It’s a treat to welcome Patricia Reilly Giff to Shelf Elf today, for a stop on her blog tour in celebration of her funny new series for early readers, Zigzag Kids. I asked Patricia about her inspiration and writing process for the books, and here’s what she had to say:
I follow my grandchildren around these days. Jim, the oldest, worked in an afternoon center; he garners funny stories for me. Twelve-year-old Patti is my consultant; she’s a cafeteria food maven and a what’s-new expert in the world of what goes on after school. And don’t forget days-away-from-six-year-old Jilli, who puts in her own two cents about kindergarten; she’s the model for Trevor and Clifton, who tag along at the Zigzag Afternoon Center. This is part of my research. But memory is another. Things haven’t changed that much since my school days, both as a young girl and a teacher. Even the cafeteria still has its own distinctive smell, even though cheese poppers have made a late appearance. And the memory of my teaching days is very clear. I worked with so many unhappy kids, that I’m conscious of them on every page I write. They’re grown now, those students of mine, but I suspect there are many kids of today who have lives like John who lived in a basement apartment with cement floors, who couldn’t bathe because the family clothes were kept in the tub, or Angelina whose mother was an alcoholic. Happiness was hard to come by, and reading was low on the priority scale. I want to entice all children to read—to laugh over my books, to be happy as they read about the antics of my characters. And maybe something else. Those characters usually have something going for them—Gina wants to be an opera singer, Sumiko would love to be an Olympic star, Mitchell wants to write a book. I want to tell readers that everyone has something…you just have to look for it.
Be sure to check out all of Patricia’s other visits throughout her blog tour, and take a look at this lovely new series perfect for new readers:
August 10th Cynsations http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/
August 11th Random Acts of Reading http://randomactsofreading.wordpress.com/
August 12th Where the Best Books Are! http://wherethebestbooksare.blogspot.com/
August 14th Mundie Moms http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/
August 15th The Children’s Book Review http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/
August 16th Chicken Spaghetti http://www.chickenspaghetti.typepad.com/
August 17th Patricia Reilly Giff http://www.PatriciaReillyGiff.com
August 25th TeachingAuthors.com http://www.teachingauthors.com/
September 7th Teachingbooks.net http://www.teachingbooks.net/
Number One Kid and Big Whopper are published by Wendy Lamb Books.