About the Book:
Whisper Island by Anola Pickett
Age Range: 9 and up
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (July 9, 2013)
Genre: Historical middle grade fiction
It’s 1913, and 12-year-old Primmy’s greatest wish is to join the US Life
Savers Service. But there’s only one problem—girls aren’t allowed.
Receiving little encouragement from family and friends, Primmy does
everything she can to change their minds and make her dream come true.
You’ll be rooting for Primmy every step of the way in this charming
About the Author:
Anola Pickett is a former teacher and school librarian who writes for
both children and adults. She began composing stories as a busy third
grader, and her most recent book, Whisper
Island, hits bookstores in July.
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, she has traveled throughout the
United States and the world, often to visit her son, Gerry, and his
wife, Kara, who currently live in Hong Kong. She has found
inspiration as nearby as the block where she grew up and as far away as
the streets of Abu Dhabi.
She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and Heartland Writers for Kids and Teens. Her first children’s book, Old Enough for Magic, was published in 1993 by Harper & Row; her short fiction and articles have appeared in
dozens of publications across the United States. A teaching resource manual she co-wrote, Multiple Intelligences and Positive Life Habits, was published in 2001 and Wasatch Summer,
her first historical young adult novel, was published in 2011.
Anola holds a master’s degree in inner-city education and has taught at
urban schools in Chicago and Kansas City. She lives in Kansas City with
her husband, Peter.
Interview with Anola Pickett:
1. If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go?
I used to think western American pioneer days would be a wonderful time and place, but now that I’ve researched I think it would be a pretty hard life. Now I’d choose Paris in the 1920’s.
2. If you could only read 3 books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
That’s tough. LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST by Thich Nhat Hanh; THE RIVER BETWEEN US by Richard Peck; ORACLE BONES by Peter Hessler
3. What is your favorite season and why?
Summer because when I was a kid it meant freedom and when I was a teacher it meant the same thing. When I became a parent, it meant more time with my son. I love the sunshine and I enjoy hot weather. Maybe being born in July has something to do with it.
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Usually it’s a combination of people I’ve known, situations I’ve observed or been in thrown into a mix of things I’ve learned while traveling.
5. Why did you decide to write children’s fiction?
Partly because I haven’t really grown up myself and partly because reading was a big part of my childhood. I learned about other cultures, places and times through reading. I’d like to think I’m providing that experience to my young readers.
6. What is your favorite thing about writing for children?
I like to imagine a young person losing herself in one of my stories and being transported to another time and place.
7. Is there anything about writing/illustrating that you find particularly challenging?
Enough long stretches of time to really immerse myself in a book project. When my personal life interrupts my writing life, it’s sometimes difficult to get back in the flow.
8. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
In third grade I often finished a worksheet before time was called. That meant getting another worksheet. I discovered that writing a story in my notebook looked enough like real schoolwork to avoid that. From then on, writing was a fun escape into another world.
9. What is the one book that everyone should read?
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
10. What do you like to do in your free time?
Swim, garden, cook, read, walk, crochet and knit. Travel when I have the time and money. Hang out with my husband.
11. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
12. Do you have any hidden talents?
I can wiggle my ears.
13. Is there anything that your audience should know about you?
I’m a good friend and secret-keeper.
14. What are your current projects?
A middle grade novel set in World War I in Kansas City. This time my main character is a boy named George Callahan. I’m also working on updating a previously published article about shared storytelling between parent and child.
15. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Always a writer!