I never talked baby talk to my kids.
I figured that even though they were small they were still capable of intelligent conversation.
When they were young, I skipped the cloyingly sweet “The cow says Moo, can you say Moo?” books and instead read to my toddlers stories of Peter Pan, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, and the Wizard of Oz.
When they became independent readers, I steered them away from the babysitting, kid detective, and girl clique series that are so prevalent in young adult literature and instead put books from authors like Laurie Halse Anderson into their open little hands and minds.
Laurie shoots from the hip while tackling tough adolescent subjects. She’s not afraid to talk about things that many people think shouldn’t be discussed. Her National Book Award Finalist “Speak” has just celebrated its 10th Anniversary. !0 years and still going strong. That’s saying something.
If you haven’t read Speak, you need to. It’s one of the guttiest, raw portrayals of teenage angst and pain. It’s thought provoking, it’s wrenching and it’s incredibly well written. It’s the kind of book I want my kids to read. I want my kids to be moved by books and I want books that make them think about this life of which they are a part.
I’ve read her historical fiction book Chains out loud to my kids (yes, to this day, my kids still want me to read to them). We’ve also read Fever and Twisted. The list, very thankfully, goes on. Suffice it to say, my kids love Laurie’s stories and they want more.
Laurie consistently makes you reflect on life with her writing. Her book Wintergirls about teenage eating disorder and its consequences, once again, doesn’t pull any punches. The story is so visceral that your gut will hurt while reading it.
Moving a reader like that is the sign of an accomplished writer. It is the sign of a literary genius. It is also the sign of someone who clearly loves what she is doing.
I found our through her blog that Laurie was going to be getting some chickens. (of which she since has and is currently in chick bliss). Perfect! I contacted her regarding a Good Egg Interview and she readily accepted the offer. Such a good fit.
And while Laurie hopes to one day eat her chickens (yeah I know, I just prefer mine sanitized and made unrecognizable by my local grocery store), she is still and will forever be a good egg.
Write on Laurie, my kids’ kids are going to be needing some good material to read to them down the road.
Good Egg Interview with Laurie Halse Anderson
What is the best advice an older relative or family member gave you?
When I was a teenager and very besotted with a guy, my Aunt Janet looked me square in the eye and said “Are you going to be somebody or are you going to be somebody’s girl?”
If you were given one wish to use anyway you wanted, what would you wish for?
The ability to be fully alert and active without ever having to sleep again. And a life-span of 200 healthy years. Please. I have a lot of things to do.
If you were allowed the use of a large billboard over a well traveled road, what would you put on the billboard?
That car is killing you. Get out and walk.
What’s the passion that drives you to get up every morning?
I love creating things!
What is your ideal dinner? What would you eat and with whom would you share it?
Thanksgiving dinner with all the kids and their partners home. The day starts with many of us running in a 5K race that is a Kiwanis fundraiser. (We eat pie after the race!) The menu for the dinner is a blending of holiday traditions from a bunch of families, including oyster stuffing, sausage stuffing, cranberry/wasabi sauce, lots of turkey, and whatever else strikes our fancy. The laughter fills the house and soothes my soul.
Do you have any favorite chicken stories or memories?
I am living my favorite chicken story! We now have our first flock (they are five days old as I write this) of Buff Orpingtons. They are the next step in our journey to living of sustainable life, growing as much of our own food as possible and using renewable resources. I must say, though, that baby chickens are way cuter than solar panels.
Thanks for being such a Good Egg Laurie!
About Laurie Halse Anderson
Anderson began her career as a freelance journalist, and worked for a time at The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 1999, she wrote what is arguably her most famous novel, Speak, which won numerous awards and was a The New York Times best seller. Speak was adapted into a film in 2004, starring Kristen Stewart in the lead role of Melinda Sordino.
The following year, Anderson wrote Fever, 1793, a historical fiction piece. In 2002, she wrote Catalyst, set in the same high school as Speak, and featuring cameo appearances from the earlier book’s characters. A historical fiction book, Thank You, Sarah! The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving was also published in 2002.
She was born October 23, 1961, in the northern New York town of Potsdam. Her father was a Methodist minister who wrote poetry on the side, and as a girl Anderson loved to play with his typewriter. She once commented, “I decided to become a writer in second grade. My teacher, Mrs. Sheedy-Shea, taught us how to write haiku. The giant light bulb clicked on over my head: ‘Oh, my goodness! I can do this!’ I hope every second grader learns how to write haiku.”