Nikki Steele / February 13, 2015
Even though it's tucked away from the energy of the main thoroughfare, the excitement surrounding Pima County Public Library's audio interviews program may rival the excitement felt among all of the rest of the Festival attendees.
Near the Children and Teen's area, you'll find a group of students interviewing their favorite authors. Every year, Pima County Public Library staff and school librarians recruit students from local schools, give them a book by the author they'll be interviewing, and then host training sessions so the students can learn about interviewing skills and recording software.
During 2014's Tucson Festival of Books, students interviewed authors ranging from R.L. Stine to Matt de la Pena to Lois Lowry. Here are some of our favorite outtakes. You can find all of 2014's audio interviews at SoundCloud.
Student: "Over the years, how many teenagers have you killed?"
R.L. Stine: "I've killed hundreds of teenagers. Hundreds. And I didn't know why. Why did I enjoy doing it so much? Why? And then I realized – I had a teenager at home!"
Student: "When you wrote The Giver, did you think that this is where society is going in the near future? Or do you think society has come to that already, in a less extreme way?"
Lois Lowry: "I think there are things in the world of The Giver to which we are headed. And we should be aware of that and be careful about it. Because the world of The Giver was created by people who were trying to make the world safe and comfortable, and that's what we would all like. They just did it by making terrible compromises and by sacrificing things that are important. So, we should all strive as people—I mean, my life will end in the next 10, 15 years but you guys will be the ones creating the future—and what you want is to create a world that is safe and happy and comfortable, but you just need to remain alert to the fact that you can sacrifice freedoms. And you need to be aware of that and careful of that. So I think the book is a warning about that."
Student: "How do you feel when someone bans one of your books?"
Chris Crutcher: "The first time I had my book banned—it was my very first book—it got me on a list in U.S.A. Today with Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain and a whole bunch of really famous authors. I spent at least one whole royalty check going out and buying U.S.A Todayand cutting them up and taking out the little list and laminating them and sending them to my friends as bookmarkers. I have never had a problem being banned. If you ban me, I'm likely to say 'Oh yeah? Watch this.'"
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Festival volunteers and the Pima County Public Library staff, there's a great lineup of student and author interviews for the 2015 Festival!
Look forward to these audio interviews at TFOB 2015 with children and teen authors:
If you're interested in donating your time or skills to this fantastic project, contact Pima County Public Library's Ask-A-Librarian service.