yes. Who, who doesn’t do that?
Maureen: I totally want an alligator some days. And he takes this alligator to school, and any time someone talks to him or tries to engage him, because he’s a very shy little boy, he’s like, alligator, go eat the – he makes the alligator eat whoever is trying to talk to him. Of course, this means –
Sarah: I like this plan.
Maureen: Yes! And of course, this means by, you know, about lunchtime, he’s sitting all by himself in a totally lonely classroom. So, what do you do? He lets the alligator eat him, and then he can go hang out with all his new buddies inside the alligator’s belly.
Sarah: Of course!
Maureen: And it cracks me up in so many different ways because, obviously, I have a strange liking for books that feature teeth.
Maureen: You know, (FLAG _____ 13:11) picture books that feature some character getting eater, it’s a worrisome thing. I’ve accepted it about myself.
Sarah: Of course.
Maureen: The other thing is that, you know, this is a story about an introvert. This is a story about a very shy child who’s very worried about dealing with the outside world, and as someone who’s a bit of an introvert myself, and I’ve helped, I’ve worked with kids who are, like, you know, they walk into my story time for the first time, and they’re like, oh, dear God, there’s all these new people and this is a new place and this lady is asking me to do things, and I cannot deal. I think that there’s not, I think that when you find a book that sort of addresses the fears of a kid like that, then that’s very affirming.
Sarah: Oh, absolutely. I don’t know anyone who, like me, is a complete and total introvert. No, not at all.
Sarah: And I’m, I’m actually – but one of my sons is very much an introvert, and the other one is like, I don’t understand you, ‘cause he’s such an extrovert, so I have to deal with both –
Sarah: – especially being so much of an introvert myself. Like, my younger son is like, let’s go to the park and talk to people! And I’m like, let’s not, and say we did.
Maureen: Talk to people we don’t know.
Sarah: Yeah, um, you go do that. I’m going to bring a book, and –
Sarah: – and you go, you go play. Okay, bye!
Sarah: I mean, it, it’s, it’s good to have books that represent both perspectives.
Sarah: I love this. So, what’s next?
Maureen: One of my other favorites is called Z is for Moose, and it’s about a bunch of animals are putting on an alphabet book, basically. So you’ve got one animal that is organizing them and is like, okay, A animal, you go, get on the stage! And Moose cannot wait his turn. He’s like, is it time for me yet? Is it time for me yet? And about three or four letters in, he gets really impatient and starts crashing the other animals’ pages.
Maureen: Uh-huh. It’s hilarious and, you know, you can tell how much kids would identify with this very impatient moose, can’t wait his turn, and total mayhem. It’s also when you’re talking about starting to recognize letters and sounds. Does, you know, does queen begin with M? No, queen does not begin with M. What is Moose doing in there? And it’s very, very funny. And then at the end, of course, Moose has a total breakdown and he’s crying because he missed his turn at being, you know, the M, and I believe that Zebra, who is the organizer, comes up with the perfect plan.
Sarah: Oh! That’s awesome!
Maureen: Yeah, it’s very cute. The last picture book at least is called Tea with Grandpa. It’s by Barney Saltzberg, and it’s one of those, it’s kind of one of those, you’ve seen them many times, where a little girl is playing tea party with her grandfather and they go back and forth and would you like a cookie? And I’ll pour you some more tea, and how is your day? And it’s this very sweet, sort of grandparent-grandchild interaction. At the end of the book, on the last page, they pull back, and you realize that this whole interaction has been taking place in a Skype call.
Sarah: Ohhh, that’s adorable!
Maureen: Uh-huh! And I thought that was so perfect because I have a niece and a nephew who are very small right now. They live in Chicago, and, you know, my parents and I, we live in the Southwest.
Sarah: Of course.
Maureen: Long way away. We see them maybe once a year –
Maureen: – and this is increasingly the, the case for kids. In fact, I have kids who come to my library whose grandparents are not only in different time zones, they are on different continents.
Sarah: Oh, yes.
Maureen: So just having something that shows, you know, this is the way that you, this is the way that you interact with your grandparents.
Sarah: And then, and then any – okay, I’m, I am totally selfish in this perspective, but anything that shows that online interaction and online connection is just as valid –
Sarah: – it is important, because there are so many people who I consider my deepest and most close friends who I see twice a year and connect with online every day.
Sarah: And that is a perfectly valid friendship that doesn’t make it more or less real because we’re restricted by distance, you know?
Sarah: This –
Maureen: I’ve been in whole awards committees with people I’ve never met in person, but we do all our interaction in, online.
Sarah: Of course. And one of the things that I, that I am fascinated by in terms of, like, for example, how school policies take this into account –
Sarah: – and how libraries adapt is that the kids who are growing up right now have no idea what it’s like to not be connected to one another all over the world.
Sarah: Like, when I travel, my kids want to talk to me when it’s bedtime for them, and so they’ll –
Sarah: – they’ll, they’ll ask me to put things on my calendar in the right time zone so I can say good night to them and see them.
Sarah: That’s, that’s just as valid as me coming into their room and saying good night, it’s just as important, and they, they will never know what it’s like – lucky, lucky children –
Sarah: – to, to have a question and then have to wait to find the answer until some building is open where they can go find the answer.
Sarah: Like, any curiosity you have, any connection you want, can be immediately answered.
Sarah: That, that is a huge, huge deal, so to see, like, that kind of connection represented in books is adorable!
Maureen: It is!
Sarah: Oh, I love it.
Maureen: And riffing off that, I heard – and I want to say it was Hugh Jackman – when he’s working, if he is somewhere where he can’t go home and have dinner with his family –
Maureen: – his wife will bring the laptop to the table and have him call in on Skype, and then they all eat dinner together, which I think my ovaries just exploded.
Sarah: Yes. And I, I think it was Carrie that was saying that when we were talking about how we each define what’s hot.
Sarah: ‘Cause there was a whole discussion on the site about that, because we each, we each find things sexually attractive in different ways –
Sarah: – and there’s a sort of a general, here is the most sexy man alive, and I’m always kind of like, uh, okay.
Maureen: Oh, yeah.
Sarah: Nice, nice –
Maureen: Yeah, the Chris Hemsworth (FLAG _____ 18:51) –
Sarah: – developed trapezius muscle. Can we talk about the part where he was holding a puppy? ‘Cause that’s hot. You know, that’s the, that’s, everyone’s definition of sexy is so different, but Hugh Jackman wanting to have dinner with his family every night is the cutest thing.
Maureen: Oh, my God, I know. So, yeah.
Sarah: And it helps sort of –
Maureen: For those of you who –
Sarah: – and it helps combat that horrible other problem that literature has with fatherhood where –
Sarah: – you only see clueless, absent, emotionally disconnected, bumbling, ineffective fathers in so many media portrayals of, of parenting, and I’m like, the dads I know, I mean, I know so many stay-at-home dads. There are, there are moms I know whose, who the gender roles of breadwinner and homemaker are completely flipped –
Sarah: – and it’s totally cool, and you don’t see that represented.
Maureen: Oh, there’s a series – and this would go in the easy chapter book kind of thing – called Clementine, and this falls into the Ramona, Junie B. Jones sort of genre where it’s this spunky, smart, trouble-making little girl –
Maureen: – and her dad, and her mom too, I think, are the managers of an apartment building, so her dad is always, like, fixing things, but he is always around.
Maureen: Like, she’ll go to him, and he’ll be, like, working on the air conditioning system, and he’ll stop and, like, listen to, you know –
Maureen: – her talk about her problems with her best friend who is the upstairs neighbor who is bossy Margaret.
Sarah: And, and much like representations of diversity, it, it sucks when, as a parent, you don’t see yourself represented.
Sarah: You know, like, my, my husband is so tired of the bumbling, distant, emotionally, emotionally dysfunctional father portrayal. Like –
Sarah: He’s like, I try really hard not to be like that, and so many other men do too, and, yeah, thanks. [Laughs]
Maureen: Yeah. Oh, you know, another representation of diversity – and this goes back to what we were talking about, the introversion – is that, so there’s another series of the easy chapter books, and they’re, this is called the Alvin Ho series.
Sarah: [Gasps] I love Alvin Ho!
Maureen: Isn’t he adorable?
Sarah: He is the cutest thing! My, my older son, the introvert, is like, mom, I have these books, and I love them. And I was like, awesome! Tell me all about them. Oh, Alvin Ho is the best. I love him.
Maureen: Yes. I love that he’s like, you know, sometimes I get scared, and sometimes I cry, and then I feel better. And also, his dad is so sweet. His dad is like, you know, you act like a gentleman. If you need to cry, you go ahead, but you – you know, his dad was concerned with, you act like a good person, and his dad is all into history, and he’ll share that with him, and you can tell where Alvin is really into that because his dad is into that, because he’ll tell you just this random stuff about Massachusetts, I think, is where they live, right?
Sarah: Right, yes.
Maureen: Yes. He, he’ll just, like, spout this out in narration, so you know this is kind of sunk in from his dad.
Maureen: And his dad never says, don’t cry, be a man. Never, ever, ever says that.
Sarah: No, not at all.
Maureen: And obviously – I don’t know if readers can tell from the kid’s last name – they are Chinese-American. So I’ve noted then Geronimo Stilton – I don’t know if your boys have gotten into that –
Sarah: We are so into Geronimo and his Stilton.
Sarah: Especially because we, you have the, the library has those really durable hardcover kind of books. We love those.
Maureen: Yeah! The paperback versions of those don’t, don’t stand up. I think it’s because the paper’s really heavy –
Maureen: – and the glue holding it together is just, like, the normal glue, so they tend to fall apart fast, but if you can get the hardcover versions, those are nice.
Babymouse and Squish are by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm. They are a series of graphic novels for – and I put them by easy chapter books, but I think they also work up to a little older age up to about fifth grade. I heard someone talking about graphic novels and why they work for kids in a different way than just, like, straight-up text –
Maureen: – is because you have to do a lot of inferring. All you get is the, you know, the picture of what’s going on on the page, and you get the dialog. Occasionally, you get some internal narration, or in the case of Babymouse – I haven’t read Squish, I’ve just seen it on the shelf – in the case of Babymouse, there is a narrator that Babymouse interacts with sometimes, but other than that, you have to do all of, how is she feeling right at this moment?
Maureen: Why is her friend doing that? There’s no, kind of, explanation. You have to go, you know, she, you know, she’s freaking out right now, not because her locker won’t open, even though that is a normal thing that happens to her, but because she’s really worried about this other thing.
Sarah: Yep. There’s another graphic novel series that both of my kids enjoy. It’s called the Lunch Lady series.
Maureen: Oh, Jarrett K – I can’t pronounce his last name, and I feel so bad.
Sarah: I want to say it’s Kri-zoss-ka (Krosoczka)?
Sarah: That’s totally a guess on my part.
Maureen: There’s so many consonants in there, and you know, I was raised in the Detroit area with a lot of Polish last names, and I still cannot handle his last name. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh, yeah, I grew up in Pittsburgh, and we have a neighborhood that’s actually called Polish Hill.
Sarah: But, yeah, I’m pretty, ninety-, more like sixty percent sure that that’s Kri-zoss-ka, but either way, the Lunch Lady graphic novels are so awesome.
Maureen: They’re fun.
Sarah: Especially because it takes somebody whose job is often very underappreciated or, or denigrated, and it makes her into a superhero.
Maureen: She is.
Sarah: And I say anybody who feeds you is totally a superhero, but she’s like a superhero with, like, a tray that turns into a laptop.
Maureen: And I love, she’s got this little sidekick who’s like, here, Lunch Lady, here are the taco goggles.
Sarah: Yes! [Laughs]
Maureen: And (FLAG _____ 24:33) are so funny.
Sarah: And the illustrations do that same thing where you have to infer from what’s pictured what’s happening.
Sarah: So there’s not a lot of words, but it’s very easy to understand the story.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. And I think –
Sarah: My younger son thinks it’s really cool.
Maureen: And I think that’s also a valuable thing when it delved into, like, you know, teacher-y type stuff is the, the kids who might be on the autism spectrum, where – or even kids who just have a hard time figuring other people out.
Maureen: That’s valuable.
Sarah: Oh, it’s very valuable, ‘cause you’re reading facial cues.
Maureen: You’re, you can do that in a safe space, and you can talk with somebody about (FLAG _____ 25:12). You know, I think this is what’s going on with Babymouse and with Lunch Lady right now. Am, am I right?
Maureen: It’s a, it’s a way to practice that.
Sarah: And it’s also a way to understand how behavior affects other people –
Sarah: – when that behavior makes them look or act a certain way without words matching it.
Maureen: Yes. Yeah, there’s that.
Sarah: Okay, give me more, ‘cause this is – everyone’s like, oh, my God, this podcast is so expensive.
Maureen: [Laughs somewhat evilly]
Sarah: Yes, welcome to my world. Editing is just as expensive!
Maureen: Hey, you know, you do have a public library.
Sarah: Oh, yes.
Maureen: But, you know, if you buy for your, for your kids for Christmas, it does get expensive.
Sarah: We are really fortunate, too, because we live in a town that not only has a YA room and a juvenile floor, but we have a manga section that gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s so rad. Whoever, whoever is buying the, the manga section is, like, the greatest person ever.
Maureen: The kids, they just eat that up.
Sarah: It’s so true.
Maureen: It’s amazing. And I love that they have gotten away from, like, Americanizing the layout, where all the manga you buy now is the traditional Japanese back-to-front, or what we would consider back-to-front, and the kids pick that up and they read that, and they’re like, no big.
Sarah: Yeah, I know.
Maureen: And adults look at it, and they’re like, what is this madness?
Sarah: Yeah, it’s like a secret code.
Maureen: Okay, so, getting into sort of the middle grade novels, which is upper elementary/middle school kind of stuff?
Maureen: And there’s a few that I’ve loved this past year. One of my favorites, this is a series I’ve just finished up, and I have not read the third one, and it makes me cry real tears. It’s, the first book is called Dust Girl, the second is Golden Girl, and the last one is Bad Luck Girl, and this is by Sarah Zettel. Takes place in the Depression. The main character is a biracial girl, but she’s actually triracial because her white mother is human, her black father is a fairy.
Maureen: This is the American Fairy series, and it takes this whole traditional kind of Irish, the Seelie and Unseelie courts, and transplants them to America and then not ju-, it’s not just here’s these Irish fairies, they are plopped down in the middle of the New World, it takes these things that are very uniquely American and makes them part of the fairy world. Like, Hollywood, in the second book she goes to Hollywood, and it’s all the Unseelie court.
Sarah: Dude! I want to read this, like, right now!
Maureen: I know, right?! Right?
Sarah: Yeah! Yes, please!
Maureen: So much catnip. In the first book, there, there’s so much –
Sarah: Get in my eyeballs, now.
Maureen: – there’s so much about the music of the Depression. Like, I think I wrote a review of Dust Girl, and I linked a song that meant a lot in the story, a YouTube version of the song to the review. So I can’t wait to read the third one for obvious reasons because her, in the first book, she doesn’t even know that she’s half fairy because her father, like, took off, or what you find out is that he was kidnapped and he can’t contact them, and she’s never met him. So she is engaging with the fairy world for the first time.
Sarah: And from a place of hostility.
Sarah: Oh, wow.
Maureen: And at the end of the, of, I think it’s the end of the second book, she finally, like, her mom comes back, ‘cause her mom also disappeared at the beginning of the first book, and her dad is there, and you, you think everything is going to be hunky-dory, but they’re still treating her like a child, and she’s like, I’ve done things, man. So, I can’t wait for the third book.
Another one I loved is called The League of Seven, it’s by Alan Gratz, and this is a steampunk series, and it’s also an alternate history series. It takes place in kind of what would be the 1880s, I think, but this is a United States where right around the time of the initial Pilgrims and colonization, the U.S. got cut off from Europe, so they can’t go back. There’s, like, this big wall. Nobody can get through it, and they’re totally cut off from Europe. So rather than the history that we have now, where the Native Americans were completely overrun by the Europeans, the Native Americans basically adopted the Yankees as another tribe. So you have an alternate U.S., alternate steampunk-y, magical U.S., with, where most everybody is Native American, and the Yankees are considered another tribe.
Maureen: And they talk about, like, there’s the Iroquois tribe, and they, they have this stuff about the Iroquois Confederacy or the Iroquois Democracy.
Maureen: And it’s an adventure series, and they have to go and – rescuing parents is a big thing in middle-grade novels because without the parents you get to have so many more adventures –
Sarah: Oh, yes.
Maureen: – but you have to be rescuing the parents, because at the end, to make everything okay again, you need to have your parent, you need to be with your parents.
Maureen: So, I really enjoyed that, and I think that’s going to be another long-running series, but so far, that’s the first one that’s out.
Sarah: That’s very cool.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. And a little more realistic, there’s a couple of them, a book that just came out, I want to say April or so? It’s called The Great Greene Heist, and Greene is spelled with an E at the end. It’s by Varian Johnson, and this is basically Ocean’s Eleven set in middle school.
Maureen: [Laughs] And the other thing I loved about it, besides being a con romp, is that it’s a very, very diverse cast, but it’s not diverse as in, here is the black kid, and here is the Asian kid, and here is the Hispanic girl. It’s just, this is the way that his world looks. There’s other kinds of variations in there too, like the head cheerleader character, which in a lot of books she would have been the mean, shallow girl? She’s also the head of the Tech Club.
Sarah: Oh, cool!
Maureen: Super fun. And Dork Diaries is sort of a Wimpy Kid read-alike with a female main character. And (FLAG _____ 31:09-10)
Sarah: I’ve seen those.
Maureen: And that’s another one that the girls just come in and say, miss, where are the Dork Diaries, and I’m like, they’re in Rs, go find them.
Sarah: [Laughs] Who’s the author?
Maureen: Rachel Renée Russell.
Sarah: I should say that’s in the Rs. That’s definitely in the Rs.
Maureen: One more middle grade I want to mention.
Sarah: Please do.
Maureen: This is called, this is a series by Tim Federle, and the first one is Better Nate Than Ever, the second one is Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, and it’s about a boy who grew up in Pittsburgh –
Maureen: Yay! – and he wants to be a Broadway star. And in the first book, he does this quixotic mission where he, you know, gets on a bus by himself at the age of 11 or so and goes to New York City to audition for E.T.: The Musical.
Maureen: Uh-huh. And Tim Federle, I believe he was in or he’s still in, like, a working actor on Broadway, so he really knew the audition process, particularly for kids. Oh, no, you know what, his backstory is that he worked with the kids who were the stars in Billy Elliot.
Sarah: Oh, that’s cool!
Maureen: Mm-hmm. So he, he saw these kids, and he saw the audition process, and he saw what they went through. But the other thing I loved about this book is that Nate is at that point where he’s starting to notice, and he’s noticing boys.
Maureen: And this very developmentally appropriate development of his sexuality. He even says at one point, you know, I don’t know if I’m gay, it’s, it’s, the subject is off the table right now, but you can see in the, in the book and in the narration, he’s noticing boys the way that other boys his age are noticing girls, and that is so appropriate to me. Because a lot of books about sexuality, about LGBT, get shunted off into YA –
Sarah: I so agree with you. And you notice at the age, you notice who you’re interested in.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And they get shunted off into YA, and all of the interaction with, you know, other gay kids or other lesbian kids is kissing and making out and doing more, and this is just, this is the way that an 11-year-old starts to notice and interact with the gender, or genders, that he or she is attracted to. So I loved that. And it’s a very, very small part of that book, but it’s a part that obviously has gotten a lot of flak for the author.
Sarah: Yes, I have seen that there were people who were challenging the idea that sexuality would be part of a character who’s that age, and I’m like –
Sarah: – come on, have you, have you ever met kids that age?
Maureen: Yeah, you know. You know.
Sarah: I mean, how many, how many people in the very, very many It Gets Better videos said that they knew they were gay going back to when they were eight –
Sarah: – or nine, or seven, even. I mean –
Sarah: [Exasperated noise.]
Maureen: So, this is definitely not the first book that has done it, but there’s not a lot.
Sarah: Yeah. No, and those that do, the minute that part surfaces, people are like, what – even my dog is pissed off! – excuse me, gay books are okay.
Sarah: He’s like, I don’t give a crap, just tell the mailman to get off the porch.
Sarah: My dog doesn’t care if you’re gay; he just wants the mailman to go away.
Sarah: But, yeah, it, it’s normal, and yet, the, the minute that information surfaces, people are like, no! Nononono!
Maureen: All right, so getting into YA –
Sarah: Yes, please do! Get into YA! Get into all the YA –
Sarah: – and if you’re listening to this, don’t try to write and drive –
Sarah: – ‘cause all of these books’ll be linked to in the entry. Please don’t feel like you’ve got to write this down. I will list all of the books. Actually, if you can email me your list –
Maureen: Yeah, I could.
Sarah: – then I can add them to my repository, so yes –
Maureen: Okay. And there’s –
Sarah: – don’t write and drive.
Maureen: There’s some books on my list that I didn’t even talk about, so you get bonus content.
Sarah: [Gasps] Ooh! All right, bring it! YA.
Maureen: Okay. So YA, along the same lines as Better Nate Than Ever, there’s a, a book from a couple years ago called Marco Impossible, and the only reason I would put this in YA is ‘cause it’s the very end of eighth grade. This kid gets, suckers his best friend, who is the teller of the tale, suckers his best friend into this crazy plot to get his crush, who is a boy, to notice him at, like, the end of the year dance. It’s a very, very cute story, and the thing that I love about it is that besides the relationship between the two main boys – so Marco is the best friend and – oh, I’m blanking out on the, the narrator’s name, ‘cause I think it’s a first person narrator, so I always have a hard time remembering those kids’ names – but they have this wonderful friendship that’s just gone back years and years and years and years. Marco is going to another high school, so there’s also this feeling of everything is coming to an end, you know. This thing that we were, this best friendship that we were, this is all coming to an end, and I think at one point – you know, most of the book is very fun and goofy, but at one point, Marco and the best friend are talking, or Marco and the narrator are talking, and Marco says, you really have no idea what it’s been like, and it, and his friend says, yeah, I have, I’ve been right here the whole time. He’s like, yeah, but you haven’t been in my skin.
Maureen: You don’t know what it’s like. That’s why I’m going to this different school, because I thought I’d get away from this somehow.
Maureen: It’s this very serious moment in an otherwise really fun and sweet book, but I thought that was a really wonderful way of pointing out, you know, no matter how close you are to people, you don’t know what’s going on in their heads. You don’t know what they –
Maureen: – have to do every minute of the day. So there, that’s one, and like I said, that’s, I would consider that, like, an early YA? Almost a middle-grade novel? See, there’s some others. There’s a book called To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before; it’s by Jenny Han.
Maureen: [Laughs] And it’s about Lara Jean Song who is the second child in her family. Her older sister goes away to college, so all of a sudden she has to be the responsible one, and what she has done for years and years and years and years is when she gets a crush on a boy, she’ll, like, pine after him from afar, never does anything about it –
Maureen: – and, and when something happens that finally kills the crush, she will write him, like, this good-bye letter –
Maureen: – and she’ll put it in a hatbox and store it under her bed. She’ll put an address on it and everything. Can you – you can kind of see where this is going.
Sarah: I can see where this is going. This is, this was not a good plan.
Maureen: This is not a good plan, so –
Sarah: This is not a good plan.
Maureen: Obviously, what happens is that these letters get discovered and mailed.
Sarah: Of course. ‘Cause if you put addresses on them, clearly you want them to be mailed.
Maureen: Exactly! And then all of the boys that she formerly had crushes on, they all suddenly know about her feelings, which when you’re fifteen, sixteen years old is like, oh, dear God, the world has come to an end.
Sarah: Oh, yeah, you don’t want anyone knowing about your feelings.
Sarah: That’s like the, that’s like the fast onramp to complete humiliation.
Maureen: Exactly. And the, the worst part is, one of the letters was to her older sister’s boyfriend.
Sarah: Ohhh! That’s not good.
Maureen: Who is now the ex-boyfriend because the sister split up with him before she went to college.
Sarah: Oh, shit.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. Pretty much.
Sarah: That’s a problem. Yeah.
Maureen: So she does the only sensible thing, which is to get one of the other boys that she crushed on, that they have an okay friendship now, and say, pretend to be my boyfriend so my sister’s ex-boyfriend doesn’t think I’m still into him. Even though she sort of is.
Sarah: And of course she totally is, yes.
Maureen: Yes. And then what happened – and the, the other boy agrees to this because he just broke up with his girlfriend and wants to make her jealous.
Sarah: That always works out exactly the way characters want. Like, you’d think that there’d be some knowledge about this already.
Maureen: Exactly! [Laughs] So you could just imagine the mayhem.
Sarah: Ohhh, the angst.
Maureen: Oh, the angst –
Sarah: So much angst.
Maureen: – and the other part of it is that she is, at the beginning of the book she is very, very juvenile, and, like, she’s never had to confront her feelings about anything ever. She’s never had to be honest about the way that she feels with a boy, with her family. She’s never had to do that. This sort of pushes her into a place where she does have to be honest about it, and also in the, she also winds up, like, going and meeting, or otherwise seeing, a lot of these boys that she sent letters to and seeing where they are now, and it’s this sort of trip through, this is what I once thought was cool and sexy. And some of them are, have turned out great, and some of them have turned out terrible –
Maureen: – and it’s just, like – yeah, so literally, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, that, like the Willie Nelson song.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. So, and there’s another series, and I put – my notes on this one are just little cartoon hearts. (FLAG _____ 40:01)
Maureen: When I was reading this book, I told everybody, I have little cartoon hearts around my head for this book.
Maureen: It’s called Salvage, it’s by Alexandra Duncan, and it’s a sci-fi book, and it’s about a girl who lives in a spaceship, and this spaceship is organized in a very patriarchal, polygamous fashion. Like, she has a father, but he has, like, three or four wives –
Maureen: – and she has a number of brothers and sisters, and she has been told all her life you are going to marry a man; you might be his first wife, you might be his second wife, but your duty is to have the babies and look after the babies on the spaceship.
Sarah: Sounds great.
Maureen: Totally, right, and she falls in love with her best friend’s brother, and some things go down that she thinks that they’re, she’s going to get to marry him.
Maureen: So she does what sixteen-year-old girls in love do with him, and they’re discovered, and she gets exiled from the spaceship.
Maureen: She gets kicked off; they are literally going to airlock her. They’re going to shove her out an airlock into space.
Sarah: That’s intense.
Maureen: That’s messed up.
Sarah: Yeah, that’s quite a, a tough – and I’m sure nothing happens to him, right?
Maureen: Oh, no!
Sarah: Of course not.
Maureen: (FLAG _____ 41:16) spend most of the book, you don’t know what happened to him, and she thinks he got exiled. She thinks, oh, that he got exiled or killed. She just doesn’t know. And I’ll spoil a little bit: at the end of the book, she encounters him again and realizes that not only did nothing happen to him, he got to be frigging captain of his own frigging ship.
Sarah: [Gasps] Not cool.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. Not cool.
Sarah: And yet, predictable.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. She does not, obviously, get air-, shoved out an airlock, because that would be a very short book. What happens is that one of her aunties smuggles her to a space station that will get her down to the surface of Earth, and they’ve always been told, don’t go down to Earth, it would, it will spoil you, it would make you, you know, impure fallen women. And she’s already an impure fallen woman, so she gets smuggled off the spaceship down to Earth, and she encounters this completely different world. And she does not land in the middle of white-bread America.
Maureen: She lands in India.
Maureen: And it, you know, because this is I don’t know however many years in the future, it’s India with all these wonderful technological advances, but this is definitely still India.
Maureen: She has to basically figure out who she is now, because she’s always been told, you are going to marry somebody and have their babies and –
Sarah: And that’ll be your job.
Maureen: That will be your job, and you will be happy to do that job.
So there’s a couple of apocalypse novels, or there’s one series and one book that I wanted to recommend, and the first one is Ashfall by Mike Mullin. The second one is Ashen Winter. The third one is Sunrise. The volcano under Yellowstone blows, and the main character lives in Iowa, and so he’s not that far from ground zero, basically, and everything gets knocked back to the Stone Age.
Sarah: Damn it, Yellowstone.
Maureen: Right? Spoiling all our fun. Everything gets knocked back to the Stone Age, and what I really loved about this besides this very callow fourteen-year-old boy turning himself through blood and guts into somebody who can handle the Stone Age world – and there’s a little bit of cannibalism, too, just for funsies –
Sarah: It happens, you know.
Maureen: It happens.
Sarah: Just blame Yellowstone.
Maureen: And it’s definitely, especially, as it goes along, it’s definitely an older YA kind of book.
Sarah: Older YA, cool. Because of sex or violence or both?
Sarah: Got it.
Maureen: There’s, I think in the first book, there’s a scene where somebody is raped.
Sarah: Oy. Trigger warning, thank you, good to know.
Maureen: Yes, yes. There is a scene where somebody is raped. In the second and third book, he starts to have a sexual relationship with his girlfriend. You know, it’s not described in detail, but it –
Sarah: But it’s pretty clear what they’re doing.
Maureen: It’s pretty clear what they’re doing, and they act-, they even talk about birth control, because the girlfriend is like, I ain’t bringing a baby into this.
Sarah: Yeah, you don’t say.
Maureen: And the other apocalypse book is called The Living by Matt de la Peña, and Matt de la Peña is one of my favorite realistic authors because he often talks about being biracial. He is, his characters are often white and Hispanic or black and Hispanic, and he talks about being caught between those two worlds culturally, in your own identity, and things like that. So The Living is sort of in that vein but sort of not, because what happens is the main character, Shy, is a, he’s working on a cruise vessel. So he’s not the guy in the stateroom who gets to go to the buffet, he’s the guy who is handing you towels at the pool. So it’s this different view.
Maureen: Mm-hmm. And it’s this kid from San Diego, and he’s worried because before he left San Diego his nana was in the hospital with this terrible plague that’s happening, and you know, as if that weren’t enough ominous music for you, in the middle of the book, this giant tsunami hits the cruise ship.
Maureen: Very, very violent, very bloody. You know, definitely if you have a weak stomach, don’t read this one. It becomes a survival story, too. And the fact that it becomes a survival story doesn’t mean all of the cultural and ethnic and racial tensions are suddenly swept away.
Sarah: Of course not.
Maureen: Because there’s, I think there’s actually moments where, you know, somebody, they’re all fighting for their survival (FLAG _____ 45:34), and somebody basically ignores him because he’s this shy little brown kid.
Sarah: I mean –
Sarah: – I know that for me or even teenage me, that would not be a book that I could read ‘cause I’ve never really been able to read about entrails and things like that.
Sarah: I mean, I, it’s weird. Like, I can watch somebody have surgery while I’m eating spaghetti and it’s not a problem, but imagining it is, like, a zillion times worse in my brain.
Maureen: Oh, yeah, it’s us.
Sarah: Yeah, I can’t do it. I don’t know why I’m, why my brain works that way, but that is the way my brain works, so I know I couldn’t read that, but I can already think of, like, four people I know who would be like, put this in my eyeballs right now. Immediately, give me this book, now go away.
Maureen: And it, it got a lot of love from my corner of the blogosphere.
Maureen: Like, when it was coming out, people were like, oh, my God!
Maureen: This book!
Sarah: Isn’t it cool when that happens?
Maureen: One last one, and this is an author, she’s written a number of books, her name is Katie McGarry –
Sarah: Ohhh, we are very well familiar with Katie McGarry.
Maureen: Yes! This, this kind of goes back to the formula again that there’s always, like, one from the wrong side of the tracks or, and one from the “right” side of the tracks, and there’s, usually they’re both dealing with heavy stuff.
Maureen: Family stuff. The most recent one I read, Take Me On, the girl, I think her dad had actually lost his job, and she was incredibly frustrated with him because he wasn’t finding a job, and he was getting really depressed –
Maureen: – about not finding a job.
Maureen: And it’s like, holy crap, this happens every day.
Maureen: So her books, I just enjoy those very much.
Sarah: Her first one with Echo, Pushing the Limits, that book just blew my brain. It was amazing.
Maureen: One more thing. So, what I’m working on right now is I’m a first-round judge in a, an award called the Cybils, and that is an award that’s put out every year by kid lit bloggers, basically. So on January 1st, they always put out shortlists –
Maureen: – and the shortlists go through, from picture books all the way up to YA.
Maureen: There’s even a book app shortlist. So those shortlists, I’ve been told, are super-duper handy to teachers and librarians who want to find books that maybe have flown under the radar.
Sarah: Oh, cool!
Maureen: And a shortlist is about seven books or so. Five to seven books, it really depends. January 1st! And then February 14th, Valentine’s Day, they announce the winner in each category. You know, since October, I’ve been reading books for the speculative fiction, YA speculative fiction category. I encourage teachers and librarians who want something to add to their list, something to look out for, to go check out Cybils.com on January 1st and see what we came up with this year.
Sarah: Oh, I will totally do that. Thank you very much for the info!
Maureen: You’re welcome.
Sarah: ‘Cause you know, awards are super easy to do, and they don’t take any effort at all.
Sarah: No, it’s super easy to put those together.
Sarah: I’ve, it’s not, it’s like running a tournament, a March Madness tournament of romance novels. That takes, like, two seconds. No big deal.
Maureen: Right, right.
Sarah: And that is all for this week’s podcast entry. I hope that you enjoyed this episode. Thank you to Maureen for that long list of excellent recommendations. I hope you found something to either buy or read or both. I totally did. This is just as expensive for me to edit as it is for you to listen to; I hope you know that.
This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, publisher of My Cowboy Homecoming, the steamy new novel from Z. A. Maxfield, available now wherever eBooks are sold.
The music that you are listening to is Adeste Fiddles. Yeah, it’s so great. This is Deviations Project’s holiday album. It’s so awesome. There’s no better holiday album title than Adeste Fiddles. I just, I don’t think it can be topped, really. I don’t think it’s possible to do better. This particular track is kind of cool. I have a lot to say about it. So this is a piece of music from a score from a 1934 film from the Soviet Union called Lieutenant Kijé, and I want to thank Alina, also known as LJmysticowl, and Dahlia Adler for helping me with the pronunciation there. Sergei Prokofiev composed the score for the film, and the score has five parts. This is part four, it’s called “Troika,” and as I mentioned, this is being performed by Deviations Project. Given how they have taken existing traditional holiday melodies and transformed, I’m imagining that the original “Troika” composed by Prokofiev sounds a little different, but I think this one sounds pretty damn rad. I hope that you are enjoying it as much as I am.
I will not inflict my horrible stuffy voice upon you – well, actually, that’s not true. I am recording a lot of podcasts this week, coinciding with this epic cold that I have, so you’re going to listen to stuffy Sarah for a couple more episodes.
Next week we have an interview with Rose Lerner about the historicals that she is writing that were published a couple years ago and are being brought back to market now, and it seems like the market has caught up with what she’s been writing. So if you like interesting historicals in different settings, including the people who aren’t in the nobility, and you like heroines who are difficult and possibly connected to organized crime, you will like that very much.
I’m also recording an interview with Time’s Person of the Year. Yes way. I’m totally serious! Time’s Person of the Year were the people who fought Ebola, and author Jennifer McQuiston is one of them because she works for the CDC, and I have an interview with her as well. So that’ll be coming up the week after Christmas.
Until then, have a very Happy Hanukkah if you are celebrating. I hope you are getting ready for the holiday season, and wherever you are, Maureen and Jane and myself wish you the very best of reading. Have a great weekend.
[pretty damn rad music]
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.