Monday, August 21, 2017

5 with Jennifer Maschari author of Things That Surprise You

Things That Surprise You begins the summer before middle school for Emily Murphy. Things with Emily's best friend Hazel have been changing ever since Hazel joined the field hockey team, things with her family have been evolving after her parents' divorce, and things with her sister have been the most difficult of all. Emily's sister Mina has been living at a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia.

Things That Surprise You perfectly captures the feelings of a sibling just outside the epicenter of a family emergency who is trying not to add to the damage by quietly internalizing emotional aftershocks. This tenderly crafted and poetically written story filled with truth and hope will leave Emily Murphy firmly nestled in your heart.

Today author Jennifer Maschiari stopped by to answer my 5 questions. 

Be sure to keep scrolling after the interview to enter 2 fabulous giveaways!

Published: August 22, 2017

Welcome, Jennifer, thank you for visiting LibLaura5!
Thank you so much, Laura! I’m so happy to be here.

1. When did you know that you wanted to tell this story and to tell it from Emily’s perspective?
As I was finishing up edits on my first book, THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE, I knew I wanted to write my next book about a girl who was having difficulty with changes in her life. I also wanted to write a sister story. Originally, though, I set the book at a camp and called it BEST SUMMER EVER. The idea and story underwent a lot of revision and rethinking and many, many drafts. But Emily’s character and voice were there from the very beginning.

2. Eating disorders... are important for kids to know about. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetimes.. It is likely that kids will know someone in their real lives impacted by an eating disorder.

3. Emily’s teacher Ms. Arnold is a wonderfully memorable supporting character. Were there real people or experiences that played a part in shaping her in the story?
Oh, I’m so glad that you love Ms. Arnold! I can remember a few really influential, wonderful teachers from my childhood who encouraged me and really made that extra effort to get to know me and what was going on in my life. I wanted Emily to have a special teacher like this - who sees that she is struggling and who meets that with kindness and support. In addition to being an author, I’m a teacher, too! I teach 7th and 8th grade science now, but for a time, I was a fifth grade language arts teacher. I loved reading along with my students and suggesting books, just like Ms. Arnold. She’s far more stylish than I am though!

4. I hope readers of Things That Surprise You... see themselves in the story! Middle school can be SUCH a hard time for kids. I hope I’ve captured the awkwardness and the rough patches but also some of the bright spots, too (like making friends who really get you and being true to who you are).

5. Sharing the books we love is a way we share about ourselves and connect with each other. What is one book you read and loved lately?
One book - that’s tough! I have been reading a lot of fantastic books lately. I really enjoyed  Dee Romito’s NO PLACE LIKE HOME. It’s about a girl named Kenzie who is always on the road with her dad. For six weeks, she gets the chance to settle down into real middle school life. It was such a fun read, full of heart.

And if I could sneak in a second book, I also read ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder (I loved her 5 questions on your blog!) and was mesmerized by it: the kids on the island, the island itself, the survival aspect. Some of the very best discussions I ever had with my students were about the end of THE GIVER. I think this book is going to invite that same rich conversation. There are so many questions to chew on.

Thank you, Jennifer!

Giveaway #1: Enter to win a copy of Things That Surprise You using the form below


Giveaway #2: Click here to enter to win the Grand Prize Crafty Unicorn Kit!

Visit Jennifer Maschari's Webpage:

Find Things That Surprise You on...

About Jennifer MaschariJennifer Maschari is a classroom teacher and the author of THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE and THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU. She is hard at work on her next middle grade novel with Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. Jennifer lives in Ohio with her husband and stinky (yet noble) English bulldogs, Oliver and Hank.

1 comment:

  1. I loved answering your questions and am so happy you enjoyed THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU. I'm thrilled to be on your blog today!