Podcast #24: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

An Interview with Denise Vega

For my twenty-forth Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author Denise Vega about one of her favorite children’s books,  The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin.

Published in 2015, The Thing About Jellyfish is a story of a young girl trying to make sense of her own guilt and grief.  Suzy Swanson and Franny Jackson were the best of friends growing up, but after a particularly awful falling out in middle school, they aren’t anymore. Then Suzy learns Franny has drowned while on vacation, and she doesn’t know what to do. First she stops speaking. Then she latches onto an idea while visiting an aquarium that Franny’s death must have been caused by a jellyfish sting. She becomes obsessed about proving this theory, and cooks up an outlandish scheme to make it happen. But what she learns is not what she expects. The Thing About Jellyfish is a story about lost friendships and new friendships, unsatisfactory answers to impossible questions, the loneliness of being different, and of course jellyfish.

Denise Vega is the author of several YA, middle grade and picture books, including Fact of Life #31, Click Here: To Find Out How I Survived 7th Grade, and her latest book, a picture book titled If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed.  She also provides a manuscript critique and consultation service for other authors. You can find Denise’s website at www.denisevega.com.

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published on December 1st, 2017.

Podcast #23: Beautiful Joe: A Dog’s Own Story by Marshall Saunders

An Interview with Charlotte Bennardo

For my twenty-third Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author Charlotte Bennardo about one of her favorite children’s books,  Beautiful Joe: A Dog’s Own Story by Margaret Marshall Saunders.

Beautiful Joe is the fictional autobiography of a dog named Joe, based on an real-life incident told to the author. The book was originally published in 1893 under the name Marshall Saunders because Margaret did not think most people at that time would read a book written by woman.  In it, Joe relates his harrowing life as a puppy living with an owner who abuses and disfigures him.  But he is rescued by a loving family whose home brims with animals of all kinds,  and for whom the welfare of animals is a paramount concern. There Joe makes friends with the other dogs, horses, and birds that populate the household, and has many adventures.  Beautiful Joe  was a best-selling book in Canada for many years after its publication, and in 1995 a Beautiful Joe Society was created to maintain Joe’s memory and to establish a museum in the house where the original Joe lived.

Charlotte Bennardo is author of such books as the Evolution Revolution series, including Simple Machines, Simple Plans, and Simple Lessons. She is also co-author of Blonde OPS and the Sirenz series . You can find Charlotte’s website at charlotteebennardo.blogspot.com.

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published on November 16th, 2017.