Fourth Grade Journey

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

An Inside Look #23 - Season #2 (AUTHOR Interview)

An Inside Look - With Elana K. Arnold (Author of A Boy Called Bat)

*This was a new feature I added to the blog during the summer of 2016.  It was a shot in the dark that it would work, but much to my surprise; it took off and over the last year I conducted 22 interviews with a variety of authors.  

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

*I didn't have time for interviews during the school year, but I'm excited to be back for "SEASON #two".  

*I'm hoping to run this feature at least once a week.  There is nothing more satisfying than sharing and promoting a book/author/character that I have fallen in love with.  

*Thank you to Elana for being the first author of this new season of interviews.  I truly appreciate it.  

*Here are links to the first TWENTY-TWO interviews…

*The first exposure I had to Elana K. Arnold and her writing was when I read her novel Far From Fair.  I loved it and shared with many of the readers in my class.

*When I started to hear positive praise about A Boy Called Bat, I knew I had to read it.  The story was wonderful, important, and current.  I reached out to Elana after reading it and asked if she would be willing to do an interview about the novel and her character Bat.  She was gracious and agreed.  

*Thank you Elana for writing this novel for middle-grade readers and taking the time to share your thoughts with us here on the blog.  

*Here are the responses she shared with me and I'm thrilled to share them with you...

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold (Released March 14, 2017)

How did you come to know Bat?

Bat came to me, all at once, as I was driving one night. But, like with any sudden flash of insight, Bat is really the result of my long-term loves, interests, and work: animals, odd pets, siblings, the autism spectrum, unconventional learning, and active listening.

What do you think is Bat's most admirable quality? 

I very much admire Bat’s determination and commitment to a cause.

What do you think Bat can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what he went through?
Bat’s main concern in A BOY CALLED BAT is how to convince his mother that he can be a good skunk caretaker, but there’s actually quite a lot going on in Bat’s life in addition to the skunk kit: he’s negotiating between two households, as his parents are divorced; he and his sister Janie have their ups and downs; Bat doesn’t have any close friends, but might like to; Bat gets overwhelmed and overstimulated and has a hard time with change. I hope that watching Bat navigate his challenges might help kids feel more empathy both for fellow children who are having a hard time, and also for themselves. Also, I hope that parents and caregivers might be inspired to be as gentle with their children as Bat’s grown-ups are with him.  

Do you and Bat share any similarities?

Oh, many! Like Bat, I am crazy for animals, and especially enjoy unusual pets. Like Bat, I can find it challenging to make friends, often misunderstanding their cues or tiring them out by talking too much about the things that are interesting and important to me. Like Bat, I like to spend a lot of time on my own, researching my interests. Like Bat, I adore vanilla yogurt and think the fruit-on-the-bottom kind is gross.

What was the hardest (or easiest) scene to write about Bat?

My favorite scene to write comes close to the end of the book, when Bat is feeding Thor at sunset and his mother comes out to join him. This scene makes me feel a little like crying, but in a good way, every time I write it.

Who do you think was Bat’s biggest supporter and why?

Bat is very fortunate in that he has a strong network of family, teachers, and other adults. But I’d say that his mother, Dr. Valerie Tam, is the most consistent, dependable member of his support team.

Why do you think children and animals have such a bond?  

That is a great question. I know that there are some kids who are afraid of animals, but I was never one of them. Growing up, it always seemed to me that all the animals of the world must love me as much as I loved them, and that I was only just a step away from unlocking the secret to communicating with them. I think one of the great things about animals, from a kid’s perspective, is that they need our help, and no kid is too young to offer that help—whether it’s a pat on the head, a dropped piece of toast, or a cuddle, kids have something that animals need. And we all want to be needed. We all want to be of service.

What do you think Bat is doing as the present time? 

Ah! I know the answer to this question, as I am working on the sequel, entitled BAT AND THE WAITING GAME. But, as the title indicates, readers will have to wait to find out.

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