Happy day-after-Christmas to those who celebrate it!
Today we hear from Claudia, a reader with a love for the 1930s series Swallows and Amazons and a deep connection to her Babysitter's Club name-twin. She also has some very specific and insightful advice for authors about the inner lives of real kids! Read on and catch a glimpse into Claudia's passion for reading and life.
Claudia, 9, a reader from New York
What are your three favorite books and why?
My favorite three books are The Mysterious Benedict Society, Percy Jackson, and the Swallows and Amazons series. I like them because they have adventure and suspense, and you can get lost in them, and you don't want to stop reading them.
What do you like about reading?
I like that it's like a whole other world to imagine. There's interesting things that happen there in that different world. I like that there's a main character that you can relate to sometimes.
Is there a book out there that you think is seriously underrated? Tell us about it!
Swallows and Amazons! It's old and nobody really knows about it. Everybody is like, "That's boring," because it's old. It's sailing adventures. People first read it and they only read one page of it and they just put it down, because nothing really happens on the first page. It gets more interesting and builds up the suspense.
Where is your favorite place to read? Can you describe it for us?
I like reading in my room on my beanbag chair, close to the window where I can look out. I also like reading in a tree that's low down where you can feel the water on your feet. The tree is in Canada, on the Lake of Bays, where there's islands, and birds and honking motor boats go by. My family has a cottage there. It's really cool. There's a forest that you can play in, and imagine yourself like a character in a book.
Which character in a book you’ve read is the most like you and why?
Claudia from The Babysitters' Club book, the comic and original, because we both don't like math! And we both love art and she's creative like me. And we also have the same name!
Is there any aspect of being a kid that you think authors don’t write about enough?
When your friend gets mad at you for a reason you don't understand. You do know the reason, but you don't get why they're so angry at you. Then you start playing with your other friends because your friend is angry at you, and then they get even more angry at you for not playing with them.
If you could be best friends with any character from any book, who would it be and why?
Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden. At first I wouldn't want to. But the outside brings her out of her shell. When she's outside, she becomes an actual kid, and I like that. She goes to the gardens and plants, and she's friends with the animals, and I love animals.
If you’ve started a book, but you don’t like it, do you force yourself to finish it, or do you stop reading? How long does it usually take for you to stop?
I stop reading. If I read three chapters and nothing really happens, I'll stop, because I want to read a better book that's my kind of book, that I would get more into.
If you, as a reader, could give advice to authors of kids’ books, what would it be?
Someone should write a book about what it's like to be new in a school where you have no one there who is a friend. There are books about this but the reality is worse than they say. You have no friends and everyone else already has friends. You just feel like you're alone even though there are so many kids around you, but they already have their own friends already. In books they always say the kid goes up to another kid and says, "Do you want to be my friend?" It doesn't work that way!
And lastly, what is something you dream of doing one day (from becoming a dog owner to running for President, nothing is too big or too small for this answer!)?
I want to save endangered animals. I want to live on a horse ranch. I want to stop air pollution.
If you're a middle grade reader interested in being interviewed, please visit my contact page. :)