Katherine again, writing from a Norwegian island that’s hard to find and even harder to pronounce. I didn’t really plan to be here, but you know how Norway goes: come for the fjords, stay for the secret underground bases.
Of course, the mission I’m about to carry out will probably be a lead-pipe cinch compared to the last one.
It was Ahna’s idea. We’ve been doing recon work on the book industry for quite some time now, mostly relying on stealth and impeccable timing. But then Ahna said, “What if we just get the information we need by asking people?”
I doubt I need to tell you how risky this idea was. True, it would allow us to get the info we needed much faster than if we stuck to our usual methods. But people are generally opposed to being interrogated. So in order to make Ahna’s plan work, we’d have to ask people questions without them realizing that we were pumping them for information.
We knew it would be dangerous. But we’d be pretty poor spies if we had let that stop us.
So we contacted Travis Jonker (code name: 100 Scope Notes), who works as an elementary school librarian and blogger for the School Library Journal, and he happily agreed to meet with us.
Luckily, all our covert ops training paid off, and our interrogation remained cleverly disguised as a friendly interview. We didn’t even have to pour truth serum into his coffee. And Ahna was right, Travis had lots of great insider info that he was all too willing to share with us. In fact, he gave us so much intel that we weren’t able to include it all in this week’s Coffee Break episode.
I couldn’t let all that extra information disappear on the cutting room floor, not after everything we’d done to obtain it. I had no choice but to transcribe the deleted footage and post it on the Internet.
What made you want to be a school librarian?
All during high school, I hung out in the library all the time, that’s where I was always drawn to. I’ve always loved books and technology, and I love working with kids, so being a school librarian just mixed all of those things together.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
Anything by Roald Dahl. He was my favorite author of all time. Probably my two favorites were Danny, the Champion of the World and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was on a mission when I was a kid to read every Roald Dahl book, and it was before the internet, so I’d have to check the lists in the front of each of his books to see what else he’d written.
What is your favorite EBYR book?
The one that came out recently that I just love is Roger Is Reading a Book. I think that is such a great book. I read that book to a bunch of kindergarten classes, and it’s just the perfect read-aloud.
What are you reading right now?
The book that I just finished reading is The 39-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. The books in this series are genius works of humor. Right before Poetry Month I read Hypnotize a Tiger by Calef Brown, and it’s a great poetry book for sharing with kids. And then last night I started The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce; I’m only on the first couple chapters, but I’m loving it so far, and that book will be coming out in the fall.
If you could have dinner with five authors and illustrators, dead or alive, who would you invite?
Okay, Roald Dahl would have to be one of them. And Jerry Pinkney. I’d also invite Jon Scieszka – life of the party. I would also invite William Steig, and number five would be J. K. Rowling. And J. K. Rowling would pick up the check.
Ahna and I will have to send Travis a thank-you note for being such a wonderful (albeit unwitting) asset to our investigation. I just hope it doesn’t take him too long to decrypt it.
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About Coffee Break Confidential:
This monthly column is where EBYR editorial assistant/vlogger/superspy Katherine Gibson divulges extra information from Coffee Break with EBYR that would otherwise be kept off the record. She’s researching topics related to children’s literature, posting her findings — and taking down some powerful militarized governments in the process. Just kidding about that last one. (Or are we?)