Sydney Taylor Award Blog Tour: Gordon Korman
It’s the second day of the 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour (click here for the full schedule) and I’m honored to talk with Gordon Korman, author of Sydney Taylor Middle Grade Honor winner Linked.
Travis Jonker: Hello, Gordon! Congratulations! How did you find out about winning a Sydney Taylor Honor? What was your reaction?
Gordon Korman: My son had a friend driving down from Connecticut, so when the call came in from a 203 number, I only picked up because I thought it was him. That was a surprise. Over the years, I’ve won a lot of Young Readers Choice Award-style honors, but as I listened to the committee chair on the other end of the line, it began to sink in: This was THAT call.
TJ: What was the initial inspiration for Linked?
GK: I’ve always been fascinated with the famous Paper Clips Project by the students of Whitwell Middle School in Tennessee. There was a genius to their approach to studying the Holocaust – that in order to wrap your mind around the scope of the tragedy, you first have to wrap your mind around the number six million. We all know six million is a large number, but how many of us have ever really seen what six million of something looks like? The story of LINKED began in my mind as a middle-grade homage to the Paper Clips Project.
TJ: What’s one motto or piece of advice about writing that you always carry with you?
GK: I wasn’t a reluctant reader as a kid, but I was definitely a can-read-but-won’t. So when I’m writing, I always have an imaginary friend at my side – an imaginary heckler, really. It’s a middle grade kid, short attention span, easily bored. The idea is if I can keep my heckler hooked, I can keep anybody turning pages.
TJ: Last question: What snack puts you in peak creativity mode?
GK: I’m a cereal guy, and I’m a mixer. Honey Nut Cheerios and All Bran, lots of milk, medium mushy.
Thanks for taking my questions, Gordon!
Filed under: Authors
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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