We don't do stars...
We don't do thumbs...
We read children's books and grade them in 10 categories:
literary quality
descriptive ability
humor (if attempted)
illustrations (if present)
believability of characters
believability of situations
overall reading enjoyment

There is no grading curve. There are no points for classroom participation. There is no extra credit.
If you disagree, come speak to us after class.

The Grading System

A+.....this means (guess what) we think it's great. So great it surprised even us.
A.....this means it's pretty darn good. A book we'd recommend to just about everyone we know.
B.....better than most. Not exactly Shakespeare for kids, though, if you get our drift.
C.....mediocre. Like the color beige, it didn't stand out.
D.....we didn't like it. There were more bad aspects than good ones.
F.....it reeked of badness. We read it over and over when we are in dire need of hysterical laughter.
F-.....We're pretty sure Dante had a circle of hell for the people who wrote these...and a lower circle for those who published them.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Author Interview: Jenny Moss

Today we welcome Jenny Moss, author of Winnie's War, the story of a young girl struggling to keep her family safe and together through the outbreak of war and epidemic in her little Texas town.

CBR: What drew you to the time period and setting for WINNIE’S WAR?

JM: I live in the Houston/Galveston area and wanted very much to write about this part of the country. I chose the time period because of my interest in the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic. It actually wasn’t until I did research for the book that I realized what a fascinating time period it was, on the technological cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

CBR: Have you ever wanted to live in a different era? Would it be similar to Winnie’s world (minus the flu and the war!) or some other place and time entirely?

JM: Great question! I’m interested in many other time periods, including Elizabethan and medieval England, the time of the flappers in the US, the New York theater crowd in the 1950s, the world in 1969, so much! Which is what’s great about being a writer: You’re able to “visit” these amazing places.

CBR: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of writing historical fiction?

JM: Historical fiction is a lot of work, but well worth it. I’m into research. I like learning obscure facts about bygone days. My least favorite part is when I feel rushed, when I can’t linger over the details. But writing historical fiction requires finding the right balance between writing and researching. Researching more means writing less; you may never finish the book if you don’t find that balance!

CBR: Are there any authors you loved as a child (or an adult) which influenced your writing or your decision to become a writer?
JM: I don’t remember deciding to become a writer. I liked reading and writing stories. I kept doing it and finally was a writer, I think. I’ve admired many authors over the years and thought it would be wonderful to be as gifted as they were, writers like “Carolyn Keene” (during my Nancy Drew phase), Victoria Holt (during my gothic novel reading), and later, Toni Morrison, F Scott Fitzgerald, Emily Dickinson, Markus Zusak, Billy Collins, Megan Whalen Turner, Shakespeare, Geraldine Brooks, and on and on.

CBR: Are there any questions you’ve always wanted to be asked that you’d like to answer here?

JM: Are there any other members of your family who write?
Why, yes. :) My brother and daughter are both gifted writers. I like to think my mother started it all, tapping away at her typewriter when her kids were small.
Thanks so much for the interview!

CBR: Thank you, Jenny! Your book was great, and we very much appreciate your taking this time to talk to us!

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