In Conversation with Matthew Winner of The Children’s Book Podcast

The Children's Book Podcast logoAs a new educator, I met Matthew Winner at the Maryland Association of School Librarians annual conference where I attended one of his workshop sessions.  I have been one of his biggest fans ever since.   I have found his children’s literature podcast to be one of my favorite forms of professional learning and one of the best resource tools for library collection development.  But they are wonderful resources for anyone who loves children’s literature from librarians, to teachers, to parents – and to the children who love to read. Matthew’s interviews encourage the listener to look at each book with eyes that see the wonder in its words and illustrations.  Every time I listen to his podcast, I am filled with joy.

Matthew is a “Rock Star” school librarian in Howard County Public Schools. In 2013 he was named Mover and Shaker by School Library Journal for his work incorporating technology into his classes.  That same year, he was invited to the White House as part of the Champions of Change program.  Matthew is the co-founder of All the Wonders children’s literature website, and the founder of The Children’s Book Podcast.

On Saturday, May 19, Matthew will be in conversation with Gayle Forman, prolific author of young adult fiction titles including Just One, Leave Me, I was Here, If I Stay, and Sisters in Sanity about her newest release, I have Lost my Way – a powerful story of empathy and friendship.  In live recording for The Children’s Book Podcast, Matthew will explore Gayle’s craft as a writer, asking questions with a sense of curiosity and wonder for her artistry.

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What do you appreciate the most about interviewing authors and illustrators?

“I have always loved having a venue to speak openly, honestly, and sincerely about the books I love with the people who made them. More often than not I have seen something beautiful or challenging or new important (or all of the above) in these books. That opportunity to get to know the storyteller as well as the origins of the stories themselves is something I’ve always valued.”

What have you learned about yourself and about the KidLit industry as your podcast has evolved?

“I think the biggest things I’ve learned are that modeling diversity and representation through your art or platform take concentrated intention, and with said platform comes responsibility.  I strive to champion as often as possible authors and illustrators of color, LBGTQ authors and allies, and historically marginalized voices. But in doing so I find I spend a lot of time looking at my recording schedule and being as deliberate as possible as I consider what my guest list says about my values and goals on the podcast. It’s important I stay cognizant of my own biases and gaps in knowledge as I approach each interview. It’s something I strive to improve with each and every episode. I think that everyone in children’s publishing, from authors to illustrators, editors to publishers, bloggers to teachers, we’re all still trying to find our way, to navigate these uncertain waters with care and respect. It’s nice to know that all of us are learning together.”

What keeps you coming back year after year to the Gaithersburg Book Festival?

“I live in Ellicott City, just a short hop down the road to the GBF, and I am continually impressed with the list of authors hosted each year. The setting of downtown Gaithersburg feels intimate and even quaint, but the authors, illustrators, and cartoonists that come to speak rival that of The National Book Festival some years. It’s really a great way to hear a world class author on a close-seat stage.”

Since you are a KidLit expert, how do you feel about interviewing young adult author, Gayle Forman? Do you think you’ll continue to expand your podcast and interview more young adult authors in the future?

“The books that are most often on my radar as an elementary school librarian tend to be books that would appeal to that age range, but I definitely try to “read up” as often as time allows (and usually through audiobooks). I don’t feature YA as often as I’d like, but I’m blessed to have a great group of friends who work in middle and high school libraries and are always willing to share what books are on their radar or won’t ever stay on the shelves. But in terms of the interview, I’ll approach my interview with Gayle with the same sense of curiosity and exploration as I do with any other guest. I look forward to speaking with Gayle Forman at GBF and all that we’ll all learn together about her craft and her new book!”

Gayle Forman will be in conversation with Matthew Winner in the Ogden Nash Pavilion   1:15p-2:05pm – I hope you’ll join in on the conversation! 

For more information about Gayle Forman and her books, visit http://gayleforman.com

Award-winning author and journalist Gayle Forman has written several bestselling novels for young adults, including the Just One Series, I Was HereWhere She Went and the #1 New York Times bestseller If I Stay, which has been translated into more than 40 languages and in 2014 was adapted into a major motion picture.

To listen to The Children’s Book Podcast, visit  http://lgbpodcast.libsyn.com/

Hosted by Matthew Winner, co-founder of All The Wonders. The Children’s Book Podcast features insightful and sincere interviews with authors, illustrators, and everyone involved in taking a book from inspiration to bookshelf.

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