The dictionary is like a time capsule of all of human thinking ever since words began to be written down. And exploring where words have come from can increase your understanding of the words themselves and expand your understanding of how to use the words, and all of this change happens in your thinking when you read the words.
I get wonderful letters from kids and teachers. I must have the best readers in the world.
We just have to go to that next class, read that next chapter, help that next person. You simply have to do that next good thing, and before you know it, you’re living a good life.
Books and people are hard to compare.
My sister called her pillow a pilgo. My brother called his pacifier his nimma. But I don’t think I was much of a word generator myself.
Part of being a fiction writer is being able to imagine how someone else is thinking and feeling. I think I’ve always been good at that.
I think the reason I’m a writer is because first, I was a reader. I loved to read. I read a lot of adventure stories and mystery books, and I have wonderful memories of my mom reading picture books aloud to me. I learned that words are powerful.
I had a high school English teacher who made me really work at writing. And once, when I got an assignment back, she’d written: ‘This is so good, Andrew. This should be published!’ That made a big impression on me.
Sometimes kids ask how I’ve been able to write so many books. The answer is simple: one word at a time. Which is another good lesson, I think. You don’t have to do everything at once. You don’t have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word.
There’s so much made of the exceptional and the celebrity, the famous, and the wannabees.
The highest praise is when a kid says, ‘This book feels so real; this could have happened at my school.’