Skinny Dip with Heidi Hammond

For this inter­view, we vis­it with Hei­di Ham­mond, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at St. Cather­ine Uni­ver­si­ty in the MLIS pro­gram, long-time school librar­i­an, and author of Read­ing the Art in Calde­cott Award Books: a Guide to the Illus­tra­tions, along with co-author Gail D. Nordstrom.

Heidi HammondWhich celebrity, living or not, do you wish would invite you to a coffee shop?

I would love to enjoy a cup of tea with Michelle Obama and find out what the first family plans to do after President Obama finishes his second term of office.  

What's your favorite late-night snack? 

I don’t usually stay up late, but my favorite after supper snack is popcorn (unbuttered) and ice cream (Coconut Explosion), not together, but in that order. Sometimes I just have popcorn and ice cream for supper.

Favorite city to visit?

London! I’ve been there six times. “…when a man, (in my case, a woman), is tired of London, he (she) is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” —Samuel Johnson

Moonstone Castle MysteryMost cherished childhood memory?

One of my favorite childhood memories is receiving a stack of Nancy Drew mysteries for Christmas and having all of the Christmas holiday to read them.  

Tea? Coffee? Milk? Soda? What's your favorite go-to drink?

I drink tea and water. That’s pretty much it. I learned to drink tea after my first year of teaching. I chaperoned a group of 12 junior high students (What was I thinking?) on a four-week exchange program with a school in Wales. I stayed with the deputy headmaster and his family, and every morning he made his family tea and served it to us in bed. I would hear a knock on my door and the question, “Tea, Heidi?” It was a lovely way to begin the day.

Favorite season of the year? Why?

My favorite season on the year is fall. Having been an educator or school librarian all my professional life, fall always seems like a new beginning with the kickoff of the school year. It’s like having two New Years, one in January and one in September. That means two fresh starts.

Ouzel Falls
Hik­ing to Ouzel Falls, Rocky Moun­tain Nation­al Park

What's your dream vacation?

A dream vacation for me is one that involves some hiking. In the summer of 2015, I hiked Hadrian’s Wall from coast to coast in northern England, all 84 miles. In spring I hiked in the Grand Canyon. This past summer I hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park. This September I’m hiking the Great Glen Way in Scotland from Fort William to Inverness, all along Loch Ness. That part of the world just happens to be the setting for “Outlander.”

What's your hidden talent?

I am a very good parallel parker. It seems I’ve been attending the University of Minnesota off and on from 1974 to 2009. I couldn’t often afford to pay for parking in one of the lots, so I’d parallel park on the residential streets surrounding the university and walk blocks and blocks to class.

Your favorite candy as a kid?

Milk Duds. I still like them, but I think red licorice is my favorite candy now. And, dark chocolate caramels. I like pretty much any kind of candy. I have a sweet tooth. They are opening a new Abdallah’s candy store about a mile from my house in September. I’m not sure this will be good for me.

The MarvelsWhat's the strangest tourist attraction you've visited?

I don’t know if this qualifies as strange, but it was very different and wonderful. The last time I was in London, right after I read Brian Selznick’s book The Marvels, I visited the Dennis Severs’ House. I had heard Brian talk about his new book at the American Library Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco a few weeks before I left for England in 2015 to hike Hadrian’s Wall. If you know the book, you know the house is an important feature. When I entered the house, I told the young man at the door that I had come because I’d read the book and heard Brian speak. He said I was the first person to visit who had read the book (I had an advance reading copy). Unbeknownst to me, he told the curator David Milne about me, and David found me and spent quite a bit of time with me talking about Dennis and the house. He even went and got the book and showed me an illustration of one of the rooms while I was in that room. It was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited in London.

Dennis Severs House
Den­nis Sev­ers House, Lon­don [pho­to: Matt Brown, Cre­ative Commons]

Best tip for living a contented life?

Everyone expresses good in his or her own individual way. See the goodness in others and appreciate it.

Your hope for the world?

Like Rodney King, I wish we could all get along.


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David LaRochelle
7 years ago

I did­n’t real­ize you were such a hik­er, Hei­di! I’m cur­rent­ly hik­ing in Rocky Moun­tain Nation­al Park myself! Many hap­py trails to you!