Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Author: Chris Crutcher

I always enjoy hearing authors talk about their work but sometimes it is a life changing experience. Jack Gantos is a must hear if you ever have the chance and Chris Crutcher is another. I saw Crutcher speak at the Texas Library Association meeting this spring. I was moved beyond words by his talk.

This article describes the inspiration for Crutcher's latest book, The Sledding Hill. It sounds just like him.

While en route to an author appearance at Anderson's two years ago, Crutcher received a phone call from Becky Anderson Wilkins, who told him he would, at some point in his visit, be meeting with a group of students who had just experienced a "crushing loss."

Those students were the friends of the late Zach Clifton, a Naperville Central High School senior who was killed in a car accident Feb. 14, 2003, near Edward Hospital. Clifton was co-captain of Central's speech team, and one of his speeches drew on a portion of Crutcher's book "Whale Talk."

About an hour before Crutcher was scheduled to read funny stories from his new book for people interested in buying it, he and the students and teachers who were Clifton's friends met in the basement at Anderson's.

Anderson Wilkins called that meeting "one of the most wonderful and moving experiences" of her book-selling career, and Crutcher described it as one of the most memorable appearances he'd ever made.

Having spent most of my time a school librarian in an elementary setting, I had only read Crutcher's short stories. After TLA, I ran out to get Whale Talk. (Any book that is getting that much attention from the "know-nothings" is a book I want to read.) The book is the most powerful and uplifting piece of YA writing I have ever read.

Website: Chris Crutcher

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