It’s a Book Birthday party for
Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author
Sharon Creech’s new MG novel:
(Harper Collins/ Sept. 8, 2020)
Are you ready to celebrate?
Seriously, any day that I get to chat
with one of my #kidlit sHEROES
is a time for celebration!
This book is magic.
It’s about finding your voice
and your stories…
But don’t take my word for it:
“Creech writes Gina’s narration with comfortable magic…The real focus here is the magic of storytelling, as the class falls in love with Miss Lightstone’s literary leadership and develops their own voices…Ultimately, the book renders the familiar charmed in a way that will gratify youngsters seeking to bring enchantment into their own lives.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A standout teacher and mysterious new student open the minds and notebooks of Gina Filomena and her fellow classmates…Gina, her classmates, and readers simultaneously discover that with most people there is far more than meets the eye. Newbery-winning Creech skillfully catches Gina at the point in life when a child’s small world opens up into a much wider adult one. As Gina navigates this transition, the line between real and imagined is blurred… For fans of Creech’s hallmark beautiful writing…“
I am beyond delighted to share 5 Qs with Sharon Creech:
Sharon Creech: Thank you!
Q 1.What has publishing a book in a pandemic been like for you, compared to previous “Book Birthday” experiences?
Sharon Creech: This has been a much more subdued book birth than any before it, that’s for sure. Everything is tamped down, muted. I’m at home, not traveling and meeting students and teachers and booksellers and librarians. I’m not able to do virtual visits or videos because of unreliable internet. I feel in limbo, a sort of suspended animation. And yet, I’m also grateful for the quiet, the solitude, the ability to stay at home.
All the more reason to have
a party, right friends?
Q 2.Which book title best describes your writing process for ONE TIME:
- Absolutely Normal Chaos
- Pleasing the Ghost
- The Great Unexpected
- Fishing in the Air
Sharon Creech: The writing process for ONE TIME might best be described as ‘fishing in the air.’ Each day I stepped into the shoes of Gina Filomena and let my mind roam free, catching bits of inspiration floating in the air. Since the book is about imagination, that worked well for me. It also seemed that Miss Lightstone would encourage this sort of fishing in the air, urging the mind to roam free.
Q. 3. Speaking of Miss Lightstone, which character from ONE TIME is most like you?
- Gina Filomena
- Miss Lightstone
- Auntie Pasta (I just had to write that name—haha.)
Sharon Creech: I am most like Gina Filomena (especially the younger me) in that I am curious, have a passion for words and cultivating the imagination, and am highly susceptible to smiles. I’m also like Miss Lightstone, I think: eager to give students freedom and time to explore and believing strongly in the riches and uniqueness of each individual.
Who are you?
Q 4. Gina starts the book with: “I wonder about you. Who are you?” What might your answer be to Gina—as well as readers and fans everywhere?
Sharon Creech: I am all my main characters from all my books. I am Gina Filomena and Salamanca Tree Hiddle and Mary Lou Finney, and Dallas and Florida and Sophie and Cody and Annie and Zinny and Jack and Leo and Naomi and Reena and Louie . . . etc. If you smooshed them all together, you would have: me. Really.
Q 5. What was one of the most surprising facts or discoveries you made in writing ONE TIME?
Sharon Creech: One of the most surprising discoveries was that Gina, filtered through me, was incorporating bits and pieces of many of my earlier books. This was not intentional or conscious. In the Clackerties, for instance, I could see bits of Absolutely Normal Chaos, and in Uncle and Auntie Pasta, I heard echoes of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.
In Miss Lightstone I caught glimpses of Miss Stretchberry from Love That Dog; Angel Lucia seemed to be an echo of the angel in The Unfinished Angel; images of the moon and water first arose in Walk Two Moons and The Wanderer; and the exploration of the imagination occurs in different forms in many of my books, including Fishing in the Air and The Great Unexpected.
As Gina says near the end of ONE TIME, “All those stray pieces and one times float around in me.’ That’s how I feel now, as if this story gathers pieces and one times from all my previous books that float around in me.
[Hmm. If I were still a graduate student, this might make a good thesis to explore!]
I’m so thankful for the pieces and one times you shared with us on the blog today, Sharon.
As a former teacher, I can see so many extensions
and writing connections for ONE TIME.
To read about how ONE TIME began, see Mr. Schu’s blog: Watch.Connect.Read.
AND…shameless plug: To see how these wonderful students helped me celebrate DEAR EARTH’s book birthday check out Mrs. Howard’s students’ blog takeover–part 1!
Coming soon–a preview of Vivian Kirkfield’s upcoming nonfiction picture book,
FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED
THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES.
New Year’s celebrations and resolutions with Alexandra Alessandri,
and in January, a Book Birthday celebration for
Stacia Deutsch’s Jim Henson biography–releasing early next year.
Let’s all savor the one times in our own lives.