Podcast #27: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

An Interview with E. Lockhart

For my twenty-seventh Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author E. Lockhart about one of her favorite YA graphic novels,  Nimona by Noelle Steveson.

Published in 2015, Nimona originally started as a Web comic in 2012, telling the story of shapeshifter and sidekick wannabe Nimona, who attaches herself to the super villain Lord Ballister Blackheart in his quest to undermine the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics, and in particular, his old nemesis Sir Goldenloin. But even for a villain like Blackheart, Nimona’s impulsiveness and tendency to cut a wide swath of destruction whenever she leaps into the fray is all a bit too much.  However, when they stumble across a dangerous secret at the Institute, everything turns upside down, and nothing will ever be the same again, especially Nimona.   Nimona is a book that is both funny and frightening, and whatever else you may think of Nimona, she is a true original  character not easily forgotten.

E. Lockhart’s books include the New York Times bestseller We Were Liars and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which was a Printz Award honor book, a National Book Award finalist, and recipient of the Cybils Award for best young adult novel.  Her latest novel is the young adult suspense novel Genuine Fraud, published this year by Penguin Random House. In addition, she teaches creative writing at Hamline University’s low-residency MFA program in Writing for Children. You can find E. Lockhart’s website at http://www.emilylockhart.com/.

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published on February 1st, 2018.

Podcast #26: Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants by Sam Swope

An Interview with Roxanne Hsu Feldman

For my twenty-sixth Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed librarian Roxanne Hsu Feldman about one of her favorite children’s books,  Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants by Sam Swope.

Published in 2004, Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants borrows story elements from Jack the Giant Slayer and Jack and the Beanstalk to tell the tale of a boy (named Jack of course) who’s blamed for the sudden appearance of seven deadly giants in the countryside. “Bad attracts bad,” is what he’s told, so he takes off on the back of a magic cow in search of the mother who abandoned him when he was a babe. One by one he encounters the giants, such as The Terrible Glutton, The Wild Tickler,  and Orgulla the Great. And one by one, using only his wits, as well as a bit of luck, he defeats them, until he encounters the Green Queen and makes a surprising discovery. Jack and the Seven Deadly Giants is a lively and humorous book, especially when done as a read-aloud.

Roxanne Hsu Feldman is a middle school librarian at the Dalton School in NYC. In addition, Roxanne has served on several book awards committees over the years, such as the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, Notable Books for Children, and the Newburys. You can find Roxanne’s contributions for the blog Heavy Medals at blogs.slj.com/heavymedal.

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe. The next podcast will be published on January 16th, 2018.

Podcast #25: Ivy and Bean – No News is Good News by Annie Barrows

An Interview with Jane Smith

For my twenty-fifth Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author and illustrator Jane Smith about one of her favorite children’s books,  Ivy and Bean – No News is Good News,  written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Published in 2011 by Chronicle Books, Ivy and Bean – No News is Good News is the eighth book of the Ivy and Bean series.  Ivy and Bean are the best of friends, even if the only thing they have in common is a knack for getting into trouble. In this book, the girls  are determined to find a way to earn money to buy the red-wax covered little cheeses that are all the craze at their school. Their idea?  To snoop on their neighbors in Pancake Court and showcase all the juicy details in a newspaper called The Flipping Pancake. After all, what could go wrong?  As it turns out, just about everything.

You can find Jane’s website at superjane.com. Her latest books It’s Halloween Chloe Zoe  and It’s Thanksgiving Chloe Zoe, as well as other books in the Cloe Zoe series, are available at Albert Whitman  and Company’s website, which you can find at www.albertwhitman.com/series/other-series/chloe-zoe.

All podcasts are available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please link, share, comment, or subscribe.

I will be taking a holiday break from podcasting for the rest of December, but the Dream Gardens podcast will return on January 2nd, 2018 to start off the new year.  Until then, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Podcast #24: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

An Interview with Denise Vega

For my twenty-fourth 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.