Description from GoodReads:
Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices at the Piggly Wiggly, and two loyal best friends. So when her absent mother decides to move away from their small town, Gertie sets out on her greatest mission yet: becoming the best fifth grader in the universe to show her mother exactly what she'll be leaving behind. There's just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.
Thank you Kate Beasley for stopping by and sharing about preparing for your first school visits and the many inspirations behind GERTIE'S LEAP TO GREATNESS.
I’m about to go on a school visit tour for Gertie’s Leap to Greatness. This is a big deal for me and a huge honor. I’ve been preparing in every way I can think of. Buying travel-sized toothpaste, taking pictures of my desk to show students where I work, and planning writing exercises. I know the students will ask me what my inspiration was for this book, and I’ve been trying to think of an answer.
The difficulty of the inspiration question lies in the fact that it wasn’t one thing that inspired me to write Gertie. It was a thousand. It was details of my own childhood, scenes from books and movies, newspaper articles, children I saw in Wal-Mart, song lyrics, nature, things, so many things: bug zappers, books, laundry baskets, and pencils—and feelings, too, of injustice, curiosity, fear, and hope above all.
All of the above inspired in me a sense of fascination and wonder, and these feelings were so big and good that I couldn’t keep them to myself. I needed to transform this fascination into a story that someone else could read. I wanted someone else to see and smell and feel all that I did.
Why do we tell other people about the dreams we had last night or the plots of movies we saw or about that thing the man in the checkout line said? It’s a compulsion, isn’t it? We have to tell. We have to reach out and share. I think that one part of it is that we’re trying to make sense of things, seeking to understand. I fear that another part of it is narcissism; we want to validate our own voices and experiences. But I believe that the biggest and best part of the compulsion is love. Love for life and memory and experience; we relish life. “We write to taste life twice,” Anaïs Nin said. And love, too, for other people. I love my readers. Even though I haven’t met them yet. Even if I can’t meet them all.
I’m still not sure what I’m going to tell students during Q&A. What inspired me to write this book, Gertie, in particular? What inspires me to write anything? I don’t know. I do know that life is weird and difficult, but endlessly good and interesting. And I wanted you to know that.
About the author:
Kate Beasley holds a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Claxton, Georgia, with two dogs, one parrot, lots of cows, and a cat named Edgar. Gertie's Leap to Greatness is her first novel. Find her on Twitter