Just over a week ago a beautiful picture arrived in my mailbox from Erik one of the new kids on the block in the 12x12in12 writers group headed by Julie Hedlund. I had won the gorgeous illustration by Lindsay Barrett George the author/illustrator of “That Pup” in a giveaway comment competition on Erik’s Blog. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Through emails, I found Erik to be quite something. I found him considerate, interesting, thoughtful, well mannered, witty and charming. Naturally after he gave me such a lovely mention on his blog linking mine to his, I just had to ask if he would be interested in doing an interview with me. Over the ensuing week I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with him and so….. I was going to hold off for another day or two but I am so excited and delighted I couldn’t wait any longer, in introducing you to our youngest blogger….
ERIK! .. This Kid Reviews Books
Question 1…You mentioned on Tara’s website back in November how you came to have a blog and I wondered if you would mind briefly enlightening us about that…?
Erik: I got the idea to do reviews when my grandmom told me that a kid (a stranger) in a book store told her to get me “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda”. He said I would like it, so she bought it. It is a good book and I did like it! I thought that if my grandmom would take the advice of a kid maybe “this kid” (me) could help other kids and grown-ups looking for books. Plus I really love to read and I wanted to talk to more people about books. I wanted to write for a newspaper but my Dad suggested that a blog would be a good idea. My parents helped me learn how to set the blog up and I wrote my first post in January of 2011.
Question 2… You mentioned on your blog that you actually met Lindsay Barrett George the author/illustrator of “That Pup”. What’s it like actually meeting and interviewing authors…. I imagine it’s quite exciting and I have only done email interviews so far?
Erik: I am actually really nervous before I meet an author, but when I start talking to him or her I get less nervous. Just being at book signings and going to them is pretty exciting for me. I usually read one or more of the author’s books and go to their website before going to a signing or asking for an interview and I make my questions up before time. One time I went to the book launch party for “The Throne of Fire” by Rick Riordan (my favourite author). I had a lot of time to make my questions up (we had a long drive and a long time to wait in line). When it was my turn, Mr. Riordan asked me if I had any questions for him and I was so nervous I FORGOT THEM ALL and just got my book signed!! I did give Mr. Riordan my blog address and told him I was going to blog about the event. When I did the post I put the questions I didn’t get to ask him in it and Mr. Riordan must have seen them because he actually answered one of them on his blog under “the best question never asked”! I really like hearing what authors have to say about their books and how they got the ideas to write their books. Every author I have ever talked to has been very nice.
Question 3… Now I think everyone will laugh at me here, but then I think a few will be just as gob-smacked as I was when viewing your blog….. You just celebrated your 10th Birthday… that’s right folks 10! A very impressive blog I might add, your reviews are intriguing, thoughtful, well produced and researched …. Do you get any help with your posts/write-ups at all?
Erik: Thank you for the nice compliments! Yes, I am ten years old. People ask me that a lot; even when people meet me in person (I look older than I am). I do go through a couple drafts when I write all of my posts and reviews. The thing I wrote for Ms. Lazar’s PiBoIdMo literally took me all month to do. My parents do help me and I appreciate it. I’ll show them what I write and they will tell me if something doesn’t make sense or suggest that I re-write parts. They also make sure everything that has to do with my blog is kid-friendly and helped me learn how to set-up and run my blog. They drive me to the events I want to go to (not all of them, but a lot) and if there is something I want to learn about, they make sure I can find it. I get a lot of ideas from reading other people’s blogs (like yours J ) and people are really helpful to me when I ask questions. Author Michelle Isenhoff has helped me with learning about punctuation when writing conversations when I was writing my book. One thing that has helped me a lot with writing my blog is something my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Deitrich, taught me about; hamburger paragraphs. If you don’t know what that is, it is a way of making a good paragraph. I took the hamburger and made it into a formula for my reviews (*hint* if you look at my reviews they pretty much follow the same formula). For my reviews I have 2 hamburgers, one for the story summary and one for my opinion.
(Here’s my story summary hamburger if you think it helps you can use it)
Question 4.…I believe, reading back on your blog, that you are starting a draft on your second book, following “The Adventures of Tomato and the Pea” (your first), can you give us an overview of what that one is about, and you also are talking about self publishing it… will you take us on that journey so we to, may learn from you?
Erik: THAT’S A GOOD IDEA! I never thought about blogging about trying to self-publish my book. I think I will (if it is OK to steal your idea –I’ll give you credit)!
Thank you for asking me about my book. The story I wrote, “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea,” was for an end of year project for the enriched program I am in at school. When I wrote it, I really liked the story and I added to it. Then decided I really liked it and added more and more to it over the summer. It finally became a book. Here’s what it is about; Tomato is Oarg’s greatest crime-stopper (Pea is his sidekick). Wintergreen and his gang have been trying to get rid of Tomato and his friends and take over Oarg for years. In a plan gone bad, Wintergreen and his gang and Tomato and is friends, get caught in a rocket ship and crash land on a strange planet called EAR-TH. The story follows the fighting bunch of aliens on EAR-TH as they try to get along and survive on the strange planet.
Question 5… I am sorry for asking so many questions, but I am so enjoying this and I could not let you go without asking you if you could finish up by giving us some advice from a teens point of view, what do you think would be a magic ingredient for writing the perfect book, for kids today?
Erik: I don’t know if it would be “perfect” for everyone but what I think a good book is, is a really good story but mixed with a little humor and a lot of adventure. I want to like one of the characters a lot. It doesn’t even have to be the main character, but I want him or her to be someone I want to be like or be friends with. I hope that makes sense.
Thank you for asking me to do this!
Erik, the pleasure is all mine.
I can just see my fellow writers making notes on your Hamburger analogy here and we did have some fun getting it to my blog, didn’t we! We would love for you to keep us informed on how you go about your self publishing venture, it would be fun to follow you on that, so no worries there.
I think I speak for many when I say, good luck in your writing and blogging and in the 12x12in12 challenge, we are enjoying having you along for the ride.
Thanks again Erik ……. your Kiwi chum
You can check out Erik’s blog here……http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/
Wonderful interview Diane and Erik. I love your hamburger analogy! You are very inspiring indeed being so in touch with allthese authors, what a pro you are already. Best wishes!
Thankyou so much Catherine. I also forgot to mention this “Kid” has a column in a local newspaper to. Just goes to show it can happen, and yes what an inspiration he is….. thanks for your lovely comment.
Thank you Ms. Johnson and Miss Diane for mentioning my newspaper column!
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I am a big fan of Erik’s blog. A great interview! So nice to learn a little more about one of my favorite bloggers! 🙂 I especially love the hamburger analogy.
Thank you Ms. Brockway! I am a big fan of your book! 😉
Thankyou Stephanie, so pleased you enjoyed it as much as I did making it with Erik.
Great interview Erik and Diane! Lot’s of fun to read.
Thank you Mr. Davis!
Thankyou from me Mr Davis, you are very welcome. It was a pleasure doing it.
Fun interview, thanks Diane! I thought it amusing that you would ask Erik for his advice from a teen’s perspective when he still has three years to go to be one himself. 🙂 Maybe that is because he is wise for his years – and a joy to know.
I’ll be referring to your story summary hamburger, I’m sure. Thanks, Erik!
Thank you for the compliments Ms. Lynn! 🙂 I’m happy to know you too!
Thankyou Lynn for stopping by. Due to my time zone I am still catching up with the replies. But yes you are right Erik has a natural flare years ahead of his age and he is a joy to work with.
Your hamburger hint rules, Erik! “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea” sound intriguing as I do love a good crime story!
One of your greatest strengths is your humility, Erik.
I am in the middle of writing a story which is a little bit scary for 5/6 year olds. Did you like creepy stories at that age, Erik?
Thankyou Joanna for your comment, I’ll get back to you with answers for your questions, although I can see I might have to do a follow-up.
Thank you! I liked (and still like) “creepy mysteries” but not just plain “horror stories” when I was 5-10 (still not a horror fan). I liked Scoby-Doo mysteries when I was younger (and still do) and they have monsters in them but it’s a good mystery story.
I hope that helps! 🙂
Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview Erik and Diane! Learned a lot of new things about you Erik. You are one busy kid. The world is wide open for you with all of your talents. I hope we get to follow you and see what you choices you make for yourself. I really like the “story summary hamburger.” Also liked hearing what makes a good book for you. Great interview Diane. Erik was the perfect pick as the interview went so well with your PPB selection on Friday.
Thankyou so much Pat, he is a real “sport”. I to hope he will keep us updated with his venture into the depths of the writing world, it will be such fun. I knew you would like his Hamburger….*smiles*.
Thank you! Mrs. Isenhoff (http://michelleisenhoff.wordpress.com/) just started a series about self-publishing that I’m going to read to see what I can learn about it!!! 🙂
Ten years old?? I thought we were dealing with at least a fourteen-year-old, here! Bravo, Erik. I am very impressed with your dedication to books and to your blog, and really enjoy reading your reviews each week. I used to teach the hamburger paragraph, too — glad to know it works for you!
Excellent interview! Congrats to both Diane and Erik. 🙂
Thankyou so much Renee, ….lol, and I thought he was a little bit older than fourteen when I first “met” him. He certainly is impressive and he is going to go far in his writing. Glad to see you approve of his Hamburger analogy to.
That’s cool you taught hamburger paragraphs! I’m going to tell my teacher you like them too!
Fantastic interview! I’m so glad you thought to do this interview, Diane. Erik, I so enjoyed getting to know you a little better, and getting to share your excitement and nervousness about meeting with authors. Absolutely LOVE the hamburger analogy.
Thank you both!
Thankyou Beth, I am sure I speak for Erik when I say, thankyou for your kind words and you are welcome.
Erik is one of my favorite people. We “met” last year shortly after he and I both started blogging. He’s a fantastic kid, a great blogger, and basically a pretty awesome person in general. I loved the interview. And now I’ve found another great blog to read!
thankyou cookiejarprincess, for your very kind words. I had fun doing this interview with Erik and you’r right he is a fantastic kid. Love having you aboard here, please take your time and have a wander around. Pop back any time.
I cannot believe you are only ten, Erik! Best of luck with self-publishing and blogging about it. Wonderful review guys and thanks for sharing the hamburger analogy with us.
Hi Jennifer, I can just see Erik chuckling away to himself and feeling equally proud of these wonderful comments. I am sure he appreciates and thanks you for your best wishes.
A great interview. Eric is indeed an incredible young man and a good role modal for others his age. I am a big fan of his. Like everyone else, I love the hamburger formula. Trust a young person to come up with such a great idea.
Thankyou Darlene, I am so pleased your enjoyed this interview, hes quite something isn’t he? I am sure Erik will be along to say hi at some stage. Do pop back anytime, love to have you.
Definitely a fan of Erik’s! If lucky maybe he’ll review me when I become published. 😉
Hi Marcie, now that’s a good idea, maybe we should book him up to interview us, when we get published, because he is going to be in hot demand later on, when he is published himself…. and famous!.. 🙂 Like your thoughts there. Pop back anytime!
Great interview you two! I am always impressed with Erik, his blog, his writing, and I am glad to see him getting the accolades he deserves. You already have a big audience for your book Erik! 🙂
Thankyou Julie for your warm comments….. yes Erik is getting a big following …I think…lol.
I wanted to thank you Ms. Diane for interviewing me and everyone who has commented! I’m grateful for all the nice things people are saying! I am happy that so many people like the hamburger paragraph – I’ll tell my teacher you guys liked it!
Erik 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Erik as I said before, the pleasure was all mine. I loved working with you and I hope we do another one soon. Make sure you keep in touch with me, about your writing especially. Oh also you are welcome to come back to this post and continue answering the replies if you wish. I am sure there will be more to come…… Just remember, at all times have fun!
Great interview! Erik, I think you provide an excellent perspective on books. I’m sure we’ll continue to see great things from you in years to come.
Thankyou Hannah for your kind words, I am sure Erik will be reading these for awhile yet.
Fabulous interview! Erik is an amazing kid, and a pleasure to interact with. I have had the honor of pre-reading his story, “Tomato and Pea,” and it’s fabulous. He had me laughing out loud with with his wit, and I was amazed at his ability (as a then 9-yr-old) to package his story so neatly. I can’t wait to see the final, published product!
Oh my Michelle, you actually got to read his story, what an honour! Thankyou for sharing that with me. I agree he is an amazing kid and I had such fun with him. He is very articulate with ensuring he covered my questions well and also ensured I got his hamburger picture.
Oh, Erik… How I love you! Your blog makes me so happy, and the way you present yourself is incredible to me. I hope to one day be interviewed by you!! I love what you have to say!
Diane, great job!! Thank you for giving “This Kid…” the spotlight. My blog is not nearly as interesting as his, but living vicariously through him makes me want to make mine better! Great job to the both of you!
Thankyou Bethany for your kind words. I was thinking along the same lines about my blog actually when I was posting this interview …… mmm I need to update my blog I think..!
Thanks! I’m glad you like my blog and the interview! 🙂
Great interview Diane! Thank you for introducing me to Erik’s blog. 🙂 I have two nephews around your age Erik, and am looking forward to reading your reviews.
PS: I’m sure they’d be keen to read “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea,” sounds cool!
Tracy!…. I have been doing some snooping around your blog…. a fellow “Kiwi” no less… Hi ya girl!
Thankyou for your kind words. I also have four nephews in Australia, and am looking forward to one of them coming to stay for a couple of weeks in August so I can practice my stories on him.
Talk soon! and do pop back again.
Hi ya Diane 🙂 Yes! I had a similar response seeing your blog for the first time yesterday… churr, a kiwi! 😀 I hope you have an awesome time practicing your stories on your nephews. I’m looking forward to following your blog.
Catch ya later!
What a fun and informative interview! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Erik and I thought at the time that he was at least 12, so I was surprised to learn he was not quite 10 when I met him. And he’s just as mature and gentlemanly in person as he is on his blog.
Loved the synopsis of your book, Erik, and I wish you the best of luck in getting it published!
Thankyou Joanne for visiting my blog and for the lovely comments. I quite believe he would be a gentleman in person, I instantly sensed that on his blog and in our emails. I to am looking forward to his publishing of his work. He will go far!
Thanks Ms. Fritz! I was happy to meet you at the Chester County Book and Music Company too! That was a great event! I’m glad that you like the idea of my book!
Diane – what a great idea to interview Erik – you beat me to it 🙂 Loved the interview (and the hamburger :)) It was great to learn a little more about you, Erik! And I think your answer to the last question was very wise – because you are right, not all kids will like the same type of book – but the things you’re looking for are the things we should be writing!
Thankyou so much Susanna for your lovely comment. I had wanted to interview Erik since he started the PPBF. His reviews were always spot on and I remembered him on Tara’s blog. I was interested in his last answer to….and agree very wise.
Thanks for the compliments Ms. Hill! It must be hard for authors to write the “perfect” book that everyone loves (or at least likes).
I don’t think there is such a thing as the perfect book that everyone likes 🙂 But that is good, because we all write differently. Somewhere, hopefully, there’s a writer for every reader, and a reader for every writer 🙂
I just wanted to pop by an express my husband’s and my appreciation to the community of wonderful online friends that Erik has made. You all encourage and help him in so many ways and lead him in many new and exciting directions. I also wanted to offer a heart-felt thank you to you Diane for the interview, you really made his week, no – month! 🙂
Awww… thankyou very much Ginny (Erik’s Mom). As I said to Erik, the pleasure has been all mine. He has raised a few eyebrows in our writing community I think, and with such young talent competing in writing challenges as ours, his enthusiasum, his impressive reviews and the manner in which he presents himself, he has certainly won hearts. He is smartly preparing himself for a career in writing of some sort and we are all proud to have him among us.
Thank YOU Ginny, for your kind words.
And thank you, Ginny, for raising such a fine, generous, thoughtful, and sensitive young man. Our community (and the world) is all the better for it. If I do half as good a job with my two little guys, I’ll be sitting pretty. 🙂
You are so sweet for saying that Renee! I have to tell you that he showed me the sad pig thing you just did with your brother – what a hoot! I see there’s a lot of talent in your family!
I just want to echo what the others have said – you are raising one amazing kid! 🙂 You should also know that the support and encouragement is not just in one direction. Erik comments on and supports our blogs, and when I was participating in a contest to win a publishing contract – he was one of my biggest promoters! He’s an active member of our community and we adore him!
Thank you so much Julie! He really liked your book idea from the contest. You sparked an interest in him because he’s still coming up with animal group names I have never heard of! Thank you also for letting him participate in your 12×12 program. He is learning a lot from the experience (like how hard it is to write a picture book LOL! ).
Ginny ~ I just want to echo the sentiments of the others here. Erik is by far one of my biggest fans and cheerleaders. He has really inspired me to write more often and, hopefully, give better reviews. I enjoy discussing books with him and I really admire his courage and drive. He really is an amazing kid. ~ Cindy
Thank you Cindy you are very kind. I know your blog is one of the first he started to follow 🙂 He enjoys reading it.
Thank you again Diane (sorry I’ve taken so much of your comment space 😉 ). I just am really appreciative of all of you!
Looks like I’m late to the party! Awesome interview! Erik, it is so great that you are doing something that you love. Diane, excellent questions! That was a fun read.
No, never late Loni, our Erik is becoming quite famous here and I have only now found some more comments that have squeezed there way in. So glad you loved the interview, pop back anytime, love having you here.
Really nice interview. I am so impressed with Erik’s commitment to blogging. That is a really helpful hamburger and now when I have a buger I can do two things at once…..lunch and “hamburgering” my latest manyscript to make sure I have the correct ingredients. At 10 there are a lot of activities that keep a kid busy…I love that this kid reviews books :•)
Thankyou Penny for your kind comment, I too will be using that hamburger analogy when editing my drafts. Lovely to hear from you.
Wow – this was so wonderful. I have a 10 year old sone who I know is going to be checking out Erik’s blog -right after me of course!
LOL… Thankyou Melissa, yes I think Erik will be getting quite a following. So glad you liked the interview.
super fun interview! And interesting that one of the ingredients Erik speaks of wanting in a book is to like or feel like he could be friends with one of the characters – which is very much what Barbara Marcus said (when I got to interview her) about the success of Harry Potter. Thanks for sharing, and thanks as well for being part of the 2012 Comment Challenge!
Keep on commenting!
Thankyou Lee for your kind comment. What I also noticed was that it didn’t necessarily had to be the main character either. Just someone they could feel and empathize with. Very good point he made I agree. Thankyou and yes I am enjoying the comment challenge.
Oh, I almost missed this. It’s been a long week. I’m so glad you highlighted Erik. I love his blog! (Just like I love yours!). I don’t eat hamburgers, but those are great. It was very nice to share your process. I just always wonder how you find the time to do all the writing at your site, read and do homework. There must be time to play in there too!
Hi Stacy *waves*, so good to see you here again. awww …. you are very sweet and thankyou for your kind words. He’s quite something our Erik! Oh listen to me… I am starting to sound like a mother hen….lol. Thanks for being here, don’t be a stranger… come back anytime.
This is a fantastic interview – thank you for introducing me to Erik – I will go and check out his blog straight away. All because his grandma bought him a book – amazing!
Your very welcome Marjorie. .lol yes it is amazing…lol.
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