aka YA Literature

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I *heart* Audiobooks

You know that I love audiobooks. Well, Wendy's is giving away children's audiobooks with their kids' meals! How freaking cool is that? That's way better than anything I ever got from a fast food happy meal as a kid. I am so impressed with Wendy's.

In other audiobook loving news, I was super bummed that I couldn't go to ALA to hear the audiobook panel that featured, among others, Judy Blume and John Green. I am still bummed that I didn't get to go, especially after reading all these author blogs about it. But PLA does have a podcast of the audiobook panel. Although John Green is now dead to me, I did find his comments very interesting and entertaining. What he said about the advantages and disadvantages of audiobooks made me think of a whole lot of issues in audiobooks that maybe I'll put into a separate post in the future.
As an aside, JG is like the model for what I always told my speech students about analyzing your audience. Every time I hear him speak to librarians, he is always talking about how great librarians are. In this ALA panel, he said they were "courageous" for including upper-level YA audiobooks and gushed about he wouldn't "be here today" talking about audiobooks if it weren't for them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pants on Fire

Title: Pants on Fire
Author: Meg Cabot
Grade: D-

I just finished listening to the audio of Pants on Fire and I cannot even begin to say how disappointed I was. I have read almost all of Meg Cabot's books and enjoyed most of them. I was looking forward to a pleasant drive to and from work listening to her newest creation. Oh. My. Gosh. I have never been so annoyed at an audiobook. There were times when I was literally shouting at my CD player. "You already said that! FIFTEEN times!" The story lasted like the span of three days and nothing really happens during that time other than the main character, Katie, repeating key phrases over and over again. I can not even tell you how many times she said "What is wrong with me!" and "But, he is so hot!" Also, Katie is supposed to be this supremely likable person. Almost perfect, in fact, despite her tendency to lie. I don't know if it was just the tone the narrator used on the audiobook or what, but she came across as a whiny brat. And she was always yelling at her makeout boys, yet they still kept coming back for more. Really? I did not find much likable about her other than the fact that she rode a bike rather than drive because she cared about the environment.

I still love Meg Cabot, but let's just say this was not her finest work.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Harry vs. Janet

I'd just like to point out that, as of Friday, there were more people on the request list for the new Janet Evanovich novel than for Harry Potter. Perhaps more people want to buy HP than Janet Evanovich, but still, I'm just saying.


I just finished the audio version of Pretties and wasn't going to bother blogging about it since I already reviewed the audio version of Uglies, but I decided I at least wanted to say a couple of things. I thought Corinne Montbertrand did another outstanding job with this book, although there were a few instances at the beginning where it sounded like she didn't slip into Tally's voice fully. However, this book was even cooler on audio that Uglies was. There were several times where someone spoke but Westerfeld didn't say who it was for a few lines, but since this was audio, Montbertrand used the correct voice. So for example, when Dr. Cable first spoke to Tally at the party, I got goosebumps. "Hello, Tally." It was so perfect. And Montbertrand did an amazing job at making Shay's voice "special." She made it both Shay's voice and a Special's voice. It was amazing. She has so many voices, it's just unbelievable.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Starbucks Teen Area

I went to the Seattle Public Library's downtown branch on a recent trip. As you can see from the pic at right, the library is incredibly interesting architecturally. However, I have to say I was disappointed with the "Starbucks Teen Area." It was essentially a long narrow floor space divded from the adult fiction by a half-wall. It had a reference desk (above right), a few computers, a line of shelves, and some orange blocks for seating (at left).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Food Fear Factor!

On Monday, I put on a Food Fear Factor program for the teens. I have to say, it was one of the most fun programs I have done. I could not stop laughing, groaning, and cheering. We had about 15 teens show up, but only 4 would actually participate after seeing the food on the tables. Let me tell you, those 4 were troopers! They totally blew through the rounds (although we had a few close calls where I thought the nearby trash cans would be put to use). I began to worry that I wouldn't have a clear winner ( I had only two prizes - $10 McDonalds' gift cards). The final round, though, knocked out two of them. I let the "losers" pick out a book to keep, but then I was thinking. What kind of message am I sending when I use books as a consolation prize? Oh well, here are the rounds:

Round 1: spaghettios topped with chocolate syrup and pancake syrup (a la Buddy the Elf)
Round 2: room temperature Spam
Round 3: beets
Round 4: whole oysters (boiled)
Round 5: baby lasagna mixed with vanilla pudding
Round 5: sardines (plain)
Round 6: pickled pigs feet (this is the round that did them in)

All the food was set out in advance and we did not tell the kids what they were eating. I thought Rounds 1, 2, and 5 would be the easiest, but one girls had a really hard time with Round 1 and the mysterious texture of Round 5 grossed a few out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Author Interview: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

Since I recently read, reviewed and loved Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout's new book The Black Sheep, I decided to write the authors and ask them to answer a few questions. Here's what the ladies had to say about The Black Sheep, writing together, and their future plans!

Where'd you get the idea for "The Black Sheep"?
Basically, it occurred to us that every teenage girl has moments of wanting to trade in her family and try someone else’s on for size. A reality TV show seemed to offer the perfect opportunity to do that. Besides, thanks to Yvonne’s work on movies, we know that the film business offers a never ending source of comic relief!

Like many YA authors, you began writing for adults. How do you feel your writing is different when you're writing for teens rather than adults?
Actually, our first book was for teens: Totally Me: The Teenage Girl’s Survival Guide. It’s non-fiction, but we enjoyed writing the fictional scenarios in it and decided to give fiction a try. Our first novel, Speechless, was inspired by Sandy’s experiences as a speech writer. After that, we wrote our first teen novel: Introducing Vivien Leigh Reid: Daughter of the Diva. Then we wrote another book for adults, then another for teens. Check our desk drawers and you might even find an abandoned screenplay. Obviously we didn’t settle on a blueprint for our career! Still we keep coming back to young adult projects and since we met at13 and 15, we don’t have any trouble tapping into our shared teenage experience. Our voice, style and themes are pretty similar whether we’re writing for teens or adults, but the situations are more mature in the adult books.

How did you two begin writing together? How does the process work for you (since you write as a pair)?
We met as teens while working part-time in a public library, but it wasn’t until 20 years later that we decided to write a book together. Yvonne’s teenage niece was asking a lot of questions and Yvonne couldn’t find a book that answered them. So we wrote a proposal for Totally Me. Neither of us took it that seriously—until we sold it and found we had about three months to write it! At first, Yvonne insisted that we sit side by side and write everyword together—a notion that didn’t survive our sample chapter. Our schedules are just too different. We quickly developed a way of working on projects independently that has carried us through eight books. First, we get together in person to brainstorm and create the chapter outline. Then, Yvonne generally takes a crack at the first draft of a chapter, and Sandy does next draft. Once Sandy has the full manuscript in shape, Yvonne reviews and makes minor revisions. Then Sandy fine-tunes and it’s off to the editor. We rarely see each other when we’re actually writing, but we rely on e-mail and occasional desperate voicemail messages to resolve unforeseen glitches.

You both seem to live very typical work lives (corp. communications and in television)…how does your writing career fit into your "normal"life?
Sandy works in corporate communications, which often means spending9-5 in cubicle. Yvonne works as a camera assistant, which often means spending 18 hours a day on a film set—say in a muddy field in the pouring rain. We work as freelancers, so our work fluctuates, with Sandy’s downtime being the summer and Yvonne’s the winter.It doesn’t sound conducive to writing novels as a team, but we make itwork. One advantage of teen novels is that they’re a little shorter,and fit more easily into the gaps in our schedules. Regardless, the writing always gets done—but not without a fair bit of whining an done-upmanship about our various scheduling conflicts. Needless to say, the people around us are very tolerant!

Are you currently working on any future YA books?
We’re putting the finishing touches on our next book for Hyperion, which will be published in May 2008. Although we’re planning to take a break for a few months, good ideas are already coming to mind, so who knows?

Monday, June 18, 2007


Title: Deadline
Author: Chris Crutcher
Rating: A

I finished reading the ARC of Chris Crutcher's Deadline this weekend. Chris Crutcher is visiting my library this fall and I am scheduled to escort him around for the day. Needless to say, I am very excited about it and even more excited now that I have read Deadline because this is the type of read that you want to discuss with the author.

The premise of Deadline is somewhat used. Teen finds out he has one year left to live. Teen tries to live life fully his last year. BUT, there is so much more to this book! Chris Crutcher addresses everything from mental illness to child molestation to alcoholism to racism. The dialogue is real, the characters well-developed...standard Chris Crutcher stuff. Plus, another great thing about the book is that it appeals to both males and females so I can recommend it to most of my library's teens and know that they will enjoy it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

John Green is dead to me.

Or maybe the ALA. Or both. I'm not sure. All I know is that, apparently, John Green is writing "hard core pornography" and the ALA is promoting it. Why wasn't I aware of this? Why didn't anyone tell me?

Okay, there are so many things wrong with this organization's "arguments" that it's hard to know where to begin. I will just say this. John Green is at once both "clearly quite talented" and a writer of "hardcore pornography." So he is a "clearly quite talented" author of hardcore pornography? One to whom Safe Libraries wishes "further success in the future?" It would seem that if JG actually does write hardcore pornography, I'm not sure why they think he's talented or why they wish him all the best. Would you say the same thing of Ron Jeremy (I realize he's an actor not a producer, but I don't know enough about the porn film industry to make a correct parallel)?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Holly told me I would like this book "because it's just very realistic." Well, Holly was right; that's exactly why I liked it. I mean, how many girls/women have not spent hours reading and rereading some guy's letter/e-mail to dissect every nuance (nuances that he probably never intended, as he just spent about 2 minutes dashing it off), only to spend another two hours carefully composing a five-line reply that is intended to look as if it, too, took only about 2 minutes? Other things from the novel that I could totally relate to and I'm sure we've all done:

  • reacted naturally yet irrationally to some relationship situation

  • been aggravated and/or jealous but pretended you're not because you don't want to be (or at least appear to be) a nagging/annoying/self-centered/etc. girlfriend

  • felt selfishly about something when you know you shouldn't but you can't help it and you either (a) act irrationally (see above), or (b) pretend it doesn't bother you when it totally does

  • been more consumed with your relationship than with things that you know are more important

  • had to deal with breaking up with a partner's family as much as with him/her

  • neglected friends because you're so consumed with your new relationship


Danielle Steel has posted the first chapter of her novel, Sisters, online on Seventeen's website. I would love to know how/if this will influence teens to read the entire novel. But still, it's a great idea. I wish more authors would do this (don't know if it's more about the authors or Seventeen), but it seems like it's a great way to reach teens. I haven't read this book or maybe even any Danielle Steel, so I can't say how I feel about the contents and whether (a) I think it's appropriate for teens, or (b) whether it's something they'd like. I don't really like the general idea of teens reading too much over-sexualized adult books, but then again, I do remember my friend Leslie (now an English teacher) saying that reading adult romance novels as a teen was what got her interested in reading. So I'm ambivalent about that.

On a side note, I must say I like this cover much better than Steel's usual plain solid color ones.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Necklace Craft

Since my fellow blogmates raved so much about this book, I decided to check out Hardwear with the hopes of forming a cool program. I was really impressed with the book, but a lot of the projects seemed like they would be too expensive to actually work for a craft program. However, one project that really stuck out was "nut" necklace featured on the the cover.

Based on my calculations, this project would cost about 50 cents per necklace and take about 25 minutes to complete. (I would guess this could stretch to 45-60 minutes with young teens, snacks, and music.) I would however advise you use embroidery floss (I started out with a thin rope that kept raveling whenever I tried to make the knots.) I also recommend using triple knots rather than double knots - ESPECIALLY on the top two nuts....since they are only supported by one thread. The only other thing I feel the need to note is that each participant will probably need one whole thing of embroidery floss (the kind that cost about 25 cents.)

Saint Iggy

Title: Saint Iggy
Author: K.L. Going
Rating: A

I just finished reading/listening to Saint Iggy by K.L. Going. I like to get audiobooks for my commute to and from work. I have found, though, that I am not willing to let the story stop when the car does so I usually end up checking out the book as well. Sometimes this mixture of reading and listening can be frustrating when the narrator on the audiobook is nothing like how you imagine the narrator in your head. The guy that narrates Saint Iggy does a great job, but I think I prefer adolescent narrators for adolescent characters. Or at least someone who sounds youngish. Either way, the story is great, even if it is a bit heartbreaking. This is one of those books that evokes a lot of emotion in the reader (or listener). I found myself really rooting for Iggy and ridiculously sad about the outcome of the novel.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Black Sheep

Title: The Black Sheep
Author: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
Rating: A+

Growing up in Manhattan with strict investment bankers for parents, Kendra Bishop's life has been completely dominated by rules and regulations. However, when her parents fire her beloved nanny, Kendra's breaks down and submits her dramatic life story to the producers of The Black Sheep, a new reality show that allows two teens to switch families for a month (think Trading Spouses for teens.)

Kendra is quickly swept away to California to her new family the Mulligans. Her new life now includes two hippie environmentalist parents, five siblings, a couple furry critters, and a pushy producer willing to do anything to up those ratings! With her new found independence, Kendra must shed her old life and develop her own set of rules to tackle her stardom, first love, and the chaotic world of reality TV.

The Good: Everything! This was a really excellent read. In fact, it kind of reminded me of Twilight (although it lacks the vampires and some of the drama.) It's basically just a funny little story about a girl trying to balance life outside her elements AND a budding new love.

The Bad: Although I find it hard to think of anything that was bad, I suppose if I was going to list something I would have liked improved, it would have to be the fact that so little was mentioned about Maya, the teen whom Kendra actually traded places with. The authors give bits and pieces, which make Maya look like a complete witch...but they never really give much information about why she's acting that way! Perhaps a good sequel would be the same story as told from Maya's point of view!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Drama: The Four Dorothys

Title: Drama: The Four Dorothys
Author: Paul Ruditis
Rating: C+

Set at an exclusive private high school in Malibu, The Four Dorothys chronicles the weeks leading to the school's Spring production of the Wizard of Oz; however, this musical is not your average school play! Unlike most school musicals, the principal decreed that every student would get a role...therefore, there are 4 Dorothys, 2 scarecrows, 2 Glinda.....you get the point. It seems to be working fine....until a series of mysterious events leaves fewer and fewer Dorothys. Bryan and the other drama kids must solve the crimes so that their show can go on! The Four Dorothys is a light, somewhat entertaining romp through the fantasy land that is high school in Hollywood.

The good: Ok, who can't love that cover art...half High School Musical, half the Wizard of Oz! I must commend the author on his knowledge of the Wizard of Oz. He had me out of bed at 1 AM watching the DVD extras of the deleted Jitterbug scene (WAY creepy!!!)

The bad: Honestly, this just wasn't a very good book. It was ok if you want a really, really fluff piece to take to the beach, but it was a complete no brainer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Writing YA Lit

I'm probably not going to be posting anything for a while because I need to do some major school stuff, so I thought I'd contribute an "hasta luego" post about something that I've been thinking about for a while. In our interview with him, John Green said he doesn't think he writes differently for a YA audience. This is why I think it would be hard to write for teens (among other reasons, lots associated with the reasons why it is hard to write for anyone). I think it would be hard to write a timeless book or one that won't soon be dated. The issues and themes aren't necessarily going to be dated, but a lot of the pop culture references that so much of teen life revolves around would get dated. For example (and thank you, Holly, for this example), don't you think a lot of "The Gilmore Girls" humor and wit will be dated since so much of it depends upon current cultural references? It will still be enjoyable, but it will be dated. I'm sure this is an issue for "adult" novelists as well, but it seems even more looming for teens because so much of their lives is centered around culture and technology that will be changing. I'm not saying it's not possible to write books that won't date, but I am saying I think it's hard, or at least something that would influence how I wrote. Looking for Alaska and Just Listen are two books I've read recently that I don't think will become outdated quickly, if at all. But seriously, books date just as much by what they don't include as they do by what they do include. When teens don't have or use the Internet, cell phones, IM, etc., I notice that. I'm sure they notice it even more than I do.

Here is my other pet-peeve with YA books that is closely related. Authors my age (30-ish, let's say) write books that have all these pop culture references to things that happened in our generation. Then, they annoy me to no end by trying to explain the references. Look, that is not an acceptable option. Here are the acceptable options:
1) Try to write a book without real pop culture references. Make up bands and such if necessary. [Real life example: Just Listen]
2) Accept that your audience will not get (at least some of) your jokes, characterization, etc. [Real life example: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist]
3) Somehow incorporate the explanation into the story, perhaps by having characters discuss it (but only if it makes sense and isn't an obvious device). [Can't think of a great real life example]
4) Use pop culture references that will make sense to teens now

P.S. YA Authors, please do not define "hard" words in the story either. Reading words in context is how we learn new words. Teens can look them up if they don't understand thenm.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Author Interview: John Green

A few weeks ago, I did a (now embarrassing) post about authors that I would love to interview. I went on at length about John Green and how I would love to interview him, but listed several reasons why it would not happen. Well, imagine my surprise when Mr. I Technorati Myself Daily posted a comment saying he would totally answer any interview questions we sent him. We spent one very fun day at the library trying to come up with interview questions. Thank you, John Green, for answering them!

Have you thought about what your "last words" might be? If so, what are they?
I've always felt that "I love you" are the worst possible last words, because A. they are so trite, and B. they aren't memorable, and C. they aren't funny. Ideally, if you are looking to be remembered by history, you have to aim for funny last words. But trite and unmemorable and unfunny as it is, I think I'd like to tell my wife I love her.

How does blogging and/or the Internet affect your writing and your relationship to your readers? What is the coolest/best thing that has happened to you because of the Internet?
"An Abundance of Katherines" would not have been possible without the Internet. In some ways, the web has turned us all into child prodigies--suddenly, I can translate (albeit very poorly) from English into a dozen languages using Babel fish. It isn't difficult for me to determine who the Prime Minister of Canada was in 1913. I can use a web-based program to help me anagram long strings of text. So it has affected my writing in the sense that I think a lot about the Internet, and also in the sense that I use it almost constantly.

And it certainly allows me to have a relationship with my readers that was not previously possible. Readers can see me as a (hopefully) halfway normal person who has a halfway normal job. That's always been important to me, because when I was younger, I felt like books were created by people who were different from me in some fundamental way. I felt that I could never be a writer myself, because I did not have this magical gene that they had. So I do think the Internet allows us to demythologize the whole concept of an "author" a little, which is nice.

The best thing that ever happened to me because of the Internet is Brotherhood 2.0. It has been so cool to do this with Hank.

Other books similar to yours have been published as adult books. In your opinion, what makes a book "adult" rather than YA, and why did you choose to publish YA? Do you write differently (either creatively or in the editorial/publishing process) because you're writing for a teen audience?
"An Abundance of Katherines" was published in two editions, one for adults and one for kids, in the Netherlands. I like that model of publishing a lot, and I'd like to see it in the U.S. But until that happens, I'm quite happy publishing for teenagers, because I really want them to be my core audience. I like teenagers. I think they are interesting people as readers, and I also think they are interesting people to write about. That's why I publish YA--I believe in the importance of good YA novels in an annoyingly evangelical way.

I don't think I write differently because I'm writing for a teen audience, but I have no way of knowing for sure, because I've never written a novel for an adult audience. I am not interested in condescending to teens in any way, though. There is no idea too difficult for them, no narrative structure too inherently complicated. Look at "Octavian Nothing." Most adults think that book is hard as hell to read. But teens love it. I mean, I read "Absalom, Absalom" in high school, and I wasn't that great of a student, and I loved it. So I never worried about writing TO teens.

Guilty books question: What book(s) that you "should" have read have you not, and what book(s) that you "shouldn't" have read did you read and really like?
There are loads of classics I haven't read; I have a lot of embarrassing holes in my reading, so I don't even know where to begin. I've never read "Remembrance of Things Past." Or "War and Peace." "For Whom the Bell Tolls." I could go on, but I'll stop.

As for guilty pleasures: I don't like bad books. I really don't. I believe that books should be smart and should have ambitions. But some people dismiss genre books out of hand, and I love good crime novels. So I like a lot of crime writers, from Hammett and Patricia Highsmith to Michael Connelly and Henning Mankell.

You have a minor, druggie-type character named Hank in Looking For Alaska . Any relationship to your brother?
None whatsoever. The only two things we know about the Hank in "Alaska" is that he plays basketball and smokes pot. So far as I know, my brother Hank has never done drugs, nor has he ever used a basketball.

What interview question do you most wish you'd be asked but never have? And what's your answer?
Oh gosh, I don't know. I'm not a very good interviewer, so I can never come up with good questions.

Although I [Sheryl] don't like either of these men, one of my favorite interview question and answers ever was when Tom Cruise asked James Lipton what turns him on and he said, "Words." What turns you on (in a completely Tom Cruise/James Lipton way, not in a "Letters to Penthouse" way)?
Tom Cruise turns me on. Just kidding. I think the true answer is people's voices.

Is there anything you would like to ask us?
What classics haven't y'all read? I feel like the humiliation should be shared here!
Sheryl - My guiltiest unread book and the one I most want to read but haven't is Animal Farm.
Holly - I don't really feel guilty about any of the great "classics" that I haven't read. However, I keep meaning to read Watership Down and Catch-22 (but I am having too much fun reading YA novels).
Cody - The Bible

By the way, if you haven't checked it out yet, John and his brother Hank have an awesomely hilarious video blog going at Brotherhood 2.o!

Monday, June 4, 2007

New Boy

Title: New Boy
Author: Julian Houston
Rating: A-

I know this book is a couple years old, but I saw it on the shelf last weekend and thought it looked interesting....little did I know that I'd be so entertained. New Boy traced the experience of Rob Garrett, an black teen growing up in Virginia during segregation. In an attempt to give him a better education, Rob's parents send him to a boarding school in Connecticut, where he will be the first black student. Now, Rob must face not only the challenges of life in the Northern "white" society, but the difficulties of overcoming the separation from his family, friends, and the excitement of the budding civil rights movement in his hometown.

In New Boy, Mr. Houston is able to weave an interesting and entertaining tale that tackles the issues of racism, the civil rights movement, and just good ol' teenage angst. If I were teaching a high school English or history class, this book would definitely be on the required reading list!

Just Listen

Book: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Book Rating: A
Audio Rating: A

The Book:
Talk about amazing characterization. I loved the various stories going on, how Annabel came to discover important things about others and herself, and, of course, the romance. Thank God it ends up happily! If I were going to make any changes, it would probably be to have fewer explicit mentions of the glass house metaphor and how the glass makes it seem like you know what's going on when you really don't. But fantabulous book. I think Dessen did a great job of writing a book that will be fairly timeless, not just in terms of issues but in terms of pop culture references (or lack thereof).


The Good:
Just a really great performance. Ikeda sounded great and appropriate for Annabel, and she did a wonderful job of differentiating all the characters' voices and making them sound appropriate. Wonderful narration and voice inflection. The CDs even told you when they were over! I loved this performance.

The Bad:
Not a lot. There were a few parts where I would have used a different inflection, but over all it was just great.
(How many times did I use "great" in this post?)

Friday, June 1, 2007

Author Interview: Hannah Rogge

About a month ago, I received a copy of Hardwear: Jewelry From a Toolbox for our YA collection. Sheryl and I were both intrigued by the fun projects in the book (you can find Sheryl's review here). One of our fellow librarians was so inspired by the book that she sewed washers to the hemline of her skirt! I contacted the author, Hannah Rogge, via her MySpace page and she very graciously agreed to an author interview (even though she was on vacation in Thailand at the time).

How many of your creations do you wear yourself and how often (from both books)?
I wear my own stuff a lot. The jewelry is the easiest to throw on with an outfit, and the shirts I wear when I feel like it is a good day to wear them. Sometimes I think I've abandoned my real jewelry (trading in gold for zinc) and I wonder if my co-workers and friends get tired of seeing my stuff, but I keep on wearing it. (My mom does too.)

Have people sent you pictures of their projects? Have you seen any particularly cool "twists" on your originals?
I haven't seen too many twists on my projects but I did host a workshop in Boston where I brought materials for the Hardwear jewelry and the participants ran with the basic ideas and made their own stuff. That was a great experience because I like inspiring other ideas. I have also seen some pictures of variations that were posted on a beading blog. That was also very cool for me as I have never met the person who was showing off their work.

What do you think makes your book and/or your designs different from similar books?
My craft book was actually awarded a spot on the American Library Association's "Reluctant Reader" list for 2007, so I would say that foremost my books are both attractive and clear. The format of each books are both attractive: Hardwear has a metallic cover with cardboard dividers sectioning off the book like isles of a hardware store. Save this Shirt comes with a nicely packaged T-shirt. I know from experience that it is very important for instructions to be very clear and I think that comes across in both the words and the illustrations. I also very much enjoy the idea of making something out of nothing, which is true for both the Jewelry book and the T-shirt book.

What do you do when you're not writing books?
I have a full time job working for a company that is a custom design and fabrication company. We do mostly animated Christmas windows (which takes about an entire year from concept to install), but we also do other visual merchandising windows, corporate parties and trade shows. I work in the design department but wear many other hats, from building props to bringing in new clients.

Have you had any craft project disasters?
When I was working on my T-shirt book and experimenting with new ideas, my boyfriend Kevin gave me a pile of his old t-shirts to work with. I had my pile and his pile and the scrap pile and the pile of designs I didn't like or didn't work, etc. There were piles everywhere. One day I wanted to show Kevin what I had been working on that day and when he looked at me his mouth dropped. Apparently I had completely cut up one of his favorite shirts. Oops. That was a bit of a disaster… until I decided to remedy the situation by buying him another shirt that matched colors of the logo on the one I had cut up. Then I cut out the graphic of the shirt he liked and used it as a very large patch on the new shirt. Ha Ha. He LOVED it. The new shirt was WAY cooler then the old shirt. Phew. I think there is even a photo of that shirt in my book, Save This Shirt- it is red with a flag of Thailand in the back, if you want to look for it.

Thank you, Hannah! We are looking forward to your next book, Save This Shirt: Cut It. Stitch It. Wear It Now!