Transcript: Children Chatting With Joe Ballarini

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.

Children Chatting Podcast: Discussion between Joe Ballarini and the Children Chatting Kids

[Music intro]

DANIELLA: Hello everyone! You’re listening to Children Chatting with Authors Podcast. Today we're here with a special guest Joe Ballarini, author of A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting. My name is Daniella I'm 16 and I'm a junior in high school. My question for you is, what inspired you to write this book?

JOE BALLARINI: I'm very scared of a lot of things, and I've wanted a character who was also scared of a lot of things, and who overcame those fears and was able to kick butt and save the day as a result of that. And also just wanted to have a good time and write a great fun book. And be entertained as I was writing it. And also I want to write a book that I would have wanted to read when I was everyone's age here, because I didn't read a lot when I was a kid and I really, really regret that, and so I wanted to write a book that, you know, me at the age of what are we, 10? 11? 12,13,14? You know a range ish of kids that I would have wanted to read when I was a kid. So that's why I wrote it.

DANIELLA: Thank you!

KASSI: Hi, my name is Kassi and I’m 13. My question was, why did you make the main character as self-centered as she was? [laughs].

JOE BALLARINI: Well I probably I was probably trying to overcome my own self-centered problems that I have, but I just think that I don't know, at that age you think you're pretty self-centered I don't know I figure your world is pretty small and you could have only think of yourself and so Kelly gets to experience a world much bigger than her own. And that's why she starts self-centered, but then she realizes how it's all about the, you know, you've got to help out little kids and big kids and fight evil.

CYRUS: Hi. My name is Cyrus I'm 9 years old. And, um, who worked with you? Like did anyone work with you for… to do the book?

JOE BALLARINI: Yeah yes Cyrus that was a very good question. I had a lot of people work with me in the book. I wrote the book myself, right? That's a lot of hours, a lot of days, a lot of months, a lot of years sitting there and writing words, and then you give that book to a book agent, right? A really cool book agent. First, it was Dana Spector, a girl named Dana Spector, and then it was a girl named Alyssa Reuben. And they give you notes on it and then they tell it says well, change this, change this, change this… this would be could be a little bit better here. And these are all very smart people, you know. You give it to smart people, and then they gave me the notes back and that made it better. And then when a publisher decided that they would actually put the book out then the editor, Maria Barbo edited the book. Now that's really… she's getting in there and really with just… making marks, and marks, and marks, and marks, I mean this is beyond bad spelling. We're going to like sentences and sentence structures and characters and everything like that. Then you have a proofreader read it, then you have the, oh gosh, it's like a… sounds terrible but it's like a copy editor who like really goes through and is like, “Well blue jays can't make that song!” And you're like, oh my gosh, that's really specific. I didn't realize how specific that was, and then we give it over to the illustrator Vivian To, who then illustrates it. And I, or the editor or say well here's what visually we think the illustration should look like. And then, there's a whole art department to design the… the… the writing on the side, and then there's Vivian, does the cover. She paints the cover. It’s a lot of people actually! You know, even though it's just me writing the book, to get that book into your hands, is such a long, long process. And then you have, you know, librarians that give you the book, and tell you to read the book. So that's like a lot of people that you have to work with all the time. So yeah it is everyone thinks oh I'll just write a book on my own but it actually if you really want to do stuff you really want to do creative things that actually does take a lot of people to…to make it possible.

CYRUS: Thanks.

JOE BALLARINI: Thank You Cyrus.

HELENA: I'm Helena and I'm 13. So my question is, what's some advice you would give to someone who like, loves writing? Like what are some advice you would give to writers?

JOE BALLARINI: The only advice you can give that… I would give... is just if you love writing, you're already there, because you’d just be writing. Just write! Write as much as possible. Keep writing! Don't stop writing! Just start writing right now! Why aren't you writing right now? You should be writing right now! And read a lot. Read a lot of books, read a lot of books. And be okay with criticism, be okay with like giving it to people, and people reading it. Don't take too much of the criticism, but, you know, maybe get a thick skin about it. And be like, “Yeah that's your opinion!” You know, or, if they're someone whose opinion in your respect, listen to it, and be like, “Oh, that's a good idea actually!” What's your other question?

HELENA: So like, is what was something you would tell to someone like to make them run and read your book, like for someone who…what would you say to them?

JOE BALLARINI: Mmmm. Uhh, it’s got kids and monsters and action and comedy and drama. It's very difficult because you kind of have to…one of the things you'll have to learn as being a writer, is you got to like, sell your stuff, and you have to pitch it, and so you have to be like, well if you enjoy this book, you'll love my book, and it always feels so weird to say that, and you don't really want to do it, but you gotta do it. So if I had to do it, I would say, it's like, it's very much, it's like fun kids, it's like baby-sitters club but with a lot of monsters in it. It's like, it's not a mashup of this and that, but it's an adventure for, it's an adventure for boys and girls to be able to read, because it does have a lot of fun action, a lot of fun monster-hunting stuff in it, but it also has a lot of great characters that are, you know, that I think girls especially will be able to relate to and enjoy, so, it does have a little something for everybody.

SEBASTIEN: My name is Sebastien, and I’m 13. [Hello Sebastian!] I was wondering if there’s going to be audiobooks for this series.

JOE BALLARINI: Oooo, I hope so. I…that’s, that’s the answer. I hope there are, I don't know…do you like audiobooks?


JOE BALLARINI: What's the best audiobook you've heard or listened to?

SEBASTIEN: The best narrator I've listened to is Jim Dale. From the Harry Potter series.

JOE BALLARINI: Really? Does he do all the voices though? [yes] Does he do like, “Eeh, Oh, Wree Wooh,” like little goblin voices [yes], and all those voices?

SEBASTIEN: Yeah, and I think some of the people in the Harry Potter movies were cast after his voices because they sound exactly like it. [oh really?] Several characters.

JOE BALLARINI: Wow! Does he have an English accent?


JOE BALLARINI: Right. Because that’s the best right, the English accent, the best. That's a good accent. Jim Dale. Alright, I'll listen to him. So I hope that I hope that there will be an audiobook of it, and I would like to audition for it for myself, to do it, but I don't know, I think I do, I think I would go crazy with the voices. I think you'd probably have to have that female protagonist, a female reader! Because she is like, hay I’m a 13-year-old girl! it'd be really weird if I was like, I was a 13-year-old girl. You know, that's, that's, not gonna sound as good as a girl was reading it right? Yeah, so, I hope so! So send your requests for that audiobook to HarperCollins, Catherine Tegan books. Thanks, man! Any other questions?

EVA: Hi I'm Eva and I'm 11. My question is which was your favorite monster that you made into your book?

JOE BALLARINI: Oooh that's a good one! I love them all equally, but I do like the Toadies because I think they're very funny, and stinky, and smelly. I do like the Grand Guignol because he reminds me of myself. And no it doesn't. The Grand Guignol actually is based on a really scary thing that I saw when I was a little kid. I saw hoof prints in a rock and someone told me that those hoof prints were from a devil with goat legs who ran out onto that rock and he caught fire and because he caught fire they burned his hoof prints into that rock, and it scared me for life! And that's why I wrote the Grand Guignol. Um, one of the fun things that I, that I, wrote one of my fun monsters, I also like the, the shadow monster, because he's a monster who feeds on fear and so the more you're afraid of…of that monster, um, fear and gym socks, but the more you're afraid of that monster, the bigger that monster grows, right? So if you take away your fear and you're not afraid of that monster, that monster grows smaller and smaller, and I kind of like that because I think that's very true. Sometimes we can make monsters big in our minds and say, oh my gosh, they're so insurmountable, and they're so difficult and so huge, but if you think the opposite way and you think well you know what I think I can beat that monster, I don't, I'm not as scared of that monster as I think I am, I think, I'm bigger and stronger than that monster, that monster or obstacle gets smaller and smaller. And so, metaphorically, I'm proud of that Shadow Monster. I also like the Spider Queen too! We could do this all day! I like all of the monsters! That's why I write monsters! I like writing about monsters. Eva's now fallen asleep. She's just like [Eva, sorry]. She's like, this has taken for Eva! Oh my god! Do you have another question for me? You’re like yeah, that's it you're like stop talking! I’m done!

[Music outro]

MILES: Thanks for listening to the Children Chatting With Authors Podcast.

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.