Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (5/29/23)


Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to the site...


Books I Read this Past Week...

World Made of Glass 
by Ami Polonsky

*Middle-Grade Novel (4 STARS out of 5 Stars)

Salvage This World by Michael Farris Smith

*Novel Published for Adults (3 STARS out of 5 Stars)

Books I Will Read (Continue to Read) this Week...

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

*My Novel Published for Adults

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

*My Novel Published for Adults

The Labors of Hercules Beal by Gary D. Schmidt

*My Middle-Grade Novel (ARC)

The Witch of Woodland by Laurel Snyder

*My Middle-Grade Novel (Audio)

No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister

*My Novel Published for Adults

Monday, May 22, 2023

An Inside Look #252 (Author INTERVIEW)


An Inside Look with Dusti Bowling

(Author of DUST)

*Season #ONE (June of 2016 to March of 2017)

*Season #TWO (Summer of 2017)

*Season #THREE (School Year 2017/2018)

Season #FOUR
 (Summer/fall of 2018)

*Season #FIVE (School Year 2018/2019)

*Season #SIX (Summer 2019) 

*Season #SEVEN (Fall 2019) 

*Season #EIGHT (Winter/Spring 2020)

*Season #NINE (Fall 2020)

*Season #TEN (Winter/Spring 2021)

*Season #ELEVEN (Fall 2021)

*Season #TWELVE (Winter/Spring 2022)

*Season #THIRTEEN (Summer 2022)

*Season #FOURTEEN (Fall 2022)

*I'm excited to present season #FIFTEEN with brand new interviews/authors.  

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" about their novel, characters, and thoughts about the story.

*This is the EIGHTEENTH and FINAL interview in which I'm calling Season #FIFTEEN. 

*Thank you to Dusti Bowling for being the Two Hundred Fifty-Second author I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.  


by Dusti Bowling

(August 15, 2023)

 How did you come to know Avalyn?
Avalyn started with a story idea several years ago that had to do with dust storms in Arizona and one big question: What if a person was causing the dust storms? It’s always a lot of questions that lead to my story ideas, and the rest of the questions sort of went like this: What if someone was being hurt by the dust storms? Why are they being hurt? Do they have an illness badly impacted by the dust? What if the person causing the dust is like Elsa from Frozen and can’t control it to keep from hurting this other person? How would my main character stop the dust? What if she can’t stop it? What does she want? What is her biggest weakness and how does she ever overcome it? So much storytelling is asking a lot of questions, and it’s all these question that help me get to the heart of my stories and characters.

What do you think is her most admirable quality?
I think Avalyn’s most admirable quality is her empathy, and not just her supernatural empathy. When she begins to strongly suspect that something is seriously wrong in Adam’s life, she could just ignore it or turn her back on him. It would be easy to do since he’s not always very nice to her. She’s genuinely worried about him, though, and won’t let it go, even to the point of being a bit overbearing. I guess that would be another admirable quality—her determination to get to the truth.

Is there anything you wish she would have changed or done differently in her story?
No, I think she had the arc she needed to have. All good characters make mistakes and have flaws. Avalyn is no different.

What do you think Avalyn can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what she went through?
I think Avalyn can show children that she understands how hard it can be to stand up for yourself and others. It’s often scary and intimidating and it can cost you something, but in the end, doing what’s right and telling the truth will set you free.

How did you research Avalyn and the circumstances she found herself in?
Just about everyone in my family has asthma, so that part was easy. A lot of what Avalyn is experiencing, from the bullying to the finding out about others being abused, is inspired by my own experiences growing up. As with The Canyon’s Edge, I read a lot about trauma in children. When I was in college, I took a lot of child psychology classes, so I’ve always been interested in the impact of abuse and neglect in children, how they react to it, the long-term effects on their lives, and therapeutic methods for helping them.

Do you and Avalyn share any similarities?
I think we do. I’ve also had a hard time speaking up in the past. I was incredibly shy and introverted for most of my childhood, and the thought of doing what Avalyn does at the spelling bee is terrifying to me. Avalyn was braver than I ever was in school.

What was the hardest scene to write about her?
The scene where Avalyn realizes what is happening to Adam was very hard to write mostly because of what I had to make her feel in order for her to fully understand what was happening to him and what it was doing to him. Trying to capture and describe those feelings in both Adam and her was difficult.

Who do you think was her biggest supporter and why?
I don’t think I can choose between her two parents. They’re both equally her biggest supporters. They can be incredibly overprotective, but they always want the best for her no matter what. They also want to see her become her best self, not just for herself, but for others as well.

Why do you think some young people, like Avalyn, have the strength and courage to help others; while others will sit back and do nothing?  What drives a person to step up and do the right thing for others?
I think fear is a big part of why people don’t help. Avalyn doesn’t help others for a lot of the story out of fear—fear of being bullied, fear of losing friends, fear of someone getting mad at her. It’s only when her empathy and concern begin to outweigh her fear that she’s able to find the strength to do what she needs to do to help others. I think it’s the same with other people—their empathy has to outweigh their fear or their complacency or whatever it is that’s keeping them from standing up for others.

What do you think Avalyn is doing at the present time?
I think she’s definitely hanging out with Dillon and Nan. The there of them have probably started their own YouTube channel inspired by Pavel Belsky (who was actually inspired by Anton Petrov and What Da Math). Avalyn and Dillon would make a great pair in that Avalyn would bring the supernatural ideas and Dillon would bring pure science. Nan would be a good intermediary.  


*Here are links to the Two Hundred Fifty-One interviews...

SEASON #ONE (2016-2017)

SEASON #FOUR (Summer 2018)

SEASON #FIVE (2018/2019)

SEASON #SIX (Summer 2019)

SEASON #SEVEN (Fall 2019)

SEASON #EIGHT (Winter/Spring 2020)

Interview #121 with Melissa Savage (Author of Nessie Quest)

Interview #122 with Tamara Bundy (Author of Pixie Pushes On)

Interview #123 with Lindsay Lackey (Author of All the Impossible Things)

Interview #124 with Tae Keller (Author of When You Trap a Tiger)

Interview #125 with Jamie Sumner (Author of Roll With It)

Interview #126 with Hena Khan (Author of More to the Story)

Interview #127 with Phil Bildner (Author of A High-Five for Glenn Burke)

Interview #128 with Leslie Connor (Author of A Home for Goddesses and Dogs)

Interview#129 with Gillian McDunn (Author of Queen Bee and Me)

Interview #130 with Jody J. Little (Author of Worse Than Weird)

Interview #131 with Jenn Bishop (Author of Things You Can't Say)

Interview #132 with Kaela Noel (Author of Coo)

Interview #133 with Rebecca Stead (Author of The List of Things That Will Not Change)

Interview #134 with Gae Polisner (Author of Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me)

Interview #135 with Emily Blejwas (Author of Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened)

Interview #136 with Joy McCullough (Author of A Field Guide to Getting Lost)

Interview #137 with Kim Baker (Author of the Water Bears)

Interview #138 with Erin Entrada Kelly (Author of We Dream of Space)

Interview #139 with Jess Redman (Author of Quintessence)

Interview #140 with Melanie Conklin (Author of Every Missing Piece)

Interview #141 with Lindsey Stoddard (Author of Brave Like That)

SEASON #NINE (Fall 2020)

SEASON #TEN (Winter/Spring 2021)

Interview #158 with Rebecca Ansari (Author of The In-Between)

Interview #159 with John David Anderson (Author of One Last Shot) 

Interview #160 with Tracy Holczer (Author of Brave in the Woods)

Interview #161 with James Bird (Author of The Brave) 

Interview #162 with Marcella Pixley (Author of Trowbridge Road)

Interview #163 with Barbara O'Connor (Author of Halfway to Harmony)

Interview #164 with Alan Gratz (Author of Ground Zero) 

Interview #165 with Lisa Fipps (Author of Starfish)

Interview #166 with Ann Braden (Author of Flight of the Puffin)

Interview #167 with Kimberly Willis Holt (Author of The Ambassador of NoWhere Texas) 

Interview #168 with Elana K. Arnold (Author of The House That Wasn't There) 

Interview #169 with Erin Soderberg (Author of The Great Peach Experiment)

Interview #170 with Donna Gephart (Author of Abby, Tried, and True)

Interview #171 with M. Evan Wolkenstein (Author of Turtle Boy)

Interview #172 with Lindsey Stoddard (Author of Bea is for Blended)

Interview #173 with Jess Redman (Author of The Adventure is Now)

Interview #174 with David Levithan (Author of The Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden)

Interview #175 with Chris Grabenstein (Author of The Smartest Kid in the Universe)

Interview #176 with Ali Standish (Author of The Mending Summer)

Interview #177 with Holly Goldberg Sloan (Author of The Elephant in the Room)

Interview #178 with Jeff Zentner (Author of In the Wild Light)

SEASON #ELEVEN (Fall/Winter 2021)

Interview #179 with Katherine Applegate (Author of Willow) 

Interview #180 with Padma Venkatraman (Author of Born Behind Bars)

Interview #181 with R.J. Palacio (Author of Pony)

Interview #182 with Kyle Lukoff (Author of Too Bright to See)

Interview #183 with Barbara Dee (Author of Violets are Blue)

Interview #184 with Anne Ursu (Author of The Troubled Girls of Dragonmir Academy) 

Interview #185 with Margaret Finnegan (Author of We Could Be Heroes)

Interview #186 with Jasmine Warga (Author of Shape of Thunder)

Interview #187 with Joseph Bruchac (Author of Rez Dogs)

Interview #188 with Kathryn Erskine (Author of Lily's Promise)

Interview #189 with Elly Swartz (Author of Dear Student)

Interview #190 with Heather Clark (Author of Lemon Drop Falls)

Interview #191 with Veera Hiranandani (Author of How to Find What You're Not Looking For)

Interview #192 with Elizabeth Eulberg (Author of The Best Worst Summer)

Interview #193 with Cathy Carr (Author of 365 Days to Alaska)

Interview #194 with Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard (Authors of REAL)

Interview #195 with Gillian McDunn (Author of These Lucky Stars)

Interview #196 with Alyssa Colman (Author of The Gilded Girl) 

Interview #197 with E.L. Chen (Author of The Comeback)

Interview #198 with J.M.M. Nuanez (Author of Birdie and Me) 

SEASON #TWELVE (Winter/Spring 2022)

Interview #199 with Jamie Sumner (Author of One Kid's Trash)

Interview #200 with Chad Lucas (Author of Thanks a Lot, Universe) 

Interview #201 with Jenn Bishop (Author of Where We Used to Roam)

Interview #202 with Rebecca Caprara (Author of Worst-Case Collin) 

Interview #203 with Leslie Connor (Author of Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?)

Interview #204 with Caroline Gertler (Author of Many Points of Me)

Interview #205 with Margaret Finnegan (Author of Susie B. Won't Back Down) 

Interview #206 with Shawn Peters (Author of The Unforgettable Logan Foster)

Interview #207 with Aisha Saeed (Author of Omar Rising)

Interview #208 with Adrianna Cuevas (Author of Cuba in my Pocket)

Interview #209 with Jennifer Swender (Author of Stuck)

Interview #210 with Brenda Woods (Author of When Winter Robeson Came)

Interview #211 with Danya Lorentz (Author of the Book Of a Feather)

Interview #212 with Saadia Faruqi (Author of Yusuf Azeem is Not a Hero)

Interview #213 with Ellen Hopkins (Author of What About Will) 

SEASON #THIRTEEN (Summer 2022)

Interview #214 with Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner (Authors of What About the Octopus)

Interview #215 with Lauren Wolk (Author of My Own Lightning)

Interview #216 with Rebekah Lowell (Author of the Road to After)

Interview #217 with Gillian McDunn (Author of Honestly Elliott) 

Interview #218 with Dan Gemeinhart (Author of The Midnight Children)

Interview #219 with Melanie Conklin (Author of A Perfect Mistake) 

Interview #220 with Kyle Lukoff (Author of Different Kinds of Fruit)

Interview #221 with Tracy Edward Wymer (Author of The Great and Mighty Benjamin Teller)

Interview #222 with Louise Hawes (Author of Big Rig)

Interview #223 with Paul Acampora (Author of In Honor of Broken Things)

Interview #224 with Shannon Doleski (Author of Gabe in the After)

Interview #225 with Jennifer Ziegler (Author of Worser)

Interview #226 with Natalie Lloyd (Author of Hummingbird)


Interview #227 with Celia C. Perez (Author of Tumble

Interview #228 with Greg Howard (Author of The Visitors)

Interview #229 with Rob Buyea (Author of The Daredevils)

Interview #230 with Sashi Kaufman (Author of Sardines)

Interview #231 with Lindsey Stoddard (Author of The Real Deal)

Interview #232 with Margaret Finnegan (Author of New Kids and Underdogs)

Interterview #233 with Amanda Rawson Hill (Author of The Hope of Elephants)

Interview #234 with Jasmine Warga (Author of A Rover's Story)

SEASON #FIFTEEN (Winter/Spring 2023)

Interview #235 with Varsha Bajaj (Author of Thirst)

Interview #236 with Torrey Maldonado (Author of Hands)

Interview #237 with C.C. Harrington (Author of Wildoak)

Interview #238 with Margi Preus (Author of Windswept)

Interview #239 with Dayna Lorentz (Author of Wayward Creatures)

Interview #240 with Katrina Nannestad (Author of We are Wolves)

Interview #241 with Anika Fajardo (Author of Meet Me Halfway)

Interview #242 with Chrystal D. Giles (Author of Not an Easy Win)

Interview #243 with Gregory Maquire (Author of Cress, Watercress)

Interview #244 with Will Taylor (Author of The Language of Seabirds)

Interview #245 with Gillian McDunn (Author of When Sea Becomes Sky)

Interview #246 with Ann Braden (Author of Opinions and Opossums)

Interview #247 with Jarrett Lerner (Author of A Work in Progress)

Interview #248 with John David Anderson (Author of The Greatest Kid in the Universe)

Interview #249 with Aubrey Hartman (Author of The Lion and Lark-Hayes Manor)


Interview #250 with Sally J. Pla (Author of The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn)

Interview #251 with Chris Baron (Author of The Gray)