Susan Taylor Brown is the author of a number of books for children, including Hugging the Rock (Tricycle Press, 2006). Newly issued in paperback, the middle-grade novel in verse was chosen by the American Library Association for the "Notables" list and cited by the Bank Street College of Education as one of the best children's books of the year.
I asked Susan, who also blogs at Susan Writes, to tell us about what's she's reading these days.
What I'm reading depends on what room I happen to be in at the moment. We just got a new dog so upstairs next to the bed is a big stack of dog books. Dog Is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World's Oldest Friendship, by the editors of The Bark, is currently at the top of that pile. As I work on training a new puppy, it's good for me to read of other dog/human relationships, their struggles, and hopefully their successes.
In my office I am reading for research on a current book project. Tending the Wild, by M. Kat Anderson, is a fascinating book about Native American's uses of California's natural resources. California Native Americans were amazing environmental stewards, and I am learning so much about native plants and wildlife from this book.
I always keep a few of my favorite verse novels with me in the car. They're perfect for when I am on my lunch hour or know I will be stuck in line. Right now I am rereading One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, by Sonya Sones. This is probably the 5th or 6th time I've read this book. I start off rereading with the intent to study the way Sonya puts words together, but the father/daughter relationship gets me every time and I forget to study and just kick back and enjoy the satisfying story.
And let's face it, a lot of reading gets done in the bathroom. (Please don't tell me I'm the only one who will admit to that.) This week's bathroom book is The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry. The book is jam-packed with poetry lessons on everything—meter, rhythm, poetic forms, you name it. There are a lot of how-to write and understand poetry books out there, but Fry's sense of humor really helps the lessons stick with me after I close the book.
In some breaking news, Hugging the Rock was just named to the 2009 California Middle School Collection by the California Readers organization. Congratulations, Susan!
Previously in Chicken Spaghetti's "On the Books" series: