Author Interview: Sarah Allen (AND GIVEAWAY!)
Good Sunday, friends!
I am so excited today to share a little bit with you about an upcoming middle grade release called What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen ANDDDD give away an ARC! :)
I recently read this during the first half of my holiday break and I couldn't put it down. I was so excited that Sarah was willing to share a copy with us here at Teachers Who Read and then was willing to do an interview, by the way, she is AWESOME!
The synopsis for What Stars Are Made Of:
Twelve-year-old Libby Monroe is great at science, being optimistic, and talking to her famous, accomplished friends (okay, maybe that last one is only in her head). She’s not great at playing piano, sitting still, or figuring out how to say the right thing at the right time in real life. Libby was born with Turner Syndrome, and that makes some things hard. But she has lots of people who love her, and that makes her pretty lucky.
When her big sister Nonny tells her she’s pregnant, Libby is thrilled—but worried. Nonny and her husband are in a financial black hole, and Libby knows that babies aren’t always born healthy. So she strikes a deal with the universe: She’ll enter a contest with a project about Cecelia Payne, the first person to discover what stars are made of. If she wins the grand prize and gives all that money to Nonny’s family, then the baby will be perfect. Does she have what it takes to care for the sister that has always cared for her? And what will it take for the universe to notice?
Here was my Goodreads review:
Another friend whose book recommendations I take very seriously also reviewed on Goodreads:
You can preorder the book here! (Which I highly recommend for your middle grade/middle school classrooms)
First of all: Isn't she the cutest! Look at this picture!!! Secondly, the ARC (advanced copy) is what she is holding and what I will be sending you if you win the giveaway! :)
Q: Tell us a little about your upcoming book.
A: WHAT STARS ARE MADE OF is a story about
12-year-old Libby who has Turner syndrome. When
Libby finds out her big sister is pregnant, she’s thrilled!
But also nervous, because she’s smart and knows
all the things that might go wrong. Things like heart
problems and missing chromosomes. So Libby
makes a deal with the universe and her favorite
female scientist, Cecilia Payne, who discovered
what stars are made of. If Libby can keep her end
of the bargain, then the new baby will be born safe,
healthy, and perfect.
Q; How did you take your own life experiences
and create a realistic fiction story?
A: I was also born with Turner syndrome! While
Libby is definitely her own character, I did use
some aspects of my own experience like heart
surgery, growth hormone shots, and being teased.
There’s a scene where Libby talks about hearing
aids, and that experience was taken directly from
my own life!
Q; What was your motivation to get this story
out to kids?
A: Growing up, I never saw stories about girls
like me. There are even a lot of people in the
medical community who haven’t heard of Turner
syndrome. I have been thrilled seeing books like
WONDER, COUNTING BY 7’S, and RAIN, REIGN
that highlight kids who are different in some unique
ways. I hope my book can do that same thing for my
Q; What are some challenges you faced during
your writing process?
A: Oh man, story structure is often such a challenge
for me. I love writing on the scene level, and love
voice and character, but figuring out how all the
pieces fit can take me awhile. Luckily I had both
professors and author mentors help me out, and
finally seeing it all come together was a thrill!
Q; What makes this book a perfect fit for middle
A: One thing I hope teachers find helpful about
STARS is that its an upbeat blend of both story
and science. Libby herself is very interested in
science, and the story covers a lot of ground in
areas like biology and astronomy. There’s also
elements of history, research, and even some
references to Shakespeare sonnets! So I hope
STARS can be a useful link in bringing together
different subject units.
Q; What is the biggest takeaway you want kids
to get from your story and future stories
(Any WIPs currently?)?
A: My readers, I hope, will close this book
understanding that they are the stars, just the
way they are. It’s going to be such an absolute
honor any time I get to meet these young readers!
And more is on the way, definitely! In fact there’s
something new coming in 2021, also about sisters,
and I can’t wait to share more!
Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?
A: C.S. Lewis said “We read to know that we are
not alone,” and my favorite thing about being a writer
is that my job is to make those kind of deep connections
in the best way I can. Every writer and artist is doing
the work of un-aloneness and I think it’s the noblest
work of all!
Q: What else would you like us to know?
A: I absolutely love talking to teachers and class groups!
Please feel free to reach out to me about possible Skype
author visits, etc. I’m always so excited when that happens!
I’m easily accessible on my website (sarahallenbooks.com)
and on Instagram (@sarahallenbooks).
Thank you for this chance to talk about STARS!
Teachers are superheroes, and thank you for all the work you do!