Interview TFK: How did you get the idea for The City Of Ember ? DuPrau: It sort of appeared in my head, but I think it has to do with several things. One of them was that I grew up in a time when people were really worried about things like nuclear war: building bomb shelters in their backyard and worried that the bombs were going to fall and the human race would be wiped out. That resulted in a dying city in my book.
Interview TFK: Do you have a message to kids through your book? DuPrau: I hope that the ideas of living in a dark underground place where all the supplies are running out and everyone is kind of unhappy will make people appreciate the world we live in. I feel that our world is a wonderful place, and that feeling comes through in the book.
Inspiration When I learned that my daughter was expecting her first child, I began thinking about what it would be like to be a grandparent. In remembering my own grandparents, it seemed that most of my memories of my grandmothers swirled around kitchens and food. There was something important--more important than the meals being made--that took place in those kitchens, and I wanted to explore that. I kept seeing images of my Italian grandmother, with her elfish smile and quick wit, and those images evolved into the character of Granny Torrelli. Granny Torrelli refers to her own childhood friend as Pardo, which, in 'real life' was the name of my grandfather. Although I don't remember making zuppa with my grandmother, we did make cavatelli and sauce, just as Rosie, Bailey and Granny Torrelli do in this story. And Rosie's favorite salad ("the one with oranges") was also my favorite when I was Rosie's age.
Books by Will Hobbs WILL HOBBS is the author of fifteen novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. Seven of his novels, Bearstone , Downriver , The Big Wander , Beardance , Far North , The Maze , and Jason's Gold , were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. ALA also named Far North and Downriver to their list of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of the Twentieth Centrury. Ghost Canoe received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in l998 for Best Young Adult Mystery.
Will Hobbs Where do you live now? Southwestern Colorado. I've lived here since l973. I love living in this area because everything is so close: mountains, canyons, rivers. We're in the Four Corners area, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah all touch. Our house, which you can see in the photo , is at the very edge of Durango, bordering a large wildlife preserve. From our windows we see elk, deer, eagles, bears, even an occasional mountain lion.
Rescued bears at Sarvey Corky and Pumpkin, the two Black Bears used in a drug smuggling ring, now at Sarvey Wildlife. Cory on the left. Pumpkin on the right is licking peanut butter off a pole and a fence.
Linda Sue Park Linda Sue Park was born in Urbana, Illinois on March 25, 1960, and grew up outside Chicago. The daughter of Korean immigrants, she has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old, and her favorite thing to do as a child was read. This is the first thing she ever published--a haiku in a children's magazine when she was nine years old: In the green forest A sparkling, bright blue pond hides. And animals drink. ( Trailblazer magazine, Winter 1969) For this poem she was paid one whole dollar. She gave the check to her dad for Christmas. About a year later the company wrote to her asking her to cash the check! Linda Sue wrote back explaining that it was now framed and hung above her dad's desk and was it OK if he kept it? The magazine said it was fine, and her dad still has that check.
Ruth White Ruth White's book, Belle Prater's Boy was named a 1997 Newbery Honor book. Ruth and her sisters grew up in the coal-mining town of Whitewood, Virginia. They played in the hills and creeks, enjoyed family read-alouds, and sang every song they heard. Ruth has been a teacher and a school librarian in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. For a while, she lived in Virginia Beach, but now she lives in Pennsylvania.