Today we are chatting with Barbara Dee, author of Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet
Read on for more about her, the book, and a giveaway!
Meet Barbara Dee:
Barbara Dee is the author of twelve middle grade novels including Violets Are Blue, Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet, My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including The Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Barbara lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.
About the Book: Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet
From critically acclaimed author Barbara Dee comes a middle grade novel about a young girl who channels her anxiety about the climate crisis into rallying her community to save a local river.
Twelve-year-old Haven Jacobs can’t stop thinking about the climate crisis. In fact, her anxiety about the state of the planet is starting to interfere with her schoolwork, her friendships, even her sleep. She can’t stop wondering why grownups aren’t even trying to solve the earth’s problem—and if there’s anything meaningful that she, as a seventh grader, can contribute.
When Haven’s social studies teacher urges her to find a specific, manageable way to make a difference to the planet, Haven focuses on the annual science class project at the local Belmont River, where her class will take samples of the water to analyze. Students have been doing the project for years, and her older brother tells her that his favorite part was studying and catching frogs.
But when Haven and her classmates get to the river, there’s no sign of frogs or other wildlife—but there is ample evidence of pollution. The only thing that’s changed by the river is the opening of Gemba, the new factory where Haven’s dad works. It doesn’t take much investigation before Haven is convinced Gemba is behind the slow pollution of the river.
She’s determined to expose Gemba and force them to clean up their act. But when it becomes clear taking action might put her dad’s job—and some friendships—in jeopardy, Haven must decide how far she’s willing to go.
When you have a new book out, you’re often asked the same questions: Where do you get your ideas? Are you stories based on your own experience? What advice do you have for writers?
These are all valid questions, and I’m always happy to answer them. But here are some I’d like to propose, just to mix things up a little.
In your writing, what words do you most overuse?
Just. Really. Weird.
What word can’t you spell?
Weird. Which is weird (see above).
What’s your least favorite word?
What’s your least favorite expression?
What’s your favorite thing to write?
Dialogue. It’s also my favorite thing to read. When I pick up a book, the first thing I check is how much white space there is on a page. If all I see is solid blocks of print from margin to margin, that book is not for me.
What do you find hardest to write?
Action sequences. Fortunately, they don’t come up in the stories I want to tell.
What can readers expect to find in your books?
Pizza, ice cream, pets—and thinly disguised references to my favorite band, Radiohead. In fact, I quote from their song The Numbers in the epigraph of Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet.
What do you do when you procrastinate?
In addition to hanging out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I check out baby-naming websites. I tell myself it’s a way to build my characters—and I actually think it’s true.
How do you know when a book is finished?
When you have the unshakable feeling that if you read it ONE MORE TIME, your head will explode. Alternatively, when you think if you revise ONE MORE WORD, you’ll totally wreck the whole thing.
How do you feel about the Oxford comma?
How do you feel about leaving two spaces after a sentence?
Pro. Every sentence needs a little elbow room.
Do you make a playlist to listen to when you’re writing?
Never. I can’t listen to music when I’m trying to write. The only sound that I don’t find distracting is my dog’s snoring.
Would you ever consider writing a graphic novel?
Sure, if I could illustrate it with stick figures.
Would you ever consider writing a novel for adults?
Sure, because I suspect it’s easier than writing for kids. After all, I’m already an adult, so I wouldn’t have to imagine an adult POV, or avoid certain words. And I wouldn’t need to worry about books bans!
Book’s Title: Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet
Author: Barbara Dee
Release Date: 9/27/22
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Environment
Age Range: 9-13
One (1) winner will receive a hardcover copy of Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet (Barbara Dee) ~US/CAN ONLY
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*