Skinny Dip with Lynne Jonell

bk_SignCatFavorite holiday tradition?

One of my favorite things ever is when we sit around the table at Thanksgiving and take turns telling what we are particularly thankful for, that year. I get a little choked up, especially when I listen to my sons.

Were you a teacher’s pet or teacher’s challenge?

I was a teacher’s pet up through sixth grade, and then teacher’s nightmare thereafter. (My ninth grade English teacher hated me so much, she slotted me into the slow class for tenth grade English. I couldn’t figure out why I was in a class with a high proportion of good-looking jocks, but I wasn’t complaining! My mother discovered what had happened in my senior year, but by then it was too late.)

Upon reflec­tion, I think I was prob­a­bly a fair­ly chal­leng­ing teacher’s pet, as well.

What’s the first book report you ever wrote?

bk_WitchFamilyI can’t be absolutely certain, but I think it was The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes. Besides the fabulous mix of reality and fantasy, which I have always loved, the great thing about that book was that I discovered it when it was my turn to choose library books for our small in-classroom library. All the other third grade girls loved my choice, and begged to read it after me; and for a week, I was popular!

Do you like to gift wrap presents?

Yes, and I thought I was pret­ty good at it until we had an all-fam­i­ly Olympics one sum­mer. One of the events was gift-wrap­ping — blind­fold­ed — and my team put me head-to-head with my old­er sis­ter, Kathy. Not to put too fine a point on it, she mopped the floor with me.

What do you wish you could tell your 10-year-old self?

In the immortal words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

What 3 children’s book authors or illustrators or editors would you like to invite to dinner?

gr_authorsLouisa May Alcott: She captivated me on a family vacation with Little Women. I had already read through the stack of books I’d brought for the car trip, and my mother bought that book for me instead of the comic book I wanted. Though I complained at first, I read the first page—and I was hooked forever.

C.S. Lewis: He pulled me into his mag­i­cal world of Nar­nia, with its great themes of good and evil and chil­dren whose choic­es had pow­er­ful reper­cus­sions, and I only wished he had writ­ten a hun­dred sto­ries for me to devour, instead of just seven.

Madeleine L’Engle: I still remem­ber exact­ly where I was when I read A Wrin­kle in Time in sixth grade, and how I reread the final chap­ter because I couldn’t bear for it to be over. When I closed the book at last, I knew that what I want­ed to do most of all was to write sto­ries like that, for kids like me.

Where’s your favorite place to read?

It depends on the season!

Win­ter: curled up in bed with my elec­tric blan­ket on high. Sum­mer: on the back patio, in the wood­en swing, with cush­ions and a tall glass of some­thing cool. And in spring or fall, on a com­fort­able sag­ging cor­ner of my favorite couch, next to my grandfather’s old glass-front­ed book­case (which hous­es my favorite children’s books.)


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David LaRochelle
8 years ago

Please invite me to your lit­er­ary din­ner, Lynne. I’d love to hear those three authors talk. I’ll even do the dish­es after!