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Transcript: Children Chatting With Erin Entrada Kelly

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a certified or verbatim transcript, but rather represents only the context of the class or meeting, subject to the inherent limitations of real-time captioning. The primary focus of real-time captioning is general communication access and as such this document is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended for use in any type of legal proceeding.Transcript by Rev.com

Children Chatting: Discussion between Erin Entrada Kelly, and Children Chatting members

DANIELLA: Hello, everyone. You are listening to a very special episode of Children Chatting With Authors. Today, we are going to be joined by Newbery Medal-winning author, Erin Entrada Kelly, author of the book, We Dream of Space.

DANIELLA: Hi, my name's Daniella. Hi Erin. My question for you is the book is set in the year 1986, so I was wondering why you chose that year? Was that year special to you in some way?

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: Thank you. And hi, Daniella, I'm so happy to be here. I chose 1986 for a couple of reasons. For one, I wanted to write about the Challenger disaster and of course, that happened in January 1986, so that didn't give me too much leeway, but I chose to set it just during the month of January, because I think it's interesting how much our lives can change in a short period of time. I wanted to have the novel set just during that one month out of the year.

DANIELLA: Thank you.

SEBASTIEN: Hi, my name's Sebastian. I was wondering why you decided to write the book from all three kids' perspective, instead of one of the kids' perspective, like most books are.

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: That's a great question. So most of the book for the most part is from Bird's point of view, but I also wanted to include her brother's point of view because their home life is so important to the novel. I felt like it was important to show the perspectives of each of the kids in that family, because each of them have kind of their own viewpoint on how they view and interact with the family. So that's why I thought it would be important to have each of their points of views in the book.

SEBASTIEN: Okay. Thank you.

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: Great question.

NICHOLAS: Hi, my name is Nicholas and my question is which one of the siblings is most likely you?

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: Oh, I love that question. I kind of have a two-part answer. A lot of me went into writing Bird because I was a lot like Bird when I was that age. And the fact that I was kind of... I feel like Bird feels like she's kind of lonely and alone in the world, and that's kind of how I felt when I was Bird's age. But unlike Bird, I was not very interested in science. I was always interested in books and writing, so we don't have that in common, but I also surprisingly have a lot in common with Cash.

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: And I say surprisingly, because he loves basketball and sports, and those are things that I am terrible at, but Cash really, really hates school. And I have to be honest with you, that I did not like going to school at all when I was that age. And there were moments in the book, if you're a member where Cash kind of daydreams about just leaving school, just walking off and never going back to class. And I wrote those from my own experiences because I remember being that age and getting a hall pass, even though I didn't really need one and just kind of daydreaming about just leaving school because I did not want to be there. So I have a lot in common with Cash and Bird in those ways.

SORA: My name is Sora. In the book, you talk about a lot how Bird wants her family to spend dinners together all at once. Was that kind of like your family of how your parents couldn't always spend dinner together or did you just like...?

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: Thank you. That is a really great question. No one has asked me that question yet, believe it or not. And I've done a lot of talks this year, so that was a great question. And the answer is my family did not eat dinner together and I always wanted to, but we never did for whatever reason. And just like Bird in the book, I didn't think that families really ate dinner together. I honestly thought that was something that only happened on TV because you would see these TV shows where all the families are sitting down together and I thought, "Okay, that's not something that people do in real life." It was not until actually later in life when I made friends and I would go to their houses, kind of like Bird does when she goes to Danny's house. And I saw families actually sitting down to eat that, I realized that that was something that, that families actually did.

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: Now, my family was quite different than Birds. My parents did not argue the way that Birds parents do, but that was one thing that I took from my upbringing and put into the book because I think it's important for families, maybe not every night, maybe families can't eat together every night because everyone has busy schedules and stuff. But I do think it's important that families have some time in the day where they're all together to talk about whatever's going on in their lives. And I definitely did not really have that when I was growing up.

LAUREN: My name's Lauren, I'm the Children's Librarian at the Studio City Branch, part of Los Angeles Public Library. And one question I know that I'm going to get from children in the future about this book is why Fitch was so angry throughout the book. Was it just because of his parents? Was there something else? As you were writing for Fitch, were you thinking about what was making him so angry?

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: That's a great question. And I think a lot of it has to do with his home life, of course. You know we learn behaviors from our parents and their parents are not kind to each other and they argue and they yell. So a lot of it is that learned behavior, but also he's angry because... There are parts in the book where he's angry at his parents and he doesn't even really know why. And my thought was it's because Fitch recognizes that his parents and adults can be hypocrites sometimes, and their parents tell them to behave a certain way, but they don't actually behave that way themselves. And I think that makes him angry and resentful toward his parents. And, so I think that's part of it. And I think another part of it is that he just... He doesn't quite know where he belongs in the world. And he has all these emotions that he doesn't know what to do with, and he doesn't have anyone at home to help him navigate those emotions. All that just kind of come together into this anger that's directed in all the wrong places.

LAUREN: Thank you Erin.

NICHOLAS: My name is Nicholas. And another question is how come you chose to write about the Challenger instead of a different event?

ERIN ENTRADA KELLY: Oh, I love that. Okay, a few reasons. Number one, I was a child in the 80s and that was the first major news event of my lifetime, the Challenger, and it's a very imprinted on my memory. Another reason why I chose the Challenger is because when the Challenger launched, not a lot of people actually watched the launch happened live. Most people saw it later, very quickly later, but we didn't have the new cycle that we have now. We don't have social media like we have now. So not a lot of people watched it live except for kids at school and which, because of what happened, makes it even more tragic. And, so kind of for those reasons, it was definitely a shared national tragedy for the nation at that time, so that's pretty much why. Because also I wanted to revisit the 80s and that's when I grew up, so that's basically why. Thank you, Nicholas.

MILES: Thanks for listening to the Children Chatting with Authors podcast!

[Music outro]

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a certified or verbatim transcript, but rather represents only the context of the class or meeting, subject to the inherent limitations of real-time captioning. The primary focus of real-time captioning is general communication access and as such this document is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended for use in any type of legal proceeding.Transcript by Rev.com

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