Saturday, August 16, 2014

Donna Gephart

Donna Gephart's first novel, As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Her novel How to Survive Middle School received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Gephart's novel Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen, about a girl determined to get on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, also earned a starred review from Kirkus.

Gephart's latest book is Death by Toilet Paper.

Late last month I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I adore books with humor and heart, so I was enamored by Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park. The friendship/love story between these two kids who felt like they didn't fit in was both harrowing and heart-warming. Loved the book so much that I've been reading all of Rainbow Rowell's other books.

One of my favorite books with humor, heart and fun illustrations is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It was raw and true and hilarious and heart-busting all at once. I could read that book repeatedly and find new reasons to love it. I'd put it in the hand of any young person who feels alienated in any way. It's a book that will stand the test of time. I wish Sherman Alexie would write more books for young people with his trademark rawness and honesty. There is power in his writing.

My most recent read was a slim gem called The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson. I don't know why this book didn't get more attention. Each of the stories ties together with a unifying theme and each story touches the heart. Kirby Larson writes such excellent historical fiction. I had the great pleasure of hearing her speak about how writers create their books based on the wonderful books that came before. I'm sure her books will provide the foundation for writers who come after her. I can't wait to read more of Kirby Larson's work.
Writers Read: Donna Gephart (December 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue