Saturday, September 25, 2021

Childhood Memory in The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky (Holly Schindler)

 I rarely ever dropkick anything from my real life into my work.

Once I started doing classroom visits for The Junction, though, I kept getting a line of questions that were really surprising to me:

They were all questions about Victoria, Auggie's nemesis:

 

Why was Victoria so mean? 

Why did you make Victoria the way she is?

Why did you include Victoria?


In the book, Victoria is the main roadblock in Auggie's path toward renovating her house and proving to everyone in the town of Willow Grove that she's every bit as worthy as anyone who lives on the fancier side. But I needed Victoria to seem awful. Really horrible. On a 5th-grade level. So I had Victoria do the worst thing you could maybe ever do to an eleven-year-old girl:

 She steals Auggie's best friend.

Have I been there? Of course. I've also been in that scenario where some newcomer becomes part of an already-established best friendship...only to have two new people break away, and leave one of the original best friends out in the cold. I know what that feels like. We've all been there. The situation's so common, I really didn't think much of having included it in the storyline...

Until those questions started popping up.

Those kids loved hearing that I'd been there. To some of them, that friendship storyline was one of the very most important storylines in the book. 

I guess, the thing is, it's the most important thing we can ever tell a reader, no matter what their age is: I get it. I've been there. I know exactly what it's like to be in your shoes.

~

Holly Schindler is a critically acclaimed author of books for readers of all ages. Her debut MG, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, has recently re-released. A corresponding activity book is also now available.

3 comments:

  1. No matter what we write, it needs to be relatable to kids. Thanks for the lovely reminder.

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  2. O! Sunshine and Lucky is such a good read! This is an excellent discussion on relatability.

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