Every fall I teach a class at
Hogwarts Chatham University’s MFA program. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with young writers and talk about children’s literature! This year, I’m shaking up my standard reading list, and I thought I’d share it for those who want to play at home:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Peter & Wendy by JM Barrie
Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
Charlotte’s Web by EB White
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls (movie) dir. JA Bayona
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird
A lot of thought goes into the selection of a reading list. Even the best books can get stale over time, and it’s important to strike a balance between books that teach well (Peter Pan, Charlotte’s Web) and books that excite me (A Monster Calls, Crenshaw). This year, I decided to multitask and include a number of books that tie into my own current work in progress … which is to say that there are CLUES about my next novel buried in this list!
Last week I flew to DC to sit down with Raymond Arroyo on his show The World Over. I met Raymond at the LA Times Festival of Books last spring, and he’s a great guy who asks good questions … a few of which caught me off guard! Check it out!
Woke up this morning to find that The Night Gardener had made the NYT Bestseller list!!!
I had a great chat with Rege Behe from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about Sophie Quire and the power of stories–including this bit about the inspiration behind the whole book:
Jonathan Auxier’s mother, Doris Hutton, was raised on a wheat farm in a remote part of North Dakota. Hutton grew up in a strict and hard-working Catholic family where books and education were not the top priorities.
Somehow, Hutton became an avid reader, even though she had limited access to books and no one with whom to share her love of reading. By the time she was 15, she had read every book in the area’s tiny library.
There was literally nothing left for her to read.
“Every time she would tell me about that, I would always add a ‘what if’ to it,” says Auxier, the author the new young-adult novel “Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard” (Amulet Books, $18.95). “I literally imagined, what if she found one last book and if it was more than just a story.
So … I have another book coming out this year! It’s an installment in the juggernaut Spirit Animals series, created by Brandon Mull. It’s a fantasy series about a band of kids who each have magical animal companions. It was really fun taking a break from my own characters to spend a little time in another author’s world–I even got to kill off a main character! (True story: freedom to kill a character was a requirement for my taking the job.) Here’s a summary from the astonishingly comprehensive Spirit Animals fan wiki, which I used quite a bit while writing the book:
Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan are four heroes who are split between worlds, braving separate paths in order to stop this evil. With a strange and unlikely new group of allies behind them, the young guardians have a real chance at saving their home—but they will have to move fast.
An ancient trap exists, hidden within the folds of Erdas itself. Though it has the power to end this war for good, the means of starting the trap have been lost. The young heroes only have one shot. They must work with their spirit animals to uncover a secret older than time. If they can’t, then everything will be consumed.
Find out more over here!