Interview with an Author: Megan Shull

My ten year old recently read two books by Megan Shull that she would love to recommend to you for the middle grade readers in your life.

After reading THE SWAP, she was delighted to find out that it premiered as a Disney Original Movie and in school, she had the opportunity to create her own commercial. Click on the screen shot to view it.

the-swap-video

BOUNCE  takes place over the course of one day – Christmas Day, to be exact – but it’s not your typical 24-hour story. Frannie Hudson makes one desperate, crazy wish on Christmas Eve to be somewhere, anywhere else but with her busy and distracted family. And it works! When she wakes up, she’s dropped into someone else’s life, and it’s wonderful.  There’s only one catch: waking up as someone else keeps happening over and over again.  A celebration of the power of love and connection, Megan Shull’s heartfelt new novel combines the humor of the movie GROUNDHOG DAY with her own signature insight and proves that while we may not get to choose the life we’re given, we absolutely get to decide how we live it (publisher’s review).

BOUNCE is the ideal gift for the holiday season – full of fantastic adventures but woven with a heartfelt message that will stick with readers.

After she read BOUNCE, she had an opportunity to host a Q&A with Megan:

  1. What inspired you to create/write these/your books?

My goal always as I write is for my readers to want to keep the book close, or tuck it under their pillow because the protagonist’s journey somehow helps them (the reader) feel seen, safe, soothed, and—as with my new novel, Bounce—more resilient, and more capable of bouncing back after falling. So, I am always super honored if a reader tells me that one of my books just made them “feel good”—that’s for sure what I’m hoping for.

  1. As a kid, or even as an adult, have you ever wanted to swap lives like Ellie and Jack, or “bounce” into a different one like Frannie? 

Hmmmm. I haven’t wished for a body swap! To me Bounce is more about Frannie really needing to connect with people who can help her navigate her own quite reasonable painful emotions. Through the power of care and connection (from the bounces and the people she meets along the way) and feeling seen and soothed and safe in her body and her mind, she’s able to learn to take care of herself and feel a little bit less afraid and more capable of handling her life—which hasn’t really changed . . . but as you know, Chloe . . . she has!  The Swap and Bounce both have that piece in common which is really learning how to be more yourself by being—for just a little while—someone else.

  1. Did you have a dream to be an author when you were a kid? 

I did not. I wouldn’t have guessed it at all! On that note: I love this sweet, wise sentiment by the poet Mary Oliver—“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

  1. When did you start writing books?

I started writing my first book after earning my doctorate at Cornell.

  1. Do you have any other hobbies? 

I love being outside. The town I grew up in (and still live in today) is stunningly beautiful and teeming with waterfalls, gorges, and secret swimming holes. I had the privilege of having a very outdoorsy childhood and that joy and freedom of exploring independently and being inspired by the sheer physical beauty that surrounds you that (in Bounce) Frannie experiences as Sky, well, I know that feeling and I love that feeling too.

Megan Shull is the award-winning author of five books for kids, including The Swap, now a Disney Channel Original Movie and, Bounce. Megan holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Cornell University, where she also earned her undergraduate degree. Born and raised in Ithaca, New York, Megan lives and writes in her hometown—a small college town surrounded by waterfalls, quiet, rolling hills, and secret swimming holes. 

©2016 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Crenshaw was released in 2015 and many of my book friends highly recommended it out of the gate.  My (then) fourth grader read it last fall and loved it.  So much so that she wrote a review for me to share (last year!).

Crenshaw is a very touching book about when you may need an imaginary friend.  This story all begins with 5th grader Jackson, who loves facts and his imaginary friend Crenshaw. Crenshaw is a giant cat who walks on his hind legs, has black and white fur, and is very crazy. . . does one handed push ups, stands on his head and hangs out in sometimes, unfamiliar places.  Jackson’s family is having money problems AGAIN. Will Jackson’s mom, dad, and little sister Robin have to live in a terrible life again- in  an unexpected place again? Find out in the book Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate!   

I finally read it this past summer and am so glad that I finally did!    In Crenshaw, Katherine Applegate masterfully touches on the emotional topic of homelessness.  Crenshaw is a wonderful book to read aloud to students to build empathy.

©2016 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publication Date: April 12, 2016

The incomparable Kate DiCamillo has written a deeply personal story of love, loss, and friendship in Raymie Nightingale.  Raymie Clarke comes to the realization that everything depends on her.  Her father has left the family, but she has a plan.  She is going to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition and when her picture is in the paper, her father will realize what he is missing and come home.

I fell in the love with the character of Raymie.  She is sweet, determined, and just a little bit broken (reminding me a little of me when I was her age).  Her unlikely friendship with Lousiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski develops over time, and through unusual and semi-traumatic situations.   In the end, the Three Rancheros come to each other’s rescue in the most unexpected ways.

Here is a video of Kate explaining how Raymie came to be:

 

 

 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

©2016 by Dawn Little for My Learning Life. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.