Yesterday, during our regular Monday lunch time meeting, Bookmarked met with the author of Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone. Susan Beth Pfeffer was sitting in her home office in New York while we were eating our lunches in the school library in Jefferson, Louisiana. We had a great time. The students loved her humor.
She told us how she only had the vocabulary of a 5th grader and that she also had a short attention span, so that is why she has chosen to write for teens and children. We talked some about the science in her stories; she did little scientific research for the books. As all of us have dealt with a huge natural disaster, Hurricane Katrina, we could empathize with the characters in her books. When one of the students asked Ms. Pfeffer if she could have survived a natural disaster of such magnitude found in her books, she explained that she didn't even have a working flashlight. She discovered this during a February snowstorm when the electricity was out for about five hours. We told her that in our area the electricity can go out with a bad thunderstorm, so living in southern Louisiana means you need to be prepared for the worst. Another student asked about the mother's profession in the book, a writer, and asked if that held any significance. Ms. Pfeffer explained that working at home gave the mother the opportunity to hit the grocery store to stock up on necessities when others were at work. Since authors often receive royalty checks in the month of May, that meant the mom had cash on hand and could purchase all the food that she could carry.
Some of the students have read both books, others only one, and some had not had a chance to read the books. The visit got them excited about the series, and I will be purchasing the newest one, This World We Live In, when it comes out tomorrow.
I wrote about this book in an earlier post--> http://www.talesfromaloudlibrarian.com/2010/02/ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.html.