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Monday, March 28, 2016

Growing A Reader with Erin L. Schneider, author of Summer of Sloane

 Growing A Reader
by Erin L. Schneider

When I was in the first grade, my older sister, Nicole, came home with a dog-eared copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I can remember that day like it was yesterday: we were eating dinner and she had just started in on the first page – but before she could even take a bite, she started over again…and this time, began to read Charlie out loud to me.

Needless to say, neither of us ate very much of our dinner that night. Or slept.

And to think I thought I’d found the mecca of all things books with Charlie – so imagine my surprise when my dad took me to the library and I saw ALL the books Roald Dahl had written. It was like a dream come true! Miles and miles (or so it seemed to me at the time), shelf after shelf, of all those magical words! From Charlie to his sequel, to James and the Giant Peach, to the two I love the most: The BFG and The Witches. I think I checked out every single one of those books a minimum of a hundred times each and to this day, I still own the very same copies my dad ended up buying for me, so the library could check them out to “other kids”.

Growing up, Roald Dahl was to me, what J.K. Rowling has become to so many – and he’s every reason the far away make-believe worlds I created were ever put into words on paper.

Fast forward a few years later, shortly after I turned eleven, when my favorite librarian recommended a list of books for me to read over the summer – and on that list: Island of the Blue Dophins by Scott O’Dell.

I recently re-read the old tattered copy that’s been sitting on my shelf for decades and it was everything I remember from when I was eleven years old – Karana, the sole individual left behind on an island all alone, after the rest of her tribe is rescued and taken to the mainland. How she hunted the great devilfish and gathered abalones and set them out to dry in the sun. And the beautiful relationship between she and her faithful companion, Rontu, one of the wild dogs on the Island, that hit oh-so close to home. A setting so descriptive, I saw myself there with Karana as I read, and I cried at all the same parts I remember as a child. And all these years later, Island of the Blue Dolpins is still in my top all-time favorite reads.

By the time high school rolled around, I was reading any book I could get my hands on. John Grisham? Sign me up! Stephen King? Oh that IT clown had nothing on me. Not to mention every book in the Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club series, and everything by V.C. Andrews (although I’m pretty sure Flowers in the Attic scarred me for life).

And now as an adult, I often times stare at all the amazing books I own – many from when I was a child, some I’ve purchased over the years, and all that found their way into my heart and home.

I’ve already started reading some of my favorites to my own son, who’s almost 8 months old now. He loves Brown Bear, Brown Bear and all of the Berenstain Bears books I coveted as a child. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for when we can read the Harry Potter series together. Or the day we start in on the greatness that is Roald Dahl.

And so the cycle begins again. Hopefully my son will find new books he’ll keep close to his heart until he’s older – and maybe one day, he’ll read them to his own kids.

So many thanks to Sara for having me here on The Hiding Spot to celebrate March is Reading Month! I’m honored to be a part of this great series and loved sharing what books have meant to me over the years!


About the Author

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and - although Hawaiian - should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.

Summer of Sloane is her debut novel, out May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion. Visit Erin online at Erin L Schneider or on Twitter: @ErinLSchneider1.
About Summer of Sloane
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

Learn more about the Growing A Reader series here  


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