Tuesday, December 18, 2007

(Contest is open through Wed.)
Welcome, National Book Award Winner

Kimberly Willis Holt!

Win a copy today! Just leave a comment to enter!

Please join me in welcoming Kimberly Willis Holt, author of Piper Reed Navy Brat. "It's not easy being the middle child, especially when your dad is a Navy Chief. Meet Piper Reed, a spunky nine-year old who has moved more times than she can count on one hand." You can learn more about Kimberly at her website. You can purchase a copy here.

I read Piper Reed last week. It brought me right back to my childhood, snuggled into bed, soft pillow behind my head, eager to jump into another kids' world. When I was nine, I'd have identified with Piper. At 9 times almost 5, I can still identify with her, which I think is the mark of a terrific and timeless children's book. And I adore Christine Davenier's illustrations. I asked Kimberly a few questions that are relevant to the world of special needs, because Piper has dyslexia.

One lucky commenter will win a copy of the book!

Why did you give Piper Reed dyslexia?

I didn't plan to create a character with a reading disability. It just happened. Many times when I write I discover things I didn't know about the character. Sometimes that happens during rewrites. But in this situation I realized she was dyslexic on the first draft. I think it had something to do with her sisters' love for reading.

Also my mom was a special ed teacher and had many students with dyslexia. Over the years she told about their challenges. And though I don't have dyslexia(nor do any of my sisters) I am a slow reader. I'm more of an auditory learner. Sounds are important to me. I read at the speed that I speak. When I was in school, I thought I was stupid because I couldn't finish my tests in time. I think that gives me empathy for a dyslexic person.

Does Piper feel jealous toward her younger sister Sam, who is particularly bright and not challenged by dyslexia?

Although, Piper accepts her dyslexia, I believe she is insecure about what she believes to be Sam's supreme intellegence. Sam is smart, but she is not a prodigy. But Piper thinks her sister is and that's what matters.

What is Piper most afraid of when she moves?

Like most military kids, she's going to have to face being the new kid. She's done it before, but always had the advantage of making friends over the summer before the school year started. Now she's moving in October. She not only has to make new friends, but she is anxious about the possibility of the teacher making her read in front of the class.

Would Piper invite a child with a disability to join her Gypsy club?

Absolutely. Piper is a people person. She is a very accepting soul. Great idea!

Piper has a great catch phrase, "Get off the bus!" How does Piper feel about adding, "Get of the Van-bus!"

I love it! If I introduce a child with disability into the story, that might become a possibility. That's what I love about writing a series. Piper can meet more friends and have more storylines, because more books will follow.

Thanks, Kim!

You're welcome, Kimberly. Thank you!


jenny gardiner said...

I've heard good things about your book and look forward to checking it out. Having lived for ages in an area rife with transient military families, I saw repeatedly how hard it was for these kids to uproot every two to three years. It's hard on them (and was for my kids, who kept losing their friends!) so great for a book that they can relate to!

drama mama said...

We are marching right out to find that book.

I LOVE Piper's catch phrase.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Count me in Kim!

Danielle said...

Thanks for a great interview, Kim!

This looks like a great read, Kimberly and is going on my xmas list for nieces and nephews. You mentioned more books in the series--when can we expect them?

Danielle Younge-Ullman

Cheryl G. said...

I must still be in Autism mode, Kim, because as the graphic of the book was loading I was SURE it was gonna say Piper Peed!

Michelle O'Neil said...

BTW...her website is really cool!

La La said...

Way cool. I will get one for my classroom library.

Chumplet said...

As a middle child who moved a zillion times before I was twelve, I sure identify with a character like Piper! Gypsies, indeed.

Holly Kennedy said...

Can fellow author's enter too!?

I'd LOVE a copy of this book. It sounds wonderful :)

Holly Kennedy said...

P.S. How odd is this?
My maiden name is Holt.

ORION said...

This sounds like fun! I love the phrase "Get off the bus."
I use "Get out of the gene pool!"

Kimberly Holt said...

Thanks for all the nice comments.

Danielle-Piper Reed, The Great Gypsy will come out in August. Then the third one will be out in August 2009. Hopefully there will be more Piper books. But you can count on those three!

Holly-My husband's Granddaddy Holt had twenty children. You're bound to be a cousin!

Kim-Thank you for a super interview! Get off the bus, everyone! And happy holidays!

The Gang's All Here! said...

I'd love to win this book - I have an 8 year old and it's hard to find books for that age that are "about something" important. At least more important than the odd teacher who is a space alien or something . . . Came by way of Manic Mommy . . . .Thanks!

amanda said...

Sounds a good read - I'll enter this one too!

Kim's Blog aka Kompetition Korner!

cubmommy said...

Came by from Manic's blog.

Sounds like a cute book!!

Naomi said...

not much can pull me out of my no- comment mode...but a book contest..here I am. The book sounds great and I loved your van-bus question. Adam corrects me anytime I call his van a 'bus'. Vanbus it is. And as further proof that we should win this book....(hardcore competitive baby) Adam says that we should move everytime he falls down on our stairs, which happens way too bloody often. This, despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that he has moved 6 times in his six years of life.

Aimee C said...

Great interview, thanks, Kim!

Artemisia said...

Sounds like an awesome book. I'll pass the recommendation along and buy a copy for our school library (and I'll read it first).

The one reason I regret not having a daughter is that I don't have an excuse to buy all the girl-child books out there.