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A video interview with

Gennifer Choldenko

Gennifer Choldenko's books are funny and warm. She's got a real gift for capturing the authentic voices of tweens and teens as they negotiate their families, friends, and growing up. Her books for younger children feature kids — and creatures — confronting their fears.

You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Gennifer Choldenko, or see a selected list of her children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)

Biography

Gennifer grew up in Southern California surrounded by older siblings and cousins who called her names like "Shrimp," "Short Stuff," and "Snot-nose," so maybe it's not surprising that several of her books feature strong sibling connections and family drama.

In elementary school, Gennifer, spent a lot of time in the library looking for books that she'd enjoy as much as Charlotte's Web or Across Five Aprils, Island of the Blue Dolphins, or A Wrinkle in Time. She recalls that the books with gold and silver Newbery stickers were usually better than the other books she checked out, so it was an unbelievable thrill when one of her own books, Al Capone Does My Shirts, won a Newbery honor in 2005.

Though Gennifer primarily writes middle-grades fiction, she's also written wonderful picture books — Louder, Lili and Moonstruck — for younger children that speak to kids' dreams and worries.

Gennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her family and a German Shepherd named Sophie.

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables