Friday, October 11, 2013

Case Study No. 1045: Susan Patron

Susan Patron interview
Susan Patron's book The Higher Power of Lucky became known for two things in the past year: winning the 2007 ALA Newbery Medal, and being at the center of an uproar when some school librarians removed the book because it contained the word "scrotum." In this interview, conducted at the 2007 ALA Annual Conference, AL's Beverly Goldberg speaks with Patron about that controversial word, connecting with young readers, and what she's working on next.
Tags: ala scrotum susan patron higher power of lucky
Added: 5 years ago
From: AmLibraryAssociation
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[scene opens with Susan Patron speaking directly to the camera]
SUSAN: You know, I've had an opportunity to talk a lot about what I wanted to do, and why I used the word "scrotum" in the book.
[she smiles]
SUSAN: So, um ... so that entails being able to reach kids and respecting their intellligence. Writing to their heart, trying to say something that will make them maybe figure out how things work a little bit better, and understanding our world somehow.
[cut to another shot of Susan speaking directly to the camera]
SUSAN: The firestorm removed the book from its readers, and it was all about adults talking about appropriateness and intellectual freedom and access ... and, um, when I went on a tour, I retired at the end of March and went on a tour, and got to speak to hundreds and hundreds of kids. Many of them had already read the book, or the book had been read to them, and to be able to interact with them about my story was extraordinary, because many children take it very deeply to heart.
[she smiles]
SUSAN: Many children that I talk to in rural areas thought that I was writing about their town.
[cut to another shot of Susan speaking directly to the camera]
SUSAN: I'm focused on the next book, which is ... um, a continuation of this story. A companion book. And we're still in our little town of Hard Pan. And, which is a kind of metaphor for all of us. As strange as it is as a little town, its people are just doing what we all do to get by. Trying to be as good as we can, and trying to figure out things.

Interviewed by Beverly Goldberg
alfocus dot ala dot org
July 2007



Susan Patron (born 1948) is an American author of children's books. In 2007, she won the Newbery Award for The Higher Power of Lucky.

Patron's first children's book, Burgoo Stew, was published in 1990. It was followed by three more picture books and the book Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe, which won the 1993 Parent's Choice Award. Recently she published a sequel to The Higher Power of Lucky called Lucky Breaks (Simon & Schuster, March, 2009).

Patron claims to have spent most of her life at the Los Angeles Public Library, both as a child and an adult. She served as their Juvenile Materials Collection Development Manager until her retirement in March 2007. She was a Senior Librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library, where she began in 1972. She reviews children's literature, has taught and lectured on the subject, and has served on boards and committees in the field. When not at work, Susan writes, reads, and makes flaming desserts. She lives with her husband, Rene, in Los Angeles and in a small cabin in the high desert of the Eastern Sierra of California.

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