Erin Entrada Kelly, the author of the Newbery Award winning book, Hello Universe, spoke at the Central Library a few months ago as part of our Summer Author Series. Audience members wrote questions for Kelly on index cards. The most memorable card wasn't a question for the author, but rather a simple statement of how much the novel meant to the young girl.
A girl quietly slipped me this note in my signing line at @LAPublicLibrary. It’s amazing how much you can say with one pencil, an index card, and a single sentence. I will cherish it always. Representation matters, people. xoxo pic.twitter.com/bM0K0AoxS8— Erin Entrada Kelly (@erinkellytweets) August 5, 2018
The sentiment expressed by the young girl clearly struck a nerve. Because of the positive response, we decided to catch up with Erin Entrada Kelly and ask a few questions about representation in literature and her lifelong love of libraries.
The photo of the notecard received over 1,000 retweets and clearly struck a nerve with people. Were you surprised by the attention this post received? Is this a common sentiment expressed to you by readers?
The love and support of the notecard illustrates the need for stories by and about marginalized groups. I wasn't surprised by the attention, because I know how badly these stories are needed. Thankfully, the tide is changing and more of these stories are available and will continue to be.
What books spoke to you as a child?
What are the lessons you hope children take away from your books?
I want readers to know they aren't alone. I want to encourage them to embrace their unique selves. And I want them to know that they don't have to be perfect—they just have to be the best version of themselves.
What is the importance of an author visit?
When I visit schools and libraries, my goal is to inspire at least one person.
Do you have any fond memories of libraries growing up?
Absolutely. I loved everything about the library. The rows of books, smell of the paper, crinkle of the wraps. My elementary school had a library, which I frequented often. I am still an incredibly active library patron. I visit my local library at least once a week—sometimes more—and always have a slew of books on hold. When I walk through the doors of a library, I immediately feel at peace.