Podcast #12: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud

An Interview with David Neilsen

For my twelfth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author and storyteller David Neilsen about the children’s middle grade tale of the supernatural, The Screaming Staircase, Book One of the new Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathon Stroud.

The spooky novel was first published in 2013. Ghosts have been popping up all over England, and not the friendly variety.  So agencies dedicated to their removal having been popping up as well–including Lockwood and Co. The three young members of the new agency have a lot to prove, especially after a well-publicized disaster with a unruly spirit. So when the chance comes to investigate Combe Carey Hall–the most haunted house in the county and home of the dreaded Screaming Staircase–they jump at the chance.  But will the Hall be the start of pushing their ghost-hunting agency into the limelight, or will it be the end of the line not only for their business, but for the three of them as well?

David is a professional storyteller whose performances of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as his performance of Revolutionary War British General John Andre have been enjoyed throughout New York State. His own book, Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, is about a group of children who must find a way to thwart a mysterious doctor before everyone becomes captivated by his strange and ever-growing playground. The sequel, Beyond the Doors, will be available on August 1st, 2017. His website can be found at david-neilsen.com

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

Podcast #11: The BFG by Roald Dahl

An Interview with Ashley Mills Monaghan 

For my eleventh Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author Ashley Mills Monaghan about the children’s middle grade novel The BFG by Roald Dahl.

The classic novel was originally published in 1982, and more recently inspired the Steven Steilberg animated adaptation in 2016. The BFG, which stands for The Big Friendly Giant, is the story of the unusual companionship between a young orphan girl and, as you might guess, a big friendly giant. Together they must find a way to keep the other giants, who are much bigger and not at all friendly, from eating up any more “human beans”.  Along the way they discover where dreams can be captured and bottled up, why snozzcumbers should always be avoided,  what the joys of whizzpopping are, and who are the ones you can always count on when the going gets tough. It is a imaginative story with a big heart and a lot of big laughs.

Ashley’s own book, A Little Goes a Long Way, is about a boy named Fin and his dog Sausages searching for the things they’ll need to do the household chores. It has been written for children ages 2 to 6 as a fun way to start a discussion about the importance of conservation. Her website can be found at alittlegoesalongwaybook.com

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published April 20th, 2017.

Podcast #10: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

An Interview with Michelle Houts

For my tenth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author Michelle Houts about the children’s middle grade novel Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.

Originally published in 1975, Tuck Everlasting was republished in 2015 with a special 40th anniversary edition. The novel tells the fable-like story of a young girl named Winnie and her encounter with the remarkable Tuck family.  The Tucks have a secret, and its up to Winnie to help them keep it, particularly when a devious man in yellow threatens to expose them. Along the way, Winnie has to make a decision that will literally change her life forever. It is a book full of heart and adventure that raises a few big, not so easily answered questions about what it means to be alive.

Michelle’s own books include the middle grade novel Winterfrost, her middle grade biography Kammie on First: Baseball’s Dottie Kamenshek,  and her recent picture book When Grandma Gatewood Took a Hike. He website can be found at michellehouts.com/

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

Podcast #9: A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor

An Interview with Betsy Bird

For my ninth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed librarian and author Betsy Bird about the children’s picture book  A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays by Tasha Tudor.

First published in 1977,  A Time to Keep is a  nostalgic look back at life in the rural New England countryside.  In the picture book, a grandmother recounts a year of her life as a young girl to her grandchild. She recollects everything from sleigh rides during the Twelfth Night celebrations in January to family gatherings around a candlelit Christmas tree in December. Each month’s traditions and holidays are described and colorfully illustrated in loving detail . In addition, Betsy shares some of her reading recommendations for books from 2016.

Betsy’s website is called A Fuse 8 Production. It can be found through the School Library Journal at blogs.slj.com/afuse8production.

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

Podcast #8: Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

An Interview with Jen Garthe

For my eighth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed former teacher, aspiring writer, free-lance editor, and kids’ book enthusiast Jen Garthe about the middle grade children’s novel  Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson.  It is a story about three young boys who go on a quest to give their favorite teacher a memorable last day before she enters into treatment for a serious and life-threatening condition. Along the way, they have a few wild and unexpected adventures and remember the moments when Ms. Bixby helped shape their lives. They also discover that real meaning of courage, which is, in the words of Ms. Bixby’s favorite book, “when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Jen’s website is called A Bookish Nook, and it can be found at abookishnook.blogspot.com.

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