Aisha Saeed is one of the founding members of We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse narratives in children’s literature. With the publication of Written in the Stars, Saeed is now also a YA author.
In Susan Crawford's debut psychological thriller, a woman with bipolar disorder spirals in a manic episode as she struggles to determine whether or not she murdered her neighbor. We emailed the Atlanta-based author to ask a few questions about her debut, the unreliablity of her characters and more.
Susan Vaught is the author of several books for teens, including Trigger and Freaks Like Us, and is a neuropsychologist at a state psychiatric facility. Her novels often include fascinating ties to mental illness, but her first middle grade book, Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy, reveals a hilarious new side to the author. We needed to know more about Footer and her family, so we contacted the author, who lives on a farm in rural Kentucky.
David Arnold makes his YA debut with Mosquitoland, the tale of a teen runaway on a 947-mile journey to find her mother. It all begins on a Greyhound bus, but dangers big and small make Mim's journey treacherous and transformative. "I am Mary Iris Malone," our heroine says, "and I am not okay." Through letters to a character named Isabel, as well as through clever, authentic narration, she reveals the confusion, pain and heartwrenching vulnerabilities that spurred this epic journey. BookPage met Arnold when he came through Nashville promoting his book, and it was a delight to pick this new author's brain.
There's a moment in Kwame Alexander's middle grade novel, The Crossover, when protagonist Josh Bell's father is telling him all about jazz musician Horace Silver: "Josh, this cat is the real deal. / Listen to that piano, fast and free, / Just like you and JB on the court." Alexander's poetry is the real deal, and its action, energy and heart earned it the 2015 Newbery Medal as well as a Coretta Scott King Author Honor. Alexander told us all about what it's like to win the prestigious Newbery.
The sweet, crowned star of Dan Santat's picture book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, is a hero like no other—because he almost doesn't exist! Beekle's an imaginary friend with no child to imagine him, and so he leaves his fantastic island, full of other strange creatures like him, in search of a friend. It's so nice to be acknowledged, and there's no better nod than the 2015 Caldecott Medal! We contacted Santat in the whirlwind of his win.
Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun dazzled us with elegantly crafted prose and flawless narrative structure as it switched between the perspectives of twins Noah and Jude. Its captivating balance of heartbreak and hope garnered it the 2015 Printz Award, so we caught up with the San Francisco-based author to find out what it's like to win the Printz.
Do animals have a Santa Claus? This is just the sort of question Jan Brett would ask. In her new book, The Animals’ Santa, a young snowshoe hare in a cozy striped vest doesn’t believe all the other animals when they talk about Santa. Brett’s classic illustrations capture the precious details and gentle beauty of the snowy wood, and children will treasure this tale of believing in Christmas.
BookPage called Brett at home in Massachusetts to chat about this sweet Christmas story.
Without question, Tolkien set the standard for worldbuilding. Readers of epic fantasy aren’t content with a few generations of kings mentioned in some measly footnotes; they want a world so vast and detailed that it could be real. With Tolkien’s template in mind, George R.R. Martin addresses fans’ demands for a truly epic history.
Following her session at the 2014 Southern Festival of Books, BookPage spoke with author Lauren Oliver about her first book for adults, haunted houses, haunted families and much more.