My favorite memories of libraries are Saturdays with my mom, who was a schoolteacher, going into that library and first of all getting my first library card, and signing my name and feeling like I was official, I have my library card, and that was like a golden ticket to me.
I live in Brooklyn, New York, and we go to the library quite frequently, and it's the one time that we're all together and we can go to a place where everybody gets what they want. My kids go the children's room, my husband I go to the non-fiction room, and we all leave there...
It's better than shopping, we all leave there very happy. Like I said, everybody's got something in the bag that they can feel good about, and we go home and share books that we've checked out.
One of the wonderful things about the library is that I get out of my house and I'm with a bunch of other people who love books and love reading. So I do a lot of my writing in the library, of course I do a lot of reading and research, and while we're all very Web savvy and Googling things...
What I love about the library is also just the vibe in there. Everybody is there enjoying being at the library and having the feeling of being around books. In my local branch, on a Sunday afternoon, the joint is jumping, because first of all, it's filled with me and my family, my kids are doing book reports, I'm doing research.
And it's to the point now where, if I need a little fact, it's like a swarm, you know a team of librarians come and they will go to the end of the earth to find out some little minute detail that I need. And I get it instantly. And what I love is, not only do they get me the book with the minute detail, usually one member of that team knows something about that topic or period in history and imparts their own personal experience as well.
One of the reasons it is so important to preserve the funding of libraries is because a library provides a community. There are a lot of children and adults who don't go to book stores, who cannot afford to, or who just don't have a community of fellow readers and book lovers around them. And the library of affords that.
The library allows all of us to come in, and again, be with like-minded people who just love books and love reading.
[On censorship] As an author of books about African-American subject matter, I recently had an interesting experience. I learned that a certain state in the South decided that, in this particular district, decided that there were too many books of African-American subject matter on the shelves. And folks felt that they needed to winnow those down, and so they were removing them just so there weren't so many.
When I learned about this, the first feeling I think I had was really a feeling of sadness because African-American history is American history and the idea that, you know, we are denying readers, whoever they are, the opportunity to learn about the history of our nation and those that built the nation. And perhaps there are books that will not be on those shelves now because of the minds of a few they were being removed. It really made me kind of sad and angry.
So my new book is entitled "Bird in a Box" and it is a middle grade novel, historical fiction set in 1937. And it takes place on the night that Joe Louis becomes the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. I'm not going to tell you what happens, but there are three children, two boys and a girl, and their lives converge on this tonight again,when we find out that Joe Louis is the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World. They're all in front of the radio and that's all I'll tell you.