Q: How did you come up with the idea for School, and for the cast of characters?
A: I wanted to create a book that explores the complicated relationships and emotions experienced by every child at school. The characters developed out of my own, my son’s, and friends’ experiences at school. My husband was a schoolteacher, which also influenced my cast of characters.
Q: One of the themes in the book involves bullying--why did you choose that as a focus?
A: I think that most people know somebody who has experienced bullying at school. It is a universal issue and I wanted to focus on the negative as well as the positive – bullying, loneliness, anxiety as well as friendship, empathy, and encouragement...
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: I hope that children and young people can identify with some of the characters in the book and that the book can be a conversation opener – either in a classroom setting or at home.
Q: What age group do you think would especially appreciate the book?
A: I hope that the book will be read by children and young adults of a wide range of ages. The recommended reading age is 8-12 – but I had positive feedback from older and younger children as well.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently working on a nonfiction book about crows and a picture book about anger and rage.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Thank you for inviting me to talk about my book.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Britta Teckentrup.