Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Birdsall interview

Tracy Grant interviews Jeanne Birdsall for the Washington Post today. Here are some highlights:
  • TG: Are you working on a sequel to "The Penderwicks"? JB: YES! I think I'm about halfway through. It's hard to tell because I work vaguely from start to finish. But I also find myself going back. Something will happen in Chapter 12 that will make me go back and change something in Chapter 3, which then means I need to change something in Chapter 6. It's a kneading process.
  • TG: Why do you think "The Penderwicks" has been so successful?
    JB: When I sat down to write a children's book, the only path I understood was to write the kind of books that I loved as a child. So . . . I wrote from my heart and memory. It's a very child-centric book . . . and I think maybe that's what children are responding to. I was never interested in the books where the adults had a large role. I was interested in children having crazy adventures and figuring things out.

I really appreciate her response to the second questions. Kids books really do have to be about the children to be successful. An ever-present adult can really be annoying unless the adult is childlike as well.

"KidsPost," also in today's "Style" sections, provides more information about The Penderwicks author. Birdsall's neighbors include Jane Yolen and Eric Carle and her favorite food is macaroni and cheese.