What do children’s writers and illustrators read in their spare time? In this series of interviews with B.C. book folks, we discuss everything from guilty reading pleasures to the best literary villains. If you’d like to share some favourites of your own, please leave a comment!
What books are on your end table right now?
Every time the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Book News comes out, I go through the magazine and circle all the books I want to read. A few days later, I have several stacks piled under my bed, and I spend every free moment enjoying them until the next Book News comes out.
Right now, though, I’ve taken a break from reading until I finish writing this draft of my novel. When I’m in the early draft stages, I can’t read other people’s beautiful work without thinking mine is terrible, so I stop reading altogether for a time, and instead I spend my spare moments singing and drawing and riding my bicycle.
I still have a long list of books I’d like to read when I’m finished this draft, though, including Run, Marco, Run by Norma Charles, Shattered by Sarah Harvey, Escape Velocity by Robin Stevenson, Saving Armpit by Natalie Hyde, and Miracleville by Monique Polak.
Which is best: hardcover, softcover, or e-book?
Softcover. Small, portable, smells like book, and never has to be recharged.
Who’s your favourite literary hero?
This changes on an almost daily basis. Right now, my literary hero is Fix-It Duck (by Jez Alborough) because he blithely goes through life trying to help others and gets into some hilarious fixes in the meantime. I admire his ability to go with the flow, get swept up in generosity, and make me laugh. All admirable qualities, I think!
Who’s your favourite author of all time?
Deborah Ellis. She writes stories about kids around the world, bringing her readers to places they might never otherwise have seen and turning us into people we might never otherwise have been. She’s a brave writer who dives into huge conflicts and handles them with skill and honesty. Her work does what the best stories always do: reminds us that stories are never just about “other people,” but rather about what it is to be human.
Do you have a guilty reading pleasure?
My twinges of guilt come mostly from what I don’t read, and that includes most books written for grown-ups. I often feel like I should round out my reading repertoire and be familiar with what’s going on in the adult literary scene, but with so many fantastic children’s books available, I can’t bear to pull myself away to read the adult stuff!