My favorite thing about Auggie, the star of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, is her positive outlook--and the way she never sees things as they are but as they can be. Auggie looks at a rusted pipe and thinks, "Flower." Or, "Wind chime." Or, "A woman dancing." If she didn't have that kind of outlook, she'd never become a folk artist.

My favorite thing about Izzy, the main character of WORDQUAKE, is that she'd open-minded. As the story opens, she considers books to be nothing more than dusty, mind-numbing old weekend-stealers written by dead guys who'd probably bored themselves to death.

The adventure she embarks on shows her a new way to look at the written word, though. And Izzy lets it. I mean, a character can go on the world's most amazing journey--but if he or she is close-minded, they'll miss out on seeing the world from a new angle. They'll miss out on letting that adventure have an impact on them. Not Izzy, though. She lets the events of a single day change, that you just can't help but admire.