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!)
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.
* * * * *
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!