Monday, February 7, 2011

One is Not a Lonely Number {Interview}

One Is Not A Lonely NumberI am so excited to bring you this interview with Evelyn Krieger, author of One is Not a Lonely Number, Sydney Taylor Honor Award* win in the older readers category. This book tour is brought to you by the Association of Jewish Libraries (blog at www.jewishlibraries.org/blog), and the official Sydney Taylor Book Awards. The full blog tour schedule will be posted at www.jewishlibraries.org/blog - go see which of my friends are participating and meet some new folks!
Will you share a little bit about  yourself and your journey towards becoming a writer?
     I've been writing all my life.  I always viewed the world in stories and enjoyed telling them. I still have diaries I kept as a teenager. I began writing professionally after starting my teaching career.  My first sale was an article to Learning Magazine.  First graders give you a lot of material!  Initially, I focused on classroom experiences and the teaching of reading, but I couldn't let go of my first love--writing fiction.  I continued to write short stories and hone my skills for a long time. Eventually, I had some small successes.  Writing a novel remained a life-long ambition.  I  made two attempts, but didn't finish.


What inspired you to write this story? I see from your biography that you are one of six kids, what brought you to a story about an only child?
When you are the oldest of six kids, its only natural to occasionally wonder what it's like to be an only child.As part of my preparation for the book, I interviewed only children--both kids and adults.  I remember a first grader who wanted a sibling so badly that he invented his mother's pregnancy for show and tell. And I fell for it! I was also inspired to include the theme of Jewish hospitality in my story.  This is something I've witnessed first hand. Some people really take the mitzvah to heart and open their home, not just to friends, but to strangers from all over the world who need a place to stay or a shabbat meal.   I've had a few readers ask me if there really are people like the Schumachers.  I tell them, absolutely!


Do you see numbers in the way that Talia does? What brought you to write a story with such a mathematical story line?   I don't see numbers in the way that Talia does, but I am fascinated by people who do. I would say I've developed a later-life interest in math.  My work as a learning specialist and tutor made me think a lot about why kids struggle with math, or at least, say they don't like it.   I wanted to have a female character who is not only good at math, but who thinks about numbers in a very unique way.  My young readers have enjoyed this element of the story. The One Is Not A Lonely Number bookmark says, "What color is your favorite number?" I plan to ask that at my book signings and writing workshops.  

What is your own favorite children's  book or books?  Charlotte's Web and Horton Hears a Who are two books I never tired of reading to my children.  The first Jewish children's book I read was Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-kind Family which my mother bought me at a book fair when I was eight years old. So that adds a special touch to winning this award!

Do you read and find inspiration in other authors' work? Definitely.  I seem to always read with a third eye, noticing the author's slight of hand, admiring the language. I strive to learn from the masters.   I especially enjoy good memoirs like The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Devotion by Dani Shapiro.

I see that you're a homeschooling mom as well as a writer. How do you best create a balance for yourself with your writing and your family life?  This has been an ongoing challenge since I became a mother.  My three kids are teenagers now, so in some ways it has gotten easier to find time to write.   Planning ahead for writing time makes me feel less anxious about all those unfinished projects.  I write at Starbucks every Sunday afternoon. Getting out of the house to write is important for my concentration. Even though I have a comfortable home, I get too distracted. I also write while my homeschooled daughter is involved with activities and classes.  When I have a writing deadline, my family knows that I'll get very cranky if I can't finish on time. They are all very patient and supportive,  Shabbat is a regular part of our family life, so that helps give us time to be together without my laptop in sight.  

Evelyn, thanks so much for participating in the book tour!
Mazel tov on your award! May you continue to write and share your stories with the world!

One is Not a Lonely Number was a great read. I couldn't put it down! I especially enjoyed the little touches of math that made Talia such a smart character. I love a good "smart girl" book - so important to create those kinds of role models! I recommend this book for any of the "older readers" (probably 4th grade and up) in your life, only children or those with siblings.

Follow the rest of the STBA Blog Book Tour at www.jewishlibraries.org/blog!

Evelyn, thanks so much for participating in the book tour!
Mazel tov on your award! May you continue to write and share your stories with the world!


One is Not a Lonely Number was a great read. I couldn't put it down! I especially enjoyed the little touches of math that made Talia such a smart character. I love a good "smart girl" book - so important to create those kinds of role models! I recommend this book for any of the "older readers" (probably 4th grade and up) in your life, only children or those with siblings. 

Follow the rest of the STBA Blog Book Tour at www.jewishlibraries.org/blog!

*The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) since 1968, the Award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature. Gold medals are presented in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers. Honor Books are awarded silver medals, and Notable Books are named in each category. Thirty-three outstanding books were selected from among the over one hundred and twenty titles evaluated by the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee during 2010. The Committee recommends them for library, classroom, and home use. List of all 2011 Award, Honor, and Notable Books.

6 comments:

Ellen Z.G. said...

What a great interview! I recently read the book and also enjoyed it. Def. thumbs-up from my 13 y/o dd as well as me :)

Batya said...

Great interview and seems like a fantastic book. I have friends who are only kids and had 4-7 of their own.

ps I love your new banner!!!!

Susan Newman, Ph.D. said...

There are very few books for young people on this topic. Looking forward to reading it. For parents who have or are considering one child, there is lots of information on my Psychology Today magazine blog, Singletons: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons
Susan Newman, Ph.D.,author of The Case for the Only Child, available in June.

Evelyn Krieger said...

Thanks so much for the additional information, Susan. Nice to meet you!

Barbara Krasner said...

I cried at least three times, which is a good sign! And BTW, my favorite number is 4, turquoise. Congratulations, Evelyn, on the accomplishment, and thanks to both you and Phyllis for a great interview and participation in the Sydney Taylor Book Award blog tour!

ilanadavita said...

Thanks for the interview. And yes, great new header!