Kristin L. Gray is the author of Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book, the forthcoming The Amelia Six: An Amelia Earhart Mystery, and the picture books Koala Is Not A Bear and Rover Throws A Party: Inspired by NASA’s Curiosity on Mars. She lives in Arkansas with her family, dogs, cat, and pet lizard. Her first novel was called “a humorous, poignant, realistic debut story” by Kirkus.
Why I write:
I haven’t always been a writer, but as far back as I can remember, I loved stories. I remember my excitement when my teachers read to us at the end of the school day. My friends and I would sit at our desks, turn our backpacks into pillows for our chins, and listen. Listen to how Wilbur met Charlotte, to how James traveled inside a giant peach, and to how Ramona exasperated Beezus. And whenever the bell rang, we’d let out a collective groan, sad for the day’s story to end.
Thankfully, my parents made sure I had access to great books. I remember slipping my ruler in between the spines at our library while I hunted for the right books for that week. I circled books in the Scholastic Book Fair fliers that came home and borrowed books from my brother and close friends. Reading could take me anywhere and let me be whoever I wanted to be. Every story was an adventure, a safe place, a chance to make a new discovery or friend . . . I guess I never outgrew that thrill as I’m still finding new friends today.
Some of my favorite books are: Charlotte’s Web, Holes, When You Reach Me, The Westing Game, El Deafo, One Crazy Summer, Three Times Lucky, The One and Only Ivan, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, and A Sick Day for Amos McGee.