Tag Archives: The Book Thief

being a giver…

26 Apr

Monday night I had the distinct pleasure of being a “Book Giver” for World Book Night.

The idea was simple and powerful. I was given a box of 20 copies of The Hunger Games (yes, I was squealing like a teenage girl!) to give away to random people…reluctant readers, readers who might not necessarily be able to get their hands on a book, or whomever I thought might just need a random act of bookness as part of their Monday night.

First, let me tell you I love this book…OK, I’ll say it…I’m obsessed with this book and all things related to it. So how cool that I found myself  holding copies in my hand that would allow me to share something so exciting with others?!

(my box of books just before distribution...and look at the fun cover!)

What might be even cooler is that there were something like 50 people chosen to do this (with a wide variety of titles…check them all out on the website) all over Cedar Rapids. Think about that…1,000 books were given out on Monday night right here in my hometown. It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it. Cedar Rapids was, in fact, one of the top twenty-five cities in the world participating in this event!

My dear friend Sara (whom I’ve gone on literary adventures with before) was also a giver (handing out The Book Thief…another of my favs and a must read). We decided to make a stop at Foundation 2, a local emergency shelter for youth between the ages of 11 and 17, who are experiencing a personal or family crisis, which makes it necessary to temporarily live away from home. I’ve known about this organization for quite some time and value the work they do in our community. We thought those kids just might like a new book on a random Monday night.

As soon as we set foot inside the door and mentioned free books the teens swarmed us like tracker jackers (oh but not venomous and out to kill us…bad analogy!) Let’s just say they were eager to get a copy and it was such fun handing the books out. But the best part was they’d take the book from us–very graciously I might add–then plop down on the couch, flip it open and start reading. Right then and there. Magical! And exactly the point.

Next Sara and I stopped to visit our old high school English teacher and surprise her with some books that she could then share with others. She was delighted. As we chatted it struck me that it was a very neat moment to be sharing with someone who helped shape and inspire my love of literature, especially young adult novels (with strong female protagonists I might add.)

As expected the whole thing was an awesome experience and I can’t wait for the official World Book Night to roll around again.

Maybe next year you’ll join me!

My main man, er, boy…

7 Jun

So, the main character of “Evelyn’s Drawings Can’t Swim” is a 12-year-old boy named Noah.

You might be asking yourself where I get the authority to create a 12-year-old character anyway?

Interesting you should ask. This past weekend I just finished reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak—which is a captivating novel and masterfully written story that I would highly recommend—in which Zusak tells the story of a young girl (who is 14 years old at the end of the story.) As I was reading I was thinking the same thing about him…how did he create and relate to a young girl as an adult male writer?

For me there are several answers to the question…

For starters, I need my main character to be about the age of the children that I hope read this story. They need someone to relate to, who thinks and acts like them in the situations he will encounter; who is learning about himself and the world around him in the same way they are.

My second answer to how I am able to create a believable 12-year-old boy as my main character lies in the fact that I am lucky enough to be related to several boys this age. I have the honor of being the oldest of 28 grandchildren so several of my cousins are currently living the pre-adolescent dream. They remind me often of what it is like to be this age and I am thankful to have them to bounce ideas off of.

And finally I would simply say it is the magic of writing and story-telling. There is great power in words and well-crafted descriptions. And each day I am getting to know my main character more and more. I find out what he is thinking and feeling and hoping and I look forward to sharing that with my readers.

My new friend Noah plays around in my mind often (especially when I am trying to fall asleep.) And just like with my own children, I am really excited to watch him grow as he takes on the adventure that is “Evelyn’s Drawings Can’t Swim”.

I hope you are too!