JENNIFER L. HOLM is a New York Times bestselling author and three-time Newbery Honor recipient. She is a cocreator of the Babymouse series (an Eisner Award winner) and the Squish series, which she collaborates on with her brother Matthew Holm.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ellie’s grandpa Melvin is a world-renowned scientist . . . in the body of a fourteen-year-old boy. His feet stink, and he eats everything in the refrigerator—and Ellie is so happy to have him around. Grandpa may not exactly fit in at middle school, but he certainly keeps things interesting. When he and Ellie team up for the county science fair, no one realizes just how groundbreaking their experiment will be. The formula for eternal youth may be within their reach! And when Ellie’s cat, Jonas Salk, gets sick, the stakes become even higher. But is the key to eternal life really the key to happiness? Sometimes even the most careful experiments yield unexpected—and wonderful—results.
With humor, heart, thought-provoking themes, and lovable characters, THE THIRD MUSHROOM is sure to be a hit with young readers, parents, and educators alike, and will appeal not only to existing Holm fans but also to new readers who love funny and memorable stories.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER L. HOLM
We have heard that a scorpion in a shoe turned into an award-winning book, so where does your inspiration come from?
I love little nuggets of history. How people lived and what their everyday lives were like. I could spend hours going through old Sears catalogs.
Are your story ideas based on your family’s history and adventures or do you just have a very creative imagination?
Some are certainly inspired by family history. But mostly, I try and imagine what it would have been like to have lived during that time period.
Do you prefer researching historical detail in order to then write novels like your Newbery award winners Our Only May Amelia, Penny from Heaven, and Turtle in Paradise, or do you prefer creating graphic novels packed with humor like your Babymouse series?
I love the collaborative aspect of graphic novels. Writing in general is a fairly lonely profession so it’s wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off on. That said, there will always be a soft place in my heart for historical fiction – it’s where I got my start. In a way, I have combined both of those parts of my career--comics and historical fiction--with the Sunny Side Up books. Although, it’s slightly terrifying that the 1970s is officially “historical fiction” territory now.
How do you approach writing a novel differently from writing a graphic novel?
Writing a graphic novel is more like writing a movie script. I break out the Narration, Action, and Dialogue using a storyboard. I don’t get overly descriptive because it’s important to give the artist room to breathe and create.
Is your focus on graphic novels based on your belief that comics help to inspire kids to read?
Absolutely! I was a huge comics reader when I was a kid and I credit them with turning me into a reader and writer.
What is it like collaborating with your baby brother, the artist in the family?
Since I’m the older sister, I always get my way. JBut, seriously, Matt is very easy-going and I am, too. We both know that’s the key to collaborating.
What is your advice to kids who want to become a writer?
My father was a pediatrician and he always said that kids should be encouraged to read whatever they want—from Moby Dick to the back of the cereal box. It’s all good exercise for your brain.
Who are some of your favorite writers and why?
Lloyd Alexander, the author of the Chronicles of Prydain. He actually called me on the phone when I was a kid!
What is your favorite quote and why?