Joan David

Joan David

We Should Have Each Had Good and Bad Experiences to Enrich Our Mind by emaly su

Food related memory: At one of those elegant dinners that publishers put on for their authors at the NCTE Annual Convention, Joan Bauer jumped up after we finished our desserts and helped the waitresses bus our table. To everyone's amazement she proved that just like Hope in Hope Was Here, she really can balance eight plates on one arm.

These incidents are just a sampling of how over the years we have come to know YA authors in ways we could never have known Herman Melville or Geoffrey Chaucer. We've also learned that when Jack Gantos is away from home, even though he is terribly lonely for his wife, Ann, and his daughter, Mabel, this doesn't keep him from visiting eyeball to eyeball with aspiring middle school authors and treating them like colleagues as they compare notes on their respective authorial problems.

Gary Paulsen has a heart of gold and is a big teddy bear, but he turns into a grizzly bear if he thinks kids are being mistreated or disrespected. Sharon Draper has the patience of Job and will do anything to encourage new teachers. Chris Crutcher, when he is at home in Spokane, Washington, works every day as a counselor in a clinic to help kids and parents in dysfunctional families.

He is the most generous and down to earth person you could ever hope to meet. PJ Haarsma, who has created a free online video game to go with his Soft wire science fiction series, will talk books, science fiction, and video games with teenagers in a bookstore parking lot or at a comic book convention until his impatient hosts drag him away. Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith turned their backs on lucrative careers as attorneys to follow their hearts and write for kids. David Lubar loves to fish. Jordan Sonnenblick loves kids and teachers (he still teaches middle school) and is a heck of a guitar player.

Gary Soto does volunteer work for the California Rural Legal Assistance and the United Farm Workers of America and cares deeply about kids. Cynthia Kadohata loves children and dogs. David Almond loves to hike in the wilderness, an interest that last year brought him closer than he wanted to a mountain lion in Arizona's Sabino Canyon! M.T. Anderson knows more about literature and philosophy than 95% of all university professors.

Sara Holbrook is as kind as she is friendlyâ€"and funny. Chris Crowe was a football lineman for Brigham Young University. David Harrison loves kids and runs a concrete block factory in Springfield, Missouri. Ralph Fletcher was a clam digger in the summers off Long Island. Nancy Farmer has looked both an African rhino and an African guerilla mercenary in the eye and lived to tell about it. Shannon Hale is a great mom and a great writerâ€" she brought her four month old daughter when she came on a one day book tour from Salt Lake to Tempe. Polly Horvath has a delightful sense of humor. Pete Hautman knows poker. Helen Hemphill knows cowboys.

Will and Jean Hobbs have actually done almost everything in Will's books. Ron Koertge wrote for the Hill Street Blues television program. Ursula Le Guin may not make a lot of appearances, but when she does she's gracious and inspiring. Robert Lipsyte can tell sports stories about famous athletes from firsthand experience. Graham Salisbury knows about the sea and fishing from real experience.

Linda Sue Park likes guacamole. William Sleator's real life has been even funnier and more interesting than his books. And Nikki Grimes sang on the stage of the Stockholm Philharmonic in Sweden.

Learning these things are the good parts about working with living authors, but there are also some bad parts. Our purpose in this article is to write about different kinds of experiencesâ€"and yes, we have each had good and bad experiences, which we will tell you about in hopes of ensuring that you have more of the good kind.

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