KidsLIVE and TeenLIVE: Ask the Author and Illustrator: Lost in NYC by Manuel Martinez, Library Manager, Allerton Library

April 7, 2015

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KIdslive Presents: Join us for a Kids LIVE event April 13th at the Allerton Library in the Bronx and meet the author and illustrator of Lost in NYC.

About the Book

Pablo’s first day in a New York City school quickly goes off the rails during a field trip to the Empire State Building. Pablo accidentally gets on the wrong train, but with help from a new friend and from the city itself, he soon is on the fast track to becoming a local. This story—which features maps, archival photos, and fascinating facts—will help readers explore the subway without leaving their seats. It brings all the bustle and beauty of NYC to young readers around the world.

Author Nadja Spiegelman

When and where do you like to read?

I used to love reading in a corner, or under the dining room table, while my parents had parties. It was the coziest feeling, to be surrounded by people I had no obligation to speak to and then to be able to slip in and out of the other world contained in my book—it was in those moments that I was most vividly aware of how transportive reading could be. I still often regret that I'm a bit too old to do that now without seeming deeply antisocial.

Now I love to read on trains, at cafe terraces, in parks—I still love to be surrounded by other people while I'm reading. It's then that I'm most aware of the feeling of disappearing into the story in my hands.

What were your favorite books as a child?

I loved Alice in Wonderland. My favorite edition was a big hardcover that had illustrations by different artists on each page. I was fascinated by how radically differently Alice could be imagined. On some pages she was a teenager and on some a young girl, on some she was brunette and on other pages she was blond, sometimes she was beautiful and sometimes she was grotesque. When I write children's books that others illustrate, there's an element of that magic there—the world I built in my own imagination takes shape through somebody else's eyes, and it's always exciting and surprising.

What books had the greatest impact on you?

This is a difficult question to answer as it's constantly changing. There are writers I read while I'm writing in the hopes that their rhythms will find their way into my stories—Elena FerranteJames BaldwinNabokov.

Would you like to name a few writers out there you think deserve greater readership?

There are a number of books by young women that I've loved recently: The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Elmear McBride, The From-Aways by Cj Hauser. I also discovered Mavis Gallant recently and love her writing as well.

What was the last book you recommended?

I'm reading the Faraway Nearby by by Rebecca Solnit right now, and I've been recommending it to everyone who comes within earshot. It's a book about her mother's decline into dementia and yet it touches, seamlessly, on Frankenstein, on leprosy, on Che Guevera, on Iceland and it pulls all of these disparte things together into what is ultimately a book about stories and why we tell them. Her subjects resonate with each other until it feels like the whole book is humming. It's just so good. It's exactly how I would love to be able to write, and it fills me with the perfect chemical combination of awe and envy that makes me itch to do so.

What do you plan to read next?

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

What inspired you to start writing?

When I was very young, my father told me stories as he walked me home from preschool. My favorites were about the Magical Anything Shop where lucky pennies found on the street could be redeemed for magical objects -- provided you were fortunate enough to stumble upon the shop, which appeared on different street corners and alleyways at random and then vanished again without a trace.

As soon as my little brother was old enough to understand me (and probably before), I began telling him stories about the shop, and other stories too. As soon as I could write easily on my own, I was writing them down. I had a penchant for stories about enchanted items that ended with an ironic twist of fate where the magic had turned itself against the user. My parents were almost impossibly encouraging and I haven't stopped since (although my subject matter may have evolved a little bit).

Illustrator Sergio García Sánchez

When and where do you like to read?

Siempre que tengo tiempo, en cualquier momento y en cualquier lugar.

I always have time to read books, whenever and where ever I go. I always try to make time.

What were your favorite books as a child?

Es difícil decidirse por un solo libro. Guardo un especial recuerdo de Miguel Strogoff de Julio Verne y de La isla del tesoro de Robert L. Stevenson, que inspiraron mis primeras ilustraciones.

It is difficult to choose one book. I keep a special memory of Michael Stragoff by Jules Verne and Treasure Island by Robert L. Stevenson, who have inspired my first illustrations.

What books had the greatest impact on you?

De adolescente quedé muy impresionado con la lectura de Crónicas marcianas de Ray Bradbury. Me gusta esa visión tan personal que tiene de la ciencia ficción. Más adelante descubrí a Charles Dickens,y quedé fascinado por Los papeles póstumos del club Pickwick. Es su primera novela y me parece fresca y muy divertida (algún día me gustaría adaptarla al cómic.)

Cien años de soledad de García Márquez ha marcado mi labor creativa. Gran parte de mi obra bebe del realismo mágico sudamericano.

Mi Familia y Otros Animales de Gerard Durrell me animó a vivir en plena naturaleza.

As a teenager I was very impressed with the reading of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I like that very personal vision you have of science fiction. Later I discovered Charles Dickens, and was fascinated by The Pickwick Papers. It is his first novel and it seems fresh and fun (Someday I'd adapt to comics.)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by García Márquez set my creative work. Much of my work bebe South American magical realism.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerard Durrell encouraged me to live in the countryside.

Would you like to name a few writers out there you think deserve greater readership?

Soy dibujante de cómic, por ello en este apartado me gustaría recomendarles autores de cómic. Mis autores favoritos son:

I am a cartoonist, so in this section I would recommend cartoonists. My favorite authors are:

Art SpiegelmanChris WareRutu Modan, André Franquin, Hergé, Yves Chaland, Joann SfarLewis TrondheimChristophe Blain, Emmanuel Gibert, David Mazaucchelli

What was the last book you recommended?

Un cómic maravilloso, Asterios Polyp de David Mazzucchelli.

A wonderful comic, Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli.

What do you plan to read next?

Otro cómic (leo mucho cómic de autor) El árabe moderno de Riad Satouf.

Another comic (I read a lot of comic authors) The Modern Arab by Riyadh Satouf.

What inspired you to start writing?

Siempre he sentido un irrefrenable deseo de contar historias, el dibujo es para mí el vehículo ideal para poder hacerlo.

I have always felt an uncontrollable desire to tell stories, drawing is for me the ideal vehicle to do so.