I’m excited to share my latest release with you—a short new book for young readers called WORDQUAKE.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION?
I initially drafted WORDQUAKE last winter. I was doing a bunch of Skypes at the time. My debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, had been placed on several state reading lists, so I was regularly getting requests to talk to elementary classrooms and reading groups. Frequently, I was meeting with groups of reluctant readers—one librarian described her group as “kinda readers”—they kinda-sorta liked to read. Also, at the time, I happened to see a few Tweets from teachers just observing how frequently the protagonists of MG novels were readers—or really great students. And I wondered—is that a part of the reason why kinda-sorta readers keep gravitating away from books? They’re not seeing themselves in the main characters? That’s when I started brainstorming. I knew I wanted a shorter read—I certainly felt a shorter read would be more appealing to those who weren’t natural readers themselves. And I also wanted a main character who’d rather be anywhere than the library.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Izzy Ashby is a girl who doesn’t like to read at all. One day, Izzy accidentally shakes the words out of every textbook, worksheet, notebook, chalkboard, and bulletin board throughout Eastwood Elementary. For a girl like Izzy, this seems to be a dream come true! At least, until utter chaos ensues.
MY FIRST ILLUSTRATED WORK
I put the book up as an e-read last winter, and had several teachers use the book—tell me how much their students were enjoying it. And now that I’m moving my independent work into the print format, I knew that I had to get WORDQUAKE into print as well.
Those of you who have shared my books for young readers with your own kids or students or younger library visitors know that I pretty frequently gravitate toward art as a subject matter. My first novel ever was a YA that features a teenage artist, and my MG, THE JUNCTION, also features a young girl who becomes a folk artist with her grandfather. I’ve always loved it myself, took a ton of art classes throughout school, but never really had an opportunity to incorporate it into my writing.
One of the coolest parts of going indie is that the possibilities for a writer are limitless—the only thing holding you back is you. So I took the plunge into digital art: I did a bit of research, got a Wacom drawing tablet and software and started in, illustrating WORDQUAKE.
WE’VE READ YOUR WRITING, BUT WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
I had those not-straight-A students in my head again as I started to sketch out illustrations. Those students who were not quite seeing themselves in the pages of their books. And I knew I didn’t want the illustrations to look perfect. I wanted them to look accessible. I think, at times, things that are too polished can occasionally be discouraging to some students—especially those who aren’t straight-A students. That’s not the effect I wanted this book to have at all. I wanted students to be inspired to pick up a pen and put it to paper in some way. I’ve also long appreciated the quick, simple style of Liza Donnelly, who is a cartoonist for THE NEW YORKER. So with that in mind, I drew simple graphics and illustrations of my own to accompany WORDQUAKE.
WHERE CAN WE FIND WORDQUAKE?
WORDQUAKE is available in paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For those who use the book in classrooms or reading groups, I'd love to Skype with your own young readers. Feel free to get in touch at my website: hollyschindler.com or email me directly at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
ENTER TO WIN!
I'm running a giveaway of a signed copy of WORDQUAKE! Use the form below OR leave a comment to enter:a Rafflecopter giveaway