Exclusive Trailer Reveal: The Underneath (Kathi Appelt), Plus Author Chat & Giveaway!
Today we're excited to share the trailer for The Underneath!
Read on for more about author Kathi Appelt and her book, plus the trailer, an interview & giveaway!
Meet Kathi Underneath!
Kathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her first novel, The Underneath, was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Book. It also received the PEN USA Award. Her other novels include The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, a National Book Award finalist, and Maybe a Fox, one of the Bank Street Books Best Children’s Books of the Year. In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, and to find curriculum materials and activity pages, visit her website at kathiappelt.com.
David Small is the Caldecott Award–winning illustrator of So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George. He also received Caldecott Honors for The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo. He’s illustrated dozens of other award-winning books, including That Book Woman by Heather Henson and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, and lives in Michigan with his wife, Sarah Stewart.
Meet The Underneath!
Kathi Appelt’s THE UNDERNEATH, winner of a Newbery Honor and a National Book Award Finalist, celebrates 10 years in 2018.
There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.
A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath.
Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten's one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love -- and its opposite, hate -- the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.
~ Exclusive Trailer Reveal ~
~ Interview ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
It started with a short story I had written about a boy who rescued a kitten from a creek. From there, it kept growing. I thought of it like taffy—I kept pulling and pulling and twisting and twisting the story material, and it grew and grew. At one point, late in the process I wrote the boy out of the story. That was painful, but it was the right choice.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love Puck. He reminds me so much of our cat D’jango when he was a kitten. But I also love Ranger. There is nothing finer than a good dog, is there? (Well, maybe a good cat).
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel, definitely. It was actually my agent, Holly McGhee, who gave it the title. For years it was called Puck’s Bell, but when I wrote the boy out of the story, the bell had to go. Holly is who came up with The Underneath. At first, I was skeptical about it, but she convinced me that it was just right.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I love the scene early in the kittens’ lives when they are playing together. I knew that this was a dark story from the beginning, but darkness still requires some light. Otherwise, it becomes melodramatic. Likewise, the darkness gives the light a way to shine. That scene makes me happy.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
To be patient. Whenever I’m working on a story, I have to remind myself that it could take awhile to solve the puzzle. That’s how I view most of my stories, as puzzles. And for me, it takes time to figure out how the pieces all fit together and why.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love that it feels as if the whole weight of the world is bearing down on that small family, and yet there they are together. The pressure from the weight is enormous, but as long as they have each other, they can bear it.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
I am really looking forward to Cynthia Leitich Smith’s young adult novel, Hearts Unbroken. Cynthia has spent the last several years writing her gothic horror “Tantalize” series, and with Hearts Unbroken, she’s returning to realism in a huge way. I can’t wait, actually.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
Hands down? Big Cat, Little Cat, by Elisha Cooper. It’s hard to describe how much I love that book.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have a new novel, this time a YA called Angel Thieves. It’s due out in spring of 2019.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
It’s set in Houston, my home town, along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou, and it’s based upon a real person who lived there pre-Civil War. It swings back and forth in time from then to now.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Oh boy, there were so many. I think every scene I wrote about the ocelot took a bite out of my heart.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I have a sixteen-year old girl in it named Soleil. She was the hardest to figure out because she’s really nothing at all like me, largely because when it comes to her faith, she is a true believer, whereas I am more of a skeptic. I kept trying to understand her, and I hope I finally did, but she was hard to find. It was almost as if she was playing hide-and-seek with me.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Both. They each have their respective wonders. I love the “heat of creation” in those early drafting stages. But I also like the problem solving of the revision stages.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Hmmm…I’m good with cats and small children.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I am all about those Parkland kids and their #neveragain movement. I am beyond sick of guns and our idolization of them.
By: Kathi Appelt
Publishing Date: May 2008
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Fifteen lucky winners will receive an autographed paperback copy of THE UNDERNEATH.
In addition, one Grand Prize winner will win a classroom set of 20 copies of the book PLUS a 30-40 minute Skype visit for her/his school, classroom, or library with award-winning author Kathi Appelt.