What Writers Read: Ellen Schwartz

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!

Ellen Schwartz

What books are on your end table right now?
I just finished rereading Mary Stewart’s trilogy about King Arthur (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment) — just as good as I remembered. Now I’m reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I had never heard of it or him, but saw it on a library shelf and grabbed it on a whim. Plus I always have a New Yorker on my night table — I’m only four months behind!

Who’s your favourite author/illustrator of all time?
I don’t know if she’s my favourite author of all time, but my favourite children’s book of all time is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I go back to it over and over, partly to try to figure out how she does it but mostly for the pleasure of the reading.

Which is best: hardcover, softcover, or e-book?
Hardcover by far. I just bought my first e-reader to use when traveling and quite like it. But nothing beats a real live book.

If you could have dinner with three writers or illustrators, whom would you choose?
Maurice Sendak, David Mitchell, Rosemary Sutcliffe.

What series did you read growing up?
Nancy Drew. That was about all there was, other than the Bobbsey Twins (too young and too sappy) and the Hardy Boys (for boys — no self-respecting nine-year-old girl would be caught dead with one, though now I suspect they were at least as good — or as bad — as the Nancy Drews). Perhaps it’s a good thing that there weren’t many series, though, because I quickly moved on to the classics — Little Women, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, David Copperfield, Green Mansions

To learn more about Ellen and her books, please visit her website.
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