Our Meet the Team post series concludes with Hayley, answering her own interview questions.
What is your first reading memory? Are there some books you remember a parent reading aloud to you?
I don’t have a first —our house was filled with books and read alouds. I do remember standing in our basement and staring hard at a book about horses that I couldn’t read yet. Then I started reading, and I still remember puzzling over the word “laughing” in a Cowboy Sam chapter book. It didn’t fit any of the nice phonetic words I’d learned, but oh the triumph of discovering what it meant!
Read aloud memories span the years: I especially remember reading The Railway Children by E. Nesbit —first as a read aloud from Mom, then reading it myself to my younger siblings. Another family read aloud memory is concluding the first two books in the Ralph Moody Little Britches series with the whole family in tears! And I remember The House of Sixty Fathers and Swallows and Amazons . . . and many more. So many books.
How did you first become interested in children’s literature as a professional pursuit?
Well you see, I had an internship with this really neat website called Redeemed Reader . . . But truly, discovering RR was key. Here was a place where I could combine my love of books with my love of writing, and I’ve never looked back, except to thank God for the opportunity of getting to serve with this wonderful team.
As we head into 2019, did you make any goals regarding reading?
Yes, to track my books on Goodreads. At the end of 2018 some of my book-loving friends posted really neat end-of-year updates on Goodreads, and I got jealous because my own was woefully out-of-date. I also resolved to read more genres and to write a little bit about each book I’ve read BEFORE starting another book. I confess, I haven’t done a good job at the last one, but I’m working on it.
How do you keep track of all the books your family reads?
Collective memory and recommending all our favorite books to friends! Also, relying on Redeemed Reader and friends for book recommendations —and in my own reading, sometimes using my library’s history to track down a title I can’t remember. I’m also not above googling the plot of a book title that is escaping me . . .
What is a book and/or quote you enjoyed this past month?
This is cheating slightly, but I just found a quote I’d written down last year while reading Elizabeth Goudge’s novel Pilgrim’s Inn. When I want to return to a good, deep, thoughtfully written book with a new story, I gravitate toward Goudge’s style:
“He was deeply attracted by gallantry and a mess was a thing he always snuffed from afar as an old war horse snuffs the scent of powder.”
Recently I read a fun fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty by an Australian author, W. R. Gingell. (Watch for more about her; I’m loving her books!) The book was dedicated to Diana Wynne Jones (another favorite author of mine), and it definitely was a tribute to her characters and style.
“It seemed that there wasn’t a problem Isabella didn’t consider could be solved by the constant application of tea.”
What is a book (or audiobook!) your family is enjoying?
Well, we did just enjoy Astrid the Unstoppable as a read aloud. Currently, I’m loving listening to The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski. Sometimes nonfiction can get too dry or be hard for me to follow without a book, but this one has nice short chapters yet manages to convey a lot of information. And the narrator is wonderful —which is a must in my book. (And I didn’t even mean that to be a pun; oh dear.)
I think it’s safe to say that all of us read more than average! Where do you fit reading time into your life?
At night, before I go to sleep. During a quiet day. Sunday afternoons. Constant audiobooks while I drive. . . . I also fit as much reading aloud into my schedule as possible, and I’m proud that most children I know link my name with the fact I “bring books.”