Author Videos! Enjoy!

*Benanav, Michael. (2006). Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold. New York: Globe Pequot/Lyons. 256 pp. ISBN 1-59228-772-7 (Hardcover); $23.95

Michael Benanav is a Jewish, American journalist. Perhaps he does not have a death wish, but he does walk on the wild side. Reading that the camel caravans to the salt mines near Timbuktu are in danger of becoming extinct due to the truck transport of salt, Benanav decides to experience a camel journey before they become extinct. As much a mental journey as a grueling physical one, Benanav realizes that this harsh lifestyle has a richer, more complex history than the largely ignorant press has portrayed. Before he was allowed to participate in a long journey through one of the harshest deserts in the world, Benanav had to sign a waiver that if he were responsible for slowing down the caravan (and, thus, risking the lives of the camels and people), the caravan had the right to leave him to rot and die alone in the desert! Benanav does not leave us with easy answers concerning the fate of the caravans or the very real people he comes to respect. In many ways, Men of Salt leaves readers with more questions than answers. The questions, however, are so good that readers will seek more information and forever hold in hearts a much fuller, more human picture of both the people and the camels in this part of our world. Filled with pictures, this book is highly recommended for both middle school and high school libraries despite the fact that is an adult book. One of my favorites this or any year!

Anderson, Laurie Halse (2007). Twisted. New York: Penguin Group USA/Viking. 257 pp. ISBN 978-0-670-06101-3 (Hardcover); $16.99.

With more than 60 comments and reviews, overwhelmingly positive and popular with our teen readers in Allegan, Laurie Halse Anderson’s TWISTED may force many readers to speak to its quality and charms. Who knows? It may supplant one of those other great books she wrote in both quality and popularity! Listen to what Laurie has to say about TWISTED!


Nancy Werlin, author of many books, including her National Book Award nominee, Rules of Survival and her brand new book, Impossible; interviews Mary E. Pearson, author of A Room on Lorelei Street, about Mary’s brand new book, The Adoration of Jenna Fox. DOwn below, we will turn the tables and have Mary ask Nancy some questions about her book (due out in Septeber 2008), Impossible. Enjoy!

Mary E. Pearson asking Nancy Werlin about Impossible, Nancy’s new book!
Nancy Werlin asking Mary E. Pearson about The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary’s new book!
Sharon Flake
John Green
John Green has won the Printz award and has also won a Printz honor. His biggest contribution to the arts, however, may be his video blogging with his brother Hank. Recently John visited Brilliance Audio in Grand Haven Michigan to observe the recording of his most recent book, Paper Towns. We were able to spend a few quiet moments in the conference room at Brilliance Audio (THANKS Tim, Colleen, and everyone else--what a fabulous tour). John answers a question that I have asked other authors--What is the question that you wish someone would ask you--and then spends a few minutes talking about the spiritual elements of his novels.

Many teens only know Sylvia Plath as the poet who stuck her head in an oven and died. Stephanie Hemphill would like to change this fact. Her fabulous book, Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath gives readers a layered and in depth look at this remarkable poet. What’s more, this book presents the life of Plath in verse that uses many of Plath’s own poetic forms to tell the story. Awarded a Printz Honor in 2008, Your Own, Sylvia deserves to be in classrooms and libraries around the world.

I had the pleasure of meeting, sharing a meal, and speaking to Jody Feldman, author of the Gollywhopper Games this summer. I love what she has to say about the work of writing. The Gollywhopper Games is the book to share with those students who are fans of Roald Dahl.


Printz winning author, Terry Trueman, speaks about the VAST quantity of mail he receives, a bit about his newest project (as of April 2009), and luring boys to books. As you will hear in the video, Stuck In Neutral is the book to share with adults who wonder about quality in books for teens. As always, Terry calls ‘em like he sees ‘em! Enjoy!

Hope Anita Smith

The video above was filmed at ALA on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 immediately after the Coretta Scott King breakfast. Hope was truly fantastic and had the audience cheering (as did ALL the honorees). The video directly below is of Kekla Magoon who has written about the Black Panther Party. I filmed Kekla on Sunday, July 12, 2009 right before she had pizza with the Allegan Galley Group. David Macinnis Gill, former president of ALAN, is below Kekla. This was filmed in April 2009 when David was in Holland, MI speaking with the BBYA group facilitated by  Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan. Below David is the video of Lyn Miller-Lachmann, editor of the Multicultural Review and author of Gringolandia, a novel about the troubles in Chile that all students should read.

Kekla Magoon
Holly Black
Tim Ditlow
KT Horning pt 1
KT Horning pt 2
Gary Paulsen
Mitali Perkins
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
John Corey Whaley
Tables Turned: ME!
Zetta Elliotthttp://www.zettaelliott.comhttp://www.zettaelliott.comshapeimage_36_link_0
E.M. Kokiehttp://www.emkokie.comhttp://www.emkokie.comshapeimage_37_link_0
Corey Whaleyhttp://www.johncoreywhaley.comhttp://www.johncoreywhaley.comshapeimage_38_link_0
Katherine Tegen