This event started with a great and warm welcoming from the host! Right away I felt calm and then excited. Thank you BookPeople. I enjoyed the experience that your bookstore provided with Lauren Tarshis and Alan Gratz.
First off, I have to say that the reason why I joined this event was because my oldest daughter is in love with the I Survived books. When I came across this event, I couldn’t pass it up because I was interested to get to hear from the author. I was so pleasantly surprised by how inspirational Lauren Tarshis is and how great of a role model she is also. She talked with so much love and inspiration. As an aspiring author myself, I loved to hear that I Survived The Galveston Hurricane, 1900 is the 21st book she has wrote in the main series, that she also writes graphic novels, and oversees a magazine. Not only all of that, but she also has four kids and is able to travel and does so much research for her books to give her readers truth in the experience. It also made me happy to learn that she listens to her readers, if she hears from them that she should write something, then she goes and writes it, which was how I Survived The Galveston Hurricane, 1900 was written.
I learned so much about the Galveston hurricane from this conversation. I had not known about it at all and that there was a city in Texas right on the water that was on track to being the 3rd largest city in Texas until it was hit and ruined. It was so interesting to know that the hurricane was one of the deadliest natural disasters for America in history and that it isn’t that well known outside of Texas. It is crazy to think how something like what had happened changed the history of Texas. That even after Galveston was hit, it didn’t fully recover and Houston took its place for growing the faster and largest. It is terrifying to think about how back before technology not many knew about natural disasters and that it was harder to know hurricanes or anything were coming to be able to warn people. Even after it had happened, it is even crazier to think on how they couldn’t let the world know that it had happened because there was no good way to communicate the way we do now. Lauren Tarshis talked about so many facts flawlessly. She definitely does her research. It is amazing to me how historical fiction writers can put history in a great personal format. One of her examples to focus further on times back in the 1900s and how many reacted in certain areas, she brought up that Galveston had always flooded, so when it started doing it again, to the kids it was cool and exciting and an adventure, until it went too far. That focus helps put the reader further into the minds of the characters and how they use to live and how their thoughts were shaped about the oncoming disaster.
I found through this conversation how important historical fiction is for children because it helps them grow to be empathetic by giving statistics a face. These authors are really doing the world a favor by bringing history to life for children outside of textbooks and helping them see how much things can change after an event and showing how things can get better. It also helps children learn in a way not to repeat history and helps the tragedies that the world and many have felt never be forgotten and the impact the events had in the change of history always be recognized.
Now for the conversation! It was so brilliant of BookPeople to bring two historical fiction writers together. The conversation between Lauren Tarshis and Alan Gratz was so wholesome. They talked and laughed about their struggles and their enjoyment they find in their research and writing processes. One of the things I could relate to was having a character or thing they really wanted to plug into their plot, but trying to find room or space for that character or thing without it feeling forced. It was interesting how much harder it is for them as historical fiction writers to do this because they have to make sure they match up two timelines. They also discussed how hard it becomes to make sure their characters are not flat when they have so many characters to flesh out over all their books. My favorite part of the conversation was Alan Gratz’s gushing over the way Lauren Tarshis uses sound effects because he does the same thing and they even had favorites that the other used in each of their books and asked each other to borrow them for future books. It was so cute and such a heartwarming exchange between the two authors. You could feel the respect and understanding they each had for each other. I am happy they have each other to really talk to and dive in deep about writing historical fiction.
I highly enjoyed listening into this launch event! I have the book coming for my daughter, so I am excited for her to get to read it. I am also excited to have another author to suggest to her that she may like. I loved really getting to see how inspirational these authors are and I loved the feeling of happiness I got knowing that my daughter is reading books from an author who is kind and cares about her fans. This was such a great and insightful event and I couldn’t be thankful enough for finding it. Thank you again BookPeople for putting it on for us, especially on Zoom so many more could attend.
Please support authors and independent bookstores.