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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

7th MMGM: The Becket List by Adele Griffin (interview)

Welcome to Day 7 of the 7th Annual March MG Madness! Click here to see the full schedule and links to other days.

The Becket List: A Blackberry Farm Story 
By Adele Griffin 
April 2, 2019 
Algonquin Young Readers 

Adventure and discover with the bold and intrepid Becket Branch when her family’s move from city to a country farm means big changes! 

Everything is changing for Becket Branch. From subways to sidewalks to safety rules, Becket is a city kid born and raised. Now the Branch family is trading urban bustle for big green fields and moving to Gran’s farm, where Becket has to make sense of new routines from feeding animals to baling hay. And as much as Becket loves to yell “Beautiful Alert!” there’s a lot about the countryside that is just plain odd. 

But Becket is ready to put her own spin on country life. Whether selling her mouth-puckering lemonade, feeding hostile hens, or trying to make a best friend of her new neighbor Frieda Franca, Becket is determined to use her city smarts to get a grip on farm living. Laugh and learn with Becket as she mucks through the messy, exuberant human experience of change she didn’t ask for, in a story that sparkles with quirky characters and lasting connections. 

Q1. What three words best describe your book The Becket List?

funny, heartfelt, illustrated 

Q2.  Grab a copy of The Becket List and answer the following 
Favorite chapter? 
Chapter 8: SAFETY TIPS 
This chapter is about that thin-skinned feeling of being the new kid. 
Also, Becket is being her best Beckety self and it’s not working as planned. 
Plus—surprise--her shy twin introvert brother, Nicholas, has a better day.  

Favorite page? 
Page 199—Becket’s list: HOW TO BE A COUNTRY KID—is revised. 

Favorite setting? 
Ah! I liked writing about the porch when the big thunderstorm rolls in. 

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser: 
“Today is the day!” I tell my family when I come back in from the henhouse. “I just need to invent a secret lemonade recipe.” 

Q3. What inspired The Becket List? How did the story come to be? 

I was first inspired when my oldest child, Priscilla, asked to be referred to as PIn the first chapter of the book, Becket changes her name from Rebecca because it suits her better. 
Also my family and I were spending time upstate, in the country. I liked it but was a real fish-out-of-water. So I think it’s a book about figuring out your core self and your true voice. 

Q4. Tell us a bit about your character Becket Branch. What makes her special? What do you love about her? 

I wanted to create a character that reflected both of my young children’s delight in the natural world. Becket the collector and list-maker is more who I was as a kid. Becket the reach-high exuberant is my husband. Becket feels so cozy-family to me, and that’s what makes her special. 

Q5. What do you love about writing and reading middle-grade lit? 

I love being a storyteller because I think it helps me find the storyteller in everyone. I enjoy listening to other people’s stories because it’s a point of connection. 

Q6. What is your all-time favorite middle-grade book? 

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase  

Q7. Fill in the blanks: 
I’m really awesome at celebrating. 

I’m really embarrassed to admit I don’t ever know when I’m heading North South West or East. 

The last great book I read was Field Notes on Love by Jen E. Smith. 

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by The Becket List what would it look and taste like? What would you call it? 

I would use an extra egg (from the henhouse). 
Half a cup of lemon juice and grated rind for zest. 
Not too much sugar, because Becket doesn’t have a sweet tooth. 
Nicholas and Caroline would get to make the frosting. 
One blueberry, raspberry, or blackberry as decoration on top. 
Mr. Fancypants gets his own cupcake, topped with peanut-butter. 
I think it would taste pretty good if Becket was careful about not getting eggshells in the batter, remembered to preheat, and didn’t add too much lemon juice. 

Adele Griffin is the highly acclaimed author of almost thirty books for Young Adult and middle grade readers. 

Her works include the National Book Award Finalists Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, as well as the popular Oodlethunks series for younger readers. Her latest novel The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone was a YALSA Best Book of 2015, an Amazon Best YA Book of the Year, a Booklist Top Ten Arts Books for Youth, a Junior Library Guild selection, a Romantic Times Finalist for Book of the Year, and a School Library Journal Top Fiction pick. Her latest novel Be True to Me is publishing in June 2017 with Algonquin Books. 
Adele serves on the Board of Directors of the MacDowell Colony, and is on the advisory board of 826NYC. She lives with her husband, Erich, their two young children, and their dog, Edith, in Brooklyn, New York. 

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Becket sounds really sweet and I like that she found a name that suits her style and personality.