Park, the award-winning author of A Long walk to Water, A Single Shard, The Kite Fighters, When My Name Was Keoko, and many more inspirational children's books sits on the panel at the closing general session of the IRA Annual Convention in Chicago on Wednesday, May 2. She shared her views on the challenge of writing for children with Reading Today.
Reading Today: What got you interested in writing books for children and/or young adults?
Linda Sue Park: Writing for young people requires greater economy of language, scrupulous word choice, and a tighter focus on story. The good children's writing I admire and strive for makes much adult work seem fat and lazy by comparison. I think the challenges of writing for young people make me a better writer, which hopefully carries over into all my work.
RT: What do consider your best book to date and why?
LSP: That's like asking me which of my kids is the best! But if I had to choose the book that has had the biggest real-world impact, it would be A Long Walk to Water. Students at schools all over the country have read this book and been inspired to raise and donate money toward building freshwater wells in South Sudan. Because of their efforts, people who have never had clean water before now have it. It's been a privilege to be part of that effort.
RT: What can attendees at IRA Chicago expect to hear from you?
LSP: I want all my books to accomplish two things: to entertain young readers, and to make them think. Thinking about the story long after they finish the book: that is a skill I fear is eroding in this era of tweet and sound bite and instantaneous response. Young people need considered narrative. It's a huge part of what makes us human.
Visit www.lindasuepark.com for more details about Linda Sue Park. For more information about the 2012 IRA Annual Convention in Chicago from April 29 to May 2, visit www.iraconvention.org.
Linda Sue Park Will Be There…Will You?