Monday, April 16, 2012

Class of 2K12 -- A special MMGM Guest Post from the author of The Mapmaker and the Ghost


Meet Sarvenaz Tash, Class of 2K12 author!  

From her own website, here's how to pronounce her name:  My name is pronounced Sar (like the first part of Sara) - ve (rhymes with yeah) - naz (rhymes with 'cuz). Or you can just listen to me pronouncing it here(Joanne's note: I love Teaching Books.net -- there's a link right over there in my sidebar!)


Sarvenaz Tash


Her debut novel, The Mapmaker and the Ghost, pubs on April 24, 2012 from Bloomsbury/Walker, for ages 8 to 12. 

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Goldenrod Moram loves nothing better than a good quest. Intrepid, curious, and full of a well-honed sense of adventure, she decides to start her own exploring team fashioned after her idols, the explorers Lewis and Clark, and to map the forest right behind her home. This task is complicated, however, by a series of unique events—a chance encounter with a mysterious old lady has her searching for a legendary blue rose. Another encounter lands her in the middle of a ragtag gang of brilliant troublemakers. And when she stumbles upon none other than the ghost of Meriwether Lewis himself, Goldenrod knows this will be anything but an ordinary summer . . . or an ordinary quest.



Welcome to My Brain on Books, Sarvenaz!  And I'm looking forward to your release day next week.  Thank you so much for agreeing to do a guest post!  Take it away, Sarvenaz.


My Favorite Childhood Book

Reading was one of my favorite pastimes as a kid. This is probably not surprising given what I do now! But it was a little surprising, I think, for my family back then. With the exception of my dad (who’s big into history and non-fiction books,) no one in my family was particularly into reading fiction.

I discovered books when my 2nd grade teacher read Beverly Cleary books to us in the classroom. At first, I wanted to buy the books, too, so that when I played teacher with my stuffed animals, I would be doing so more faithfully. (I was a stickler for accuracy.)

But then I discovered the joy of reading them on my own. There were all sorts of stories, all sorts of people to meet and places to go, and they were just waiting for me on thousands and thousands of pages. Even though my family wasn’t big into reading themselves, they sure encouraged my voracious love of it. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

If I had to pick one author who influenced me and my childhood reading (and my writing later on), it would have to be Roald Dahl. The Witches, in particular, was my favorite book of his. But, really, I loved them all. I loved his dark and dry sense of humor. I loved how the adults in his book were at the very least a little twisted and, more often than not, rather sinister. I loved how it never felt like he condescended to kids, like his books always were telling you that--in some ways (like recognizing witches)--kids knew more than adults did.

I think that’s an extremely powerful message when you’re a kid, when it feels like most things are out of your control and like your choices are mostly those of your parents or teachers or other adult figures. There’s something wonderful about being let into a secret club or being told there are some things that are meant just for you.

Roald Dahl passed away when I was nine. And I remember when I heard about it being so sad, because I knew there were only a finite amount of his books I could ever read. I doled them out to myself over the next two years, only taking one out of the library for every other five or six books I checked out. The last one I read of his (for the first time) was The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. I remember that distinctly.

And I’ve never forgotten what his books meant to me. I know that a lot of the humor and adventure in The Mapmaker and the Ghost, my debut middle grade book, is inspired by him and his work. And maybe, even, a sinister adult or two. 

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Thanks so much for joining us today, Sarvenaz!  I love Roald Dahl too.   For me, it was reading James and the Giant Peach in second grade that made me want to write.  What about you, readers?  Was there a particular book in your childhood that made you want to write?  Or made you love middle grade novels?


Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger.  For other MMGM bloggers, see my new bloglist over on the right!

28 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this special interview - I love reading about how children's books influence people! Your book sounds intriguing, I'm going to look for it!

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  2. Thanks for sharing Sarvenaz. I was a reader as a kid too and loved being transported into new worlds. I still love reading and wish I could get a job reading. Good luck with your debut. Your book sounds great.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! Getting a job reading would be DIVINE. Though, I also wonder if it would take the pleasure out of it just a little.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! Roald Dahl was my favorite too :-)

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  4. The Witches was one of my favorites too, along with The BFG. (Did you like the film adaptation of The Witches?) Dahl was the the master of writing dark humor in a children's stories. And I also spent many happy hours with Beverly Cleary's books. The Mouse and the Motorcyle! Putt putt putt putt...

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    1. Yes, I LOVED that movie adaptation which I thought was very true to the book (except for the very end, which I was disappointed in a little, but I understood why they had to go that route). Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch was amazing.

      I might get tomatoes thrown at me, but I always hated Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory because it was so off from the book. I loved the Tim Burton version though.

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  5. I'm looking so forward to reading your book when it releases, Sarvenaz! Thank you for sharing how kid books influenced you.

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  6. I'm really looking forward to reading this book. http://1000blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Laurisa! I'm so looking forward to yours too.

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  7. Me too on Roald Dahl! Matilda is one of my favorites of his. Congrats on your book---really looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! Matilda is definitely way, way up there for me too. My fiance bought me a large Matilda canvas for my birthday last year and it hangs above my desk now (it's one of Quentin Blake's illustrations where she's surrounded by books).

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  8. Thanks for stopping by to answer comments, Sarvenaz! And I must say I have to agree with your comment about the Willy Wonka movie. It was fun, but wasn't at all like the book!

    Thanks to everyone else for dropping by.

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    1. Thanks for having me, Joanne! And, more importantly, thanks for backing me up on Willy Wonka. :-)

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  9. I loved reading Beverly Cleary books as well as Judy Blume too!

    kellybrown28021@gmail.com

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    1. Definitely Judy: the Fudge books were also a favorite!

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  10. I also loved The Witches--one of my all-time favorites of his!

    I'm currently reading The Mapmaker and the Ghost as part of the Debut Authors ARC Tour and will have my review up before the end of the month.

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  11. Lovely post - brings me back :)

    And I love that you are featuring 2012 authors! I want to read more debut authors and new books, and this is such a terrific way to spread the word.

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    1. Thanks, Gina! The Class of 2K12 and the Apocalypsies are two groups of debut MG/YA authors -- there are a lot of terrific new authors there!

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  12. congratulations and great post. I think one of the reasons I love MG/YA books so much is because of what they meant to me when I was that age. Like you say, being able to pick our own books at the library, being independent readers. This is what we were reading.

    Yes, yes, yes for all the reason you say you like his writing. I've only read 3 of his books. I'll have to pick up Witches.

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  13. Awesome! I got a copy of this one from NetGalley--can't wait to read it!! :-)

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  14. This sounds like a great book! I liked learning about Ms. Tash :) I liked "The Witches" too!

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