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Enjoy the Works of Laurie Halse Anderson

By Erin Mawn

Hello readers (and editor)! I apologize not posting again sooner, but I have adopted the popular mantra that everyone seems to be saying lately: “life’s crazy right now”. If anyone is curious, I HAVE been doing a ton of reading lately, I just have been lax in the writing part. Sometimes when I read a book, I think “I cannot wait to write a blog about this incredible story!”. Other times, I enjoy the story but it just does not motivate me to write.

As my best friend said to me recently, I have had quite a literary year. First, I attended a talk at my local library hosted by Joshua Wolf Shenk regarding his insightful book “Lincoln’s Melancholy”. I used this book for two of my projects in graduate school and I was very excited to finally meet the man who wrote it. Then, over my summer vacation, I traveled to Colorado where I was able to meet my favorite illustrator, Michael Hague. (I did write a blog about him; it is one of my earlier posts.) This was a very special experience for me because I grew up reading his books and those pictures have always stayed in my mind. Most recently, I drove to Newark, Delaware to see Laurie Halse Anderson “speak” (if you don’t get my little joke yet, you will in a minute.)

Laurie Halse Anderson has written both young adult novels and picture books; her first YA novel, titled “Speak” was a New York Times Best Seller, as well as a Printz Honor Book, and National Book Award Finalist. It was also made into a movie for television starring a now-uber-famous Kristen Stewart. Her other novels include: “Catalyst”, “Prom”, “Fever 1793”, “Twisted”, and “Chains” (another multi-award winner). During the event, she read an excerpt from her most recent novel “Wintergirls” which is available now. She the welcomed questions from her live audience as well as from readers across the country who were able to view the event through a live internet feed. Afterwards, she was available to sign books for her adoring fans, who ranged from middle-aged adults to little children. My favorite fan was the little eight-year old girl clutching a copy of one of the Vet Volunteer books, a series written for children about children who work in a veterinarian’s office.

This is actually the second time I had met Ms. Anderson, the first time being many years ago when I was a college student in Upstate, NY. At that time, I was taking a Children’s Literature class in which we read “Speak” and “Fever 1793”. She made an appearance at the local bookstore to promote “Prom”, which had not been released yet, and I was able to say hello to her in person for the first time.
Although I have loved all her books that I’ve read, I haven’t read all of them. . . .YET, because the next holiday approaching is Thanksgiving, I recommend “Thank You Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving.” It is a picture book about Sarah Hale, and her letter writing campaign to promote her idea that the arrival of the Pilgrims should be celebrated on a special day each year. What a great way to teach your children, or yourself, a little more about why we eat turkey and pumpkin pie in November.

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