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Meet Author Carmen Agra Deedy


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When I realized I loved to read as a kid

When I was a little girl I loved hearing stories, I loved seeing stories on TV, and I loved ballads, because my father would sing songs. But reading was so hard. I was born in Cuba, so when I came here, I spoke Español. I didn’t speak no stinkin’ English. So I didn’t like to read, because reading was such hard work. I learned to love reading, despite the hard work that it takes to decode and figure out sounds and sight words. That’s where I discovered Charlotte’s Web.

My favorite childhood stories

I loved Encyclopedia Brown, The Boxcar Children, and all the Nancy Drew mysteries. The BFG is still one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. I could go on all day. But if I had to mention one more—The Trumpet and the Swan.

What inspires me to write stories for children

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Authors Who Get Georgia Reading: Carmen Agra Deedy

When I realized I loved to read as a kid

When I was a little girl I loved hearing stories, I loved seeing stories on TV, and I loved ballads, because my father would sing songs. But reading was so hard. I was born in Cuba, so when I came here, I spoke Español. I didn’t speak no stinkin’ English. So I didn’t like to read, because reading was such hard work. I learned to love reading, despite the hard work that it takes to decode and figure out sounds and sight words. That’s where I discovered Charlotte’s Web.

My favorite childhood stories

I loved Encyclopedia Brown, The Boxcar Children, and all the Nancy Drew mysteries. The BFG is still one of my favorite books in the whole wide world. I could go on all day. But if I had to mention one more—The Trumpet and the Swan.

What inspires me to write stories for children

A page from The Library Dragon.jpg

When I was a little girl, I found the library to be a place where I could hide for hours, open a book, and disappear into every imaginable magical place. Everything vanished around me when I was reading. Sometimes when I closed a book I still walked around and felt like I was in ancient Rome, or floating down the Nile. Kids inspire me these days, because I’m around them all the time. I suppose I really want to write a book that will take a child to one of those wonderful places that I went to as a girl. I’m working on it, guys.

How stories connect with kids

14cows

Children are curious about everything. That’s why I think the best books for kids tell the truth—the truth about the world and the people in it, its cruelties, its magic, its heroism. Sometimes bad things happen. We write books for children to tell them that there’s always a tomorrow.

How parents, teachers, and communities can help kids
learn to love to read

Most adults can agree that children should read. The trick is to get the right kid with the right book. But what does that mean? First of all, you start with stuff they love. Not the stuff we love—the stuff they love. Readers should read things they’re interested in—anything and everything. We’re in a battle for their very minds.

Books can change your life. Reading a good book means no one ever stands between you and knowledge. Reading matters. Plus, it’s so much stinkin’ fun.

 

Check out Carmen’s books.

thechesirecheesecatThe Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale

Ages 8-12

In this playful homage to Charles Dickens, unlikely allies learn the lessons of a great friendshipSkilley, an alley cat with an embarrassing secret, longs to escape his street-cat life. Tired of dodging fishwives’ brooms and carriage wheels, he hopes to trade London’s damp alleyways for the warmth of ye olde Cheshire Cheese Inn. He strikes a bargain with Pip, an erudite mouse: Skilley will protect the mice who live at the inn, and in turn, the mice will provide Skilley with the thing he desires most.

14cowsforamerica14 Cows for America

Ages 6-10

This New York Times Bestseller is a true story of hope and generosity, and the gift a small Kenyan village makes to the people of America. This children’s book was done in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah and features stunning illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez.

martinaMartina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

Ages 4-8

Martina the beautiful cockroach doesn’t know coffee beans about love and marriage. That’s where her Cuban family comes in. While some of the Cucarachas offer her gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her something really useful: un consejo increíble, some shocking advice.

theyellowstarThe Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark

Ages 8-12

For centuries, the Star of David was a symbol of Jewish pride. But during World War II, Nazis used the star to segregate and terrorize the Jewish people. Except in Denmark. When Nazi soldiers occupied his country, King Christian X of Denmark committed himself to keeping all Danes safe from harm.

thelibrarydragonThe Library Dragon

Ages 6-10

When Sunrise Elementary School advertised for a thick-skinned librarian with a burning love of books, Miss Lotta Scales knew she was perfect for the job. Who could guard books better than a REAL dragon?

thesecretofoldzebThe Secret of Old Zeb

Ages 6-10

Walter Higgins is a scrappy child with a great imagination, yet is still not quite sure of himself. In fact, he feels lost when he is shipped off to Boston to visit his unknown Great Aunt Hortensia (“the Warden”) while his parents pursue their own dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Walter feels he is in for the worst summer ever. But then he befriends a mysterious neighbor, Old Zeb, a lonely, grizzled sailor who builds ships in bottles. Deep in the cavernous confines of the cellar, Old Zeb lets Walter in on the Great Secret Project and his lifelong dream.

agathas_feather_bedAgatha’s Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story

Ages 4-8

Agatha loves her new feather bed, but when six shivering, naked geese pay her a visit to discuss the origin of the feathers, is her goose cooked?

This title is also available in Spanish.

thelast_danceThe Last Dance

Ages 8-12

Bessie and Ninny are the best of friends. Sometimes on milk-moon nights, Ninny throws buttons at Bessie’s window. When Bessie peeps outside, Ninny sings: “Bessie, oh Bessie! Come dance with me! For I hate to dance alone, Where the old men sleep, And the women weep, And the wild, fey children roam.” Down the drainpipe Bessie slides to visit Ninny, and off they go.