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.

Podcast #7: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

An Interview with Jennifer Baker

For my seventh Dream Gardens podcast I interviewed writer, editor, and educator Jennifer Baker about Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe, a picture book for children inspired by the folktales  and landscape of Zimbabwe. It is Cinderella-like story about two sisters whose search for a mysterious king leads to many strange encounters and a discovery that what’s in your heart matters most of all. Jennifer is a panel organizer for the non-profit organization We Need Diverse Books, and host of the podcast Minorities in Publishing. Her website is called Jennifer N. Baker, which can be found at www.jennifernbaker.com.

All podcasts are now also available on iTunes and Stitcher. The next podcast will be published on February 15th, 2017.

Podcast #6: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

An Interview with Priya Chhaya

For my sixth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed historian and author Priya Chhaya about Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It is a historical children’s novel about a young girl living in German occupied Denmark in 1943. She finds herself unexpectedly thrown into the dangerous world of the underground resistance when her Jewish friend’s family must escape to Switzerland before they are rounded up by Nazi soldiers. Priya’s website is called Priya Chhaya, A Certain Point of View, which can be found at priyachhaya.com. Her blog, …this is what come next, can be found at thisiswhatcomesnext.com. The next podcast will be published on February 1st, 2017.