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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Investing in the importance of words

“If a big person invests time in reading, kids learn reading is important, the child is important, words are important, stories are important.” – Gail Carson Levine

Born in New York City on this date in 1947, Levine is the author of the Newbery Award winning book, Ella Enchanted, and the wonderful semi-biographical novel Dave at Night, based loosely on her father’s “growing-up years” in an orphanage.

Although she grew up as an avid reader, she didn’t have writing on her radar until later in life, wanting to be an artist or actress.  She worked as a welfare administrator and didn’t try her hand at writing until her late 40s.  Ella was her first accepted book, but it took 9 years of doing manuscripts before she got that one accepted.         After it won the Newbery, it was made into a successful movie and gave Levine the financial independence to focus on more.  Now, her 20th book, The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre, is just on the market.  Many of her other books are based on fairy tales, only with a modern twist.

“As a child, I loved fairy tales because the story, the what-comes-next, is paramount. As an adult, I'm fascinated by their logic and illogic,” Levine said.  As for why she didn’t get into writing sooner, she said (with tongue firmly in cheek), “Most of the authors I liked were dead, so it didn't seem like a real safe occupation.”

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