Monday, October 22, 2012

Playing Favorites

Elizabeth George Speare
I'm in the Your Best Book writing workshop this week, where Tracey Adams of Adams Literary is discussing character. One of the prep questions for the workshop: Who is your favorite children's book character? Be prepared to share why.

The options seemed endless, so I broke it down in categories:

Picture Books-

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON? Maybe. Yes. I like him, but is he my favorite? I think I like the crayon.

Stellaluna? I like her, but I didn't read her story when I was little. She's cute, but not my favorite.

Conclusion: I'm not really a picture book writer.

Middle Grade-

Lots of maybes in this category: Laura Ingalls, Mary Lennox, Lucy Pevensie, Nancy Drew, Anne Shirley...  Meg Murray? I reread A WRINKLE IN TIME because I remembered loving it years ago. But, it's not Meg. (Hey! Even Nathan Bransford has issues with this story these days.)

Conclusion: I like middle grade, but I don't love it.

Young Adult:

Karana from ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS - I really like this book, but Karana isn't the reason.

Kit Tyler? Kit Tyler.

Woah! Flashback!

I was in sixth grade the day I first read THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND. 

We had round tables in class, which I appreciated because the teacher couldn't just look down the rows and reprimand me for reading. Somehow I got a seat tucked way into the corner. The pockmarked plexiglass window behind me threw a dappled shadow over the table. The perfect place to hide a paperback? The inside of my science book, SERENDIPITY.

The story sucked me in, and then.... tears! I didn't care about the room full of kids around me, or the teacher who finally figured out the science wasn't making me sniffle. I even got myself a pen pal in the Barbados afterwards.

Remembering Kit's story, certain scenes are vivid still for me. Just in case she's not my favorite, and to research the WHY:

I reread WOBP over the weekend. I didn't cry, but it was a wake up call for me - as if I saw my younger self through a mirror portal, and I was comfortable with her.

Kit and I are sisters of the soul, and here's the why: Kit was one independent girl striving for a way to find her place in two worlds. Not an apple, or an orange, she was a pomegranate, like me. Did I know that way back in 6th grade? It was the year I went from Catholic school to public, so maybe I had an idea.

Now I look at BURNT AMBER and I see Kit Tyler walking through those pages, nodding her head. She knows me. Even in MIST OF KAVALA, I see her mark.


Kit Tyler is my favorite.

Now, is it because I'm a YA writer at heart? Who is your favorite? Is it a classic? Is it something more recent?

AND lastly, I have to point out that Sarah Fine launched her book last week:

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos's best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn't just anyone – she's determined to save her best friend's soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she's captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city's endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn't – the dark city isn't the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.


LTM said...

omg! TWOBP! I remember that book. You're right. What a flashback. I didn't read IoBD, but both of my daughters are reading it for school.

Best to you at the conference! Here's hoping it's a super positive experience. And Yay for Sarah! Awesome book~ :o) <3

Golden Eagle said...

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is one of my favorite books. I love Kit Tyler. :)

Southpaw said...

What a process to get to your favorite character!

Psst...I like the crayon too. ;)

Sarah said...

My favorite character ever is Orual from Till We Have Faces. And Carolyn--thanks for the shout out for my book! said...

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