Podcast #22: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

An Interview with Beth Vrabel

For my twenty-second Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author Beth Vrabel about one of her favorite children’s books,  The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.

Published in 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Wednesday Wars is a historical middle grade novel set in the 1967 – 68 school year in Long Island, New York.  Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader who thinks his teacher, Mrs. Baker, is out to get him.  Every Wednesday afternoon he’s stuck all alone with her while the other kids go to their religious education classes.  And every Wednesday she dishes out all kinds of horrible punishments upon him, like cleaning out the class rat cages, beating erasers and, even worse, reading Shakespeare!  But when Holling learns that Mrs. Baker’s husband is an MIA soldier in Vietnam, he starts to see her as a human being with joys and fears just like everyone else. Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the tumultuous late ’60s, The Wednesday Wars is a heartfelt and humorous story of one boy’s coming of age in a difficult time.

Beth Vrabel is author of such books as the Pack of Dorks series, A Blind Guide to Stinkville, and her most recent book, Caleb and Kit. You can find Beth’s website at www.bethvrabel.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 1st, 2017.

Podcast #21: Rules by Cynthia Lord

An Interview with Maria Dismondy

For my twenty-first Dream Gardens kid lit podcast, I interviewed author Maria Dismondy about one of her favorite children’s books,  Rules by Cynthia Lord.

Published in 2006 by Scholastic Press, Rules tells the story of twelve year old Catherine, who wishes she had more control over her messy life. Her autistic brother David consumes most of her parent’s attention, and the rules she tries to get him to abide to make him more “normal” never really work out for either one of them. But when two potential new friends turn up in her life, a girl who just moved next-door and a paraplegic boy who she can only communicate with by touching word cards, things start looking up. Except Catherine still has lot to learn about what it means to be a true friend, and that what “normal” looks like is not what she’d thought.

Maria Dismondy’s books include The Juice Box Bully, Chocolate Milk Por Favor, and her most recent book, Fruit Salad Friend.  In addition, Maria offers coaching services for published authors and is founder of the hybrid publishing company Cardinal Rule Press. You can find Maria’s website at mariadismondy.com.

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

Podcast #19: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

An Interview with Andrea Mack

For my nineteenth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author Andrea Mack about one of her favorite children’s books, the children’s adventure novel The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, which is Book One of the Ascendance series.

First published in 2012, this novel tells the story of a poor orphan boy named Sage who, along with three other orphans, finds himself plunked in the middle of a dangerous scheme. One of the boys will be chosen to impersonate a prince long thought to be dead. If Sage keeps his smart-aleck mouth shut long enough to be picked (fat chance of that!) he might help to keep the kingdom from being attacked. And if he doesn’t, he might might end up like the previous prince. Either way, he got to figure out how to be picked and at the same time keep the other orphan boys from meeting a bad end. It won’t be easy, and he’ll find there are a few surprises waiting in the wings.

Andrea Mack is author  of several picture books, such as Let’s Ride, the Joy the Tomboy series, and Super Tim Saves the Day. In addition she has written many articles and stories for educational publishers as well as beginner readers for ESL  students. You can find Andrea’s website at andrea-mack.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 September 16th, 2017.

Podcast #18: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 

An Interview with C. Lee Mckenzie

For my eighteenth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author C. Lee McKenzie about one of her favorite children’s books, the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, pseudonym of the of the British writer and mathematician Charles Dodgson.

First published in 1865, this classic tale of young girl’s adventure as she literally tumbles into a strange dream world continues to be read and to inspire countless other books, films, music and art throughout the world.  Her encounters with such off-beat characters  as the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Duchess, the Queen of Hearts, and the Cheshire Cat remain as just absurdly weird and as nonsensically funny as when it was first published. And though we don’t discuss it in the interview, Carroll’s follow up book,  titled Through the Looking Glass,  And What Alice Found There, is worth checking out as well.

C. Lee Mackenzie is author  of the middle grade fantasy adventure The Sign of the Green Dragon,  as well as several YA novels, including  Sudden Secrets and Sliding on the Edge. You can find Lee’s website at www.cleemckenziebooks.com

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

Podcast #17: Storm Boy by Colin Thiele

An Interview with Allison Tait

For my seventeenth Dream Gardens podcast, I interviewed author Allison Tait about one of her favorite children’s books, the Australian classic Storm Boy by Colin Thiele, illustrated by Robert Ingpen.

First published in 1963, the short book tells the story of a young boy who lives with his father on the isolated Southern coast of Australia.  One day, a mother pelican is shot, and the boy rescues her chicks and raises them. After growing up, one of pelicans, Mr. Percival, remains with the boy and becomes his closest friend.  And when a fishing boat is threaten to be shipwrecked on the coast, the two of them jump into the fray. What happens after that will change both of their lives forever.  For over fifty years this narrative has been beloved by children and adults alike for its lyricism, and for its timeless narrative of friendship,  adventure, and heartbreak.

Allison Tait is author of the middle grade adventure series The Mapmaker Chronicles, which includes the books Race to the End of the World, Prisoner of Black Hawk, Breath of the Dragon, and the recently published Beyond the Edge of the Map .  She is also host of the podcast series So You Want to be a Writer along with Valerie Khoo of the Australian Writers’ Centre, which is available on itunes. You can find Allison’s website at allisontait.com and the website for her book series at themapmakerchronicles.com.

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