Author Talk

Leonard S. Marcus, Editor
Leonard S. Marcus, Editor Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $22 (112p) ISBN 978-0-689-81383-2
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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Marcus here compiles brief interviews with 15 well-known children's book authors. Using a similar set of questions for each interview, he offers a sense of the diversity of approaches to the writing life and balances his queries between those pertaining to the writers' childhoods and to their current careers. The authors' responses are insightful and often humorous: Blume explains her inventive approach to sixth grade book reports, ""I didn't want to report on the books I was reading, so I made up books for my reports, coming up with a title, an author, a theme, and the major characters""; James Howe offers advice to aspiring young writers (""Writing is like digging in the sand for buried treasure: You have to be willing to do a lot of digging. Most of what you unearth won't glitter""); and Ann M. Martin comments that, as a child, ""I didn't see writing as a career option. For a long time, I think I thought all writers were dead!"" Marcus uncovers some intriguing morsels: when E.L. Konigsburg published her first two novels in 1967, one won the Newbery Medal, the other a Newbery Honor citation, and Russell Freedman retypes each of his book manuscripts on an antique typewriter at least four times. In addition to the editor's well-crafted introductions to the writers, the volume contains contemporary photos and childhood snapshots, reproductions of edited manuscript pages and a selected bibliography of each author's oeuvre. An excellent choice for aspiring writers and avid readers. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
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