Can you believe it? It’s Episode 100!  And amazingly, we just crossed over a pretty huge milestone here at The Read-Aloud Revival: over 4 million downloads of the podcast.

You know, I couldn’t have picked a better guest for this week’s 100th episode celebration. In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Jeanne Birdsall, author of the Penderwicks series.

The final book in the series, The Penderwicks at Last is available today, so your Penderwicks fans are going to want to get their hands on that right away.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • what is was like for Jeanne to get her first book published
  • how she always imagined the Penderwicks series as one single story
  • which books inspired her writing (I bet you can guess a few!)

Click the play button below:

Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

  • 1:49 Meet Jeanne
  • 3:32 The first Penderwicks book gets published
  • 8:23 Jeanne’s writing process
  • 11:53 Where the story came from
  • 14:28 Get signed copies!
  • 15:09 Which books inspired Jeanne
  • 16:52 What you might not know about the characters
  • 21:03 Ahhhh, Mr. Penderwick
  • 22:27 Questions about the craft of writing
  • 27:42 The hardest part of writing
  • 29:26 Let’s talk about revision
  • 32:23 What’s next from Jeanne BIrdsall…
  • 33:53 Book 5: The Penderwicks at Last
  • 37:58 Fan mail
  • 39:14 Writing tips
  • 44:06 Let the kids speak

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Quotes to Remember:

What I wanted to do is to be part of the conversation that started with E. Nesbit, Edward Eagar, C. S. Lewis, Elizabeth Enright, Eleanor Estes.  I’m talking back to them. I’m saying, “Thank you for this. I love this part.” But, I’m also talking forward to the people who are reading my books. And then I tell children, ‘Maybe you’ll be part of the conversation, too.’

“That first rush of ‘Oh, I can do whatever I want’ is too much for me, there’s too many possibilities. I love it when that’s all in place, and then I can really start with the emotions, the funny stuff, and the conversation. That’s what I love the most. I’m actually a revision-driven writer… which is lucky for me.”

“Just read voraciously. The written language- the way you tell a story in written language- is different than oral language. Some things are longer, some things are shorter, there’s a different rhythm, there are different words you use; you have to learn that language before you can start creating in it … But, the good thing about my method is that you get to read lots of books.”

(Download the transcript above for more quotes and pull-outs.)

Books from this episode:

(All links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Episode 100
The Secret Garden
100 Cupboards (100 Cupboards, Bk 1)
Anne of Green Gables
Little Women (Puffin in Bloom)
The Penderwicks
Jo’s Boys (Bantam Classics)
Little Men (Puffin Classics)
Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle
Flora’s Very Windy Day
By C. S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set: Full-Color Collector’s Edition
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
The Penderwicks in Spring
The Penderwicks at Last
My Favorite Pets: by Gus W. for Ms. Smolinski’s Class
Lucky and Squash
Moods: (Louisa May Alcott Classics Collection)
The Story of the Treasure Seekers: Complete and Unabridged (Puffin Classics)