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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Julie Sternberg

Julie Sternberg is stopping by today to talk about her book Like Bug Juice on a Burger.
Check out my review of Like Bug Juice on a Burger and the whole March MG Madness schedule (and enter the big box giveaway).

by Julie Sternberg
Amulet Books
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository

I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops.

WS: What three words best describe Like Bug Juice on a Burger?  
 Eleanor hates camp.

WS: Can you give us your best one sentence pitch to convince readers (especially reluctant readers) to give Like Bug Juice on a Burger a try?  
Eleanor has underwear problems, rat-related problems, swim test problems, and sloppy joe problems.  Plus, the book's sentences are short and the chapters are short, but a whole lot happens.  (I know that's two sentences!  Arguably three, if you factor in run-ons.  Sorry!) 

WS: Grab a copy of Like Bug Juice on a Burger and answer the following?
Favorite page?  
Page 115.  I love the illustration of Eleanor, all alone, looking at the swim shack.  We can't see her face; Matt has drawn her from behind.  She looks so isolated, and she's obviously dreading walking into that shack.  The shack is a meaningful place in the story, and that image perfectly captures the emotions evoked by it.

Favorite character?  
I love Eleanor's new friend, Joplin.  She has an unusual perspective and, I think, a funny one.

Favorite illustration?
I'll pick another favorite, since I've already mentioned one.  Page 43, the illustration of Eleanor tripping on a root while surrounded by gnats.  I always laugh when I see that picture, and I feel so bad for her. 

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:
Page 128:  The director of the camp has called Eleanor, and Eleanor alone, into her office  And it's not because Eleanor has done something good.

WS: Why did you choose to write your Eleanor books in free-verse? Do you find this form easier or harder than traditional prose?  
I hate to admit this, but I never set out to write Eleanor's books in free verse.  I chose short sentences and frequent line breaks because I hoped they'd help make the books appealing to less confident readers.  I also like that this format allows the lines to track the rhythms of Eleanor's thinking.  

As for what's easy and what's hard:  No matter what the format, some days words flow freely for me and some days I can't produce a single worthwhile sentence.    

WS: Are you planning any new books about Eleanor? If so, can you share any details about Eleanor's new adventures?
Yes!  I'm writing a third book about Eleanor right now.  In it, she does a mean thing to a new girl at her school and to her best friend, Pearl.  And then she feels *terrible.*  It's very traumatic.  (At least, that's what's happening in the current draft.  We'll see how it goes.)      

WS: Why did you choose to write middle-grade? Why do you think middle-grade is so important?
I was happiest as a kid when I was reading middle-grade novels.  I'd love to write books that are as meaningful to someone as those books so often were to me.  My passion for reading began with middle-grade novels, and I think that's frequently true.  What could be better than being a part of that?        

WS: What's your all time favorite middle-grade book? Favorite middle-grade hero and/or heroine?
An all time favorite?  That's like choosing my favorite daughter!  I can't possibly do it!  

I can name some favorites, though.  (This is not a complete list.) 
JACOB HAVE I LOVED, by Katherine Paterson (fabulously imperfect heroine, Louise, who despises her twin sister)
LOVE THAT DOG, by Sharon Creech (a tiny, powerful book with a great voice)
THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS, by Jaclyn Moriarty (an older middle grade that uses different writing styles in tremendously entertaining ways)
ON MY HONOR, by Marion Dane Bauer (a short classic that's very readable and very moving) 
THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION, by Nancy Farmer (stellar science fiction that won the National Book Award, the Newbery Honor, and the Printz Honor)
A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO and its sequel, A YEAR DOWN YONDER, by Richard Peck (there is no better heroine than tough-talking, lying, gun-carrying Grandma Dowdel)

WS: Since you like to write poetry, can you write us a haiku about Eleanor and/or her experiences in Like Bug Juice on a Burger?
(This haiku is written in Eleanor's voice.)

My mom loved this camp.
I really wish I did too.
But I can't stand it.

WS: Fill in the blanks:
I'm really awesome at ___.  
sneezing alarmingly loudly

I'm really embarrassed to admit that ___.  
 sappy commercials often make me cry

When I think of summer camp, the one word that comes to mind is ___.  

My favorite middle-grade appropriate curse word or expletive is ___.  

WS: If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Like Bug Juice on a Burger what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Chocolate cake with crushed M&Ms on the inside; chocolate frosting with whole M&Ms on top.   

I'd call it "It's Good to be Home."  Because Eleanor loves M&Ms (and chocolate), and her camp is candy-free.

Julie Sternberg
Julie Sternberg received her MFA in writing for children from the New School. She is the author ofLike Pickle Juice on a Cookie. She lives in Brooklyn.

Win a copy of 
Like Bug Juice on a Burger!
You have three chances to win a copy of this book:
1. An ARC is included in the box of 10 MG books giveaway here
2. Enter below (first Rafflecopter form) to win an ARC of Like Bug Juice on a Burger AND My Summer of Pink & Green: there will be two winners (US only)
3. Enter the second Rafflecopter for a chance to win 1 of 10 Abrams/Amulet books (including this book).

Win an ARC of Like Bug Juice on a Burger AND My Summer of Pink & Green
-will run from 3/5 - 3/31
-there will be 2 winners who will win both ARCs
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prize in the mail
Fill out first Rafflecopter below

Win 1 of 10 middle-grade books (finished copies) from Abrams
-there will be 10 winners who will each win one book
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prize in the mail
Fill out Rafflecopter below


Jillyn said...

This book sounds hilariously adorable. I never got to go to camp, and books like this make me exceedingly glad lol.

Anonymous said...

I never had the chance to go to camp so this story sounds adorable and full of fun to me.
It will make a perfect summer read too. :)


Geo Librarian said...

A camp story told in free verse, sounds intriguing. Makes me think of my own camp experiences. ;)

Paige said...

I love stories that are in verse! I can't wait to check out these books :)

Unknown said...

This book sounds exactly like something I would enjoy. I can't wait to check it out.