La Verne, California - Award winning authors Andrew Smith and John Corey Whaley were the highlights of a BBQ held at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop this past Thursday evening. A mixed crowd of all ages attended the event. Hot dogs were grilled up and pink lemonade provided cool refreshment on a hot summer day.
John Corey Whaley talked about his book Where Things Come Back which came out in 2011. He has a new book named Noggin which is due out next year. After a few years of discussing Where Things Come Back, Corey is eager to have a new book to talk about although there are still several months to go before Noggin is released. Where Things Come Back is about a small town in Arkansas where the sighting of an extinct woodpecker draws great attention while the protagonist's brother disappears.
Andrew Smith is the author of several books, the latest of which Winger is about a young man named Ryan Dean West who plays rugby and has been moved up several grades so he is the lone fourteen year old in his Junior class at a private school. He's in love with his best friend and has to live in Opportunity Hall with the troublemakers of the school. Andrew's next book Grasshopper Jungle also comes out next year and is about the end of the world coming to Iowa. The book reportedly is difficult to explain as Andrew said that he intended to write a book that would be impossible to describe on a book jacket flap. People who have read Grasshopper Jungle rave about the book, including Corey who said that Grasshopper Jungle is a book so good that it ruins other books for you.
Both authors gave readings from their latest works and answered questions from the audience. It was noted that both of them pursued journalism and have spent time teaching in the classroom. Corey said he liked teaching high school more than teaching junior high; the middle grade years were handled with yelling and bribery. Andrew is convinced that the amount of time he spends away from the classroom promoting his books may be detrimental to his career as a teacher. He also noted that the content of the books may not meet the approval of the school administration. The idea of having a published author as a teacher is attractive; books that include underage drug use and other mature topics perhaps not.
Winger was released this year and is available in hardcover from most fine bookstores, especially local independent stores such as Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop. Where Things Come Back is available in both an attractive hardcover and a charming paperback from discerning retailers everywhere.
Useful links you may enjoy:
- Andrew Smith website, and twitter
- John Corey Whaley website, and twitter
- Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop location, website, and twitter
- David Yenoki website and twitter