Kids

Category: Kids

Halloween is tomorrow and acclaimed author Philippa Dowding, (The Lost Gargoyle series, and The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden) sits down with us to talk about her new book Jake and the Giant Hand.

Tell us about your book.

"Something has come to pass, you think, something more important than a mere flight over the ravine." Gwendolyn MacEwen, “Fragments from a Childhood”

This sentiment is the epigraph to my new YA novel, The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden. Many thanks to the author's family for kindly permitting me to use it. 

Gwendolyn MacEwen was an award-winning poet who died much too young at 47. I often walk through her Toronto park on Lowther Street and say hello to her statue. 

It was February, 2011. I was sitting at my desk (writing, what else?), and noticed a new email message with the subject line: Congratulations, Philippa!

I almost dismissed it as junk mail, until I noticed the “from” address. Since it was from my publisher, I opened it. My publisher was pleased to tell me that my first book, The Gargoyle in My Yard, had been nominated for a Diamond Willow award, one of the Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Awards, and she hoped that it would be the first of many.

WHAT???

It started when I saw two men fire up chain saws and begin dismembering an old tree on my street. Huge, gnarled and majestic, the tree was one of my favourites. Heartsick, I watched the men. Should I try and stop them? Would they listen or would I just end up getting myself arrested?  As a single parent, I didn’t have the option of going to jail.

My response was to write about it.

As a middle grade author, I have the honour of regularly talking to children across the country. I really enjoy it, and I especially love answering their questions. Here are some of my favourites over the years:

1. “Why did you write your book?” I usually say because I had the idea and I just had to. Kids get that, no problem.

2. “Did you write your book in two hours?” I often ask the class how long they think it takes to write a book, but this estimate was a bit of a surprise.

What is Kim Thompson Currently Reading? thumbnail

I have stacks of books around the house at any given time, and read them according to what's imminently due back at the library.

Currently:

How Music Works, by David Byrne - as big as a textbook, but fascinating. It's so dense it has taken me a while to get through it, but I mean dense in a good way...  it's the kind of book you keep setting down to think about what you've just read. Both wide-ranging and personal, and fascinating even if you aren't a massive Talking Heads fan like me.