AUDIO INTERVIEWS ON THE WEB
- Reading Rockets, a nonprofit Web
site sponsored and supported by public television
stations and the U.S. Department of Education, offers
dozens and dozens of excellent online video interviews
with some of the best contemporary authors and
illustrators for children at:
Below is a sample featuring Mary Pope Osborne, author of the hugely successful Magic Treehouse series. Free podcasts through the Apple iTunes store also are available for each interview (excellent to load in your iPod for family car trips):
dePaola, one of America’s most beloved
author-illustrators, sat down with Dick Gordon on “The
Story” and shared his recollections of Christmas
as a child and young adult. Dylan Thomas may have
had his vivid memories of a Christmas in Wales but
Tomie’s rings truer to America.
To hear the interview here, click right:
- Children's book editor Susan
some of the finest authors in the field during her
47 years in publishing, including Jack
Prelutsky Virginia Hamilton, Chris
Crutcher, Kevin Henkes and Donald
She also was responsible for Richard Adams' Watership
Down being published here in the U.S. She looks
back on her long career's highlights in a 10-minute
interview with "To the Best of Our Knowledge."
( — push
RealAudio meter to 39:34 min. mark to start with
the Hirschman interview.)
- If you're looking for advice on writing successfully
for print (or otherwise), check out Walter
Mosley's suggestions on
NPR's "Talk of the Nation" as he draws
upon the lessons he learned in writing 25 novels.
- Just when you thought you knew everything about Charlotte's
Web, along comes some insiders
to inform you otherwise. "All Things Considered" offers
a delightful profile of the E.B. White classic,
including anecdotes from his family and his "standoff" with
Hollywood about Charlotte.www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93263496.
- Kadir Nelson, one of the most
creative and talented illustrators of the last 25
years, talks to NPR's "All Things Considered" about
how he created his picture book We Are the Ship,
which he both wrote and illustrated. (www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18518791.
Moyers interviews author John Grisham,
whose books have sold nearly a quarter billion copies
in 29 languages, about the growing role of social
justice in his books and how his Baptist religion
influences his writing ("You can give my books
to a 15-year-old or an 80-year-old and not be embarrassed." The
2008 interview can be viewed as a video, read as a
transcript, or listened to as a podcast at this site:
More Grisham interviews:
• with Academy of Achievement— www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/gri0int-1
• with BBC — www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/openbook/ram/openbook_20030309_grisham.ram;
• with Diane Rehm
- In the late 1950s, an 11-year-old English lad arrived
in Harlech, Wales, and after receiving a "going-over" from
some local youths, began an inspiring pupil-teacher
relationship with Enid
Jones that persists today, well into his
career as one of the world's more renowned storytellers—novelist Philip
Pullman. In early 2007, BBC-Wales recorded
pupil and teacher together as they reminisced about
what made their relationship last and how that Welsh
classroom launched a writer's life. RealAudio links
provide excerpts from the interview, along with text
Other Pullman sites:
- Fourteen days before
the battle of Wounded Knee, an editorial appeared
in the local press urging an assault on the Lakota
tribe: "Their glory has fled, their spirit
broken, their manhood effaced; better that they
die than live the miserable wretches that they
are." How many of the resulting 150 dead Indians
could be attributed to that editorial is pure conjecture
but a century later the writer's great-great grandson
devoted his master's thesis to the subject of that
writer's racist views—L. Frank Baum,
the author of America's first original fairy tale, The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Listen to NPR's "'Oz'
Family Apologizes" Also: the Indian-Oz
- The world of children's literature is forever morphing
into something else or revisiting itself, and all
the while trying to solve that never-ending puzzle
called childhood — or life itself. "To
the Best of Our Knowledge" from Public Radio
International in this segment offers five insightful
interviews with prominent authors and their take
on the role played by children's lit: Maurice
Sendak, Kevin Henkes, Salman Rushdie, Philip Pullman, and Geraldine
a must for children's lit classes!
- When Minnesota Public Radio's "Talking Volumes" book
club spotlighted The Polar Express, author-illustrator Chris
Van Allsburg gave two hour-long interviews, one
in-studio with listener calls and one
before a live audience at the Fitzgerald Theater.
(Minn. Public Radio, "Midmorning," December
2004, 60 mins.)
Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, talks
about the translation of his books to film on
the eve of the film's opening, and what he feared
most as a child. ("All things Considered",
Dec. 2004, 8 mins.)
- Award-winning novelist Walter
Dean Myers ("Diane Rehm Show,"
WAMU, July 2004, 50 mins.)
- BBC School Radio offers
interviews with prominent British authors, with children
asking the questions. Although tapes are available
only in Great Britain, the questions are available
online and the authors' responses are available via
RealAudio online. The interviews average between 15
to 25 minutes:
- Newbery-winner Avi talks
to MPR about his writing craft and the mind behind
his more than 50 books. (Minnesota Public Radio,
"Midmorning Show," June 22, 2004, 53 mins.)
K. Rowling talks with the BBC about
the trials of single-parenting while going to
grad-school and writing the first Potter book.
(Mar. 16, 2004, 5 mins. — push RealAudio
meter to 1:30 min mark to start with Rowling)
- Award-winning children's author Lois
Lowry (50 minutes).
- Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) is interviewed at The Commonwealth Club of California (Feb. 2004, 45 mins.)
- The irrepressible Daniel
Manus Pinkwater ("Fresh
Air," July 2004, 32 mins.)
- Science fiction great Isaac
Asimov ("Fresh Air," Sept.1987,
- How Dr. Seuss created "The
Edition," 8 minutes).
- Novelist Jon
Sczieska on boys and reading (Minn.
Public Radio, "Midmorning," 55 mins.)
- Novelist Kate
DiCamillo, author of The Tale
of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie (55
minutes); see also a second MPR "Mid-Morning" guest
appearance. PRI's Bob edwards interviewed
DiCamillo in December 2008 on the eve of the
Desperoux movie. To download the show on either
iTunes or Zune, go to: www.pri.org/pri-podcasts.html.
Look for Bob Edwards Weekend (about 5th choice
from the top of the list) and then click on either
iTunes or Zune from the columns on the right.
At the next window, scroll down to 12/19/08 on
the release date column. DiCamillo is the first
hour of the show (Annie Leibovitz is the second
hour—definitely not child’s fare).
Clicking on the Get Episode button
will download the show.
- Newbery-winner Christopher
Paul Curtis (Minn. Public Radio, "Midmorning,"
- Terry Gross interviews Gary
Paulsen ("Fresh Air," 12
Horn Book, the prestigious children's
literature journal, is now offering a series
of podcasts with famous authors and
illustrators, conducted by editor Roger Sutton.
The recording quality is not yet good enough for
classroom or library usage (too much room echo
in the recordings) but good enough for individual
listening. To date the authors include Lois
Lowry, John Scieszka, Lee Kingman, M. T. Anderson,
and Philip Pullman.
- "Weekend Edition" interviews Art
Spiegelman, Pultizer-prize winner
and co-editor of the popular "Little Lit" series
of comic book art that satirizes and plays with
popular literature (It Was a Dark and Silly
Night...), including efforts by Maurice
Sendak, Lemony Snicket, William Joyce, and Neil
Gaiman. (10 minutes)
- The irrepressible Dav
Pilkey tells how an innocent comment
by his 2nd-grade teacher led to his hugely popular
but controversial "Capt.
Underpants" series. ("All Things
Considered," 5.5 minutes)
- Each month, NPR's "Diane Rehm Show" hosts
discussion between a panel of experts and the
national listening audience. At least once a year,
a classic children's book is the focus, including
- On the 100th
anniversary of the publication of Anne
of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine
L'Engle, the Newbery-winning classic fantasy
- The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis at www.wamu.org/programs/dr/05/12/21.php.
- For more than five years now the BBC's
World Book Club has been conducting
monthly interviews with writers before a live
audience. While the authors write primarily for
the adult audience, high school teachers will
find some of their core authors here in 26-minute
Q&A interviews, including: Isabel
Allende, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Ken Follett,
Frederick Forsyth, Carlos Fuentes, Kazuo Ishiguro,
PD James, Thomas Keneally, Doris Lessing, Frank
McCourt, Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol
Oates, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, and Kurt
almost 40 years, one quiet but persistent rumor has
haunted one of the century's great novels: "Harper
Lee didn't really write To Kill a Mockingbird.
Her childhood friend Truman Capote wrote
it for her." Ms.
Lee has refused to dignify the rumor by responding
to it. Now a letter from Truman Capote has surfaced
that may put the rumor to rest. ("All
Things Considered," Mar. 3, 2006, 5 mins.) www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5244492
- Fairy tale and folklore expert Jack
Zipes talks about his latest project,
the Norton Anthology
a stimulating discussion of the role children's
literature plays in today's world, the role fairy
tales, science fiction, primers, and even Captain
Underpants (which did not make the anthology's
Show, Dec. 12, 2005, 53 min.) http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/programs/midmorning/listings/mm20051212.shtml
- A warm look back with Beverly
Cleary (as she turned 90) at 50 years
of writing for children, with a special look at
- Dissecting the mind of Dr.
the 100th anniversary of his birth, Prof.
Philip Nel, author of Dr.
Seuss: American Icon, offers
insights to why his writing "worked"
well enough to sell 500 million books.
- Many children's books have dealt
with children evacuated from London during the
London, with The
Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by
C. S. Lewis and Good Night, Mr. Tom by
Michelle Magorian being two of the more famous.
Three short and remarkable RealAudio interviews
are available online with adults who were children
in those days, each with unique perspectives on
the experience. One was never evacuated and was
left for dead after one bombing (but found uninjured
two days later); another was evacuated and eventually
fostered 200 children as an adult; and the third
turned to petty theft in order to survive his evacuee
years and became one of England's more notorious
safe-crackers, but finally turned to a life of
great charity and benevolence:
•Left for dead •Fostering 200 •Past crimes