Tag Archives: Gary D. Schmidt

Tales Q&A with Gary D. Schmidt


Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt was one of my favourite books that I read last year.  In fact it featured on my Best Books Read in 2016 list here

Published by Andersen Press Orbiting Jupiter completely took me by surprise and simply mived me to tears.

It may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.

You can find my full review here

I was over the moon to find out that Orbiting Jupiter has been picked for the Zoella and Friends 2017 book club (#ZoellaBookClub) by the lovely Jennifer Niven!

You can find out why Jennifer picked Orbiting Jupiter for the Book Club here

As you can tell Jennifer and I are huge fans of this book!

I am so honoured today to have the brilliant Gary D. Schmidt on Tales with a brilliant Q&A about Orbiting Jupiter and more….


A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

You can buy the #ZoellaBookClub edition of this book here or from your local WH Smiths

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here


Hi Gary!  Thank you so much for taking the time to be here today to chat about Orbiting Jupiter!

How would you describe Orbiting Jupiter to someone who hasn’t read it?

 Orbiting Jupiter is the story of two boys, close to each other in terms of age, but infinitely far apart in terms of experience.  Jack’s journey is to understand a kid who has been in prison, who has a daughter, and who has lost the only one he ever loved; Joseph’s journey is to allow Jack to take that journey.

The character of Joseph is so life-like and multi-layered, how did you develop him, was he based on someone you had met?

Though this is not their story, both Joseph and Jack are based on real boys I’ve met in juvenile detention homes.  I wanted Joseph to be complex, though he hardly ever speaks in this novel.  He’s the kid we judge too quickly, the kid we blame, the kid we don’t think is ever going to amount to anything but trouble, and who we dismiss without even giving him a chance to be his best and largest self.  Those are the very kids to whom we need to give more attention–more grace.

The setting feels so much part of the novel, winter on the farm with the dairy cows, what was it that felt like the home for your book?

The setting is based on a real farm in East Sumner, Maine, where I have brought my own students and where the owners take in foster children.  It’s an organic dairy farm, and sits in a bowl within the northern Appalachians; it embodies so much of what I love in New England:  resourcefulness, independence, an embrace of winter’s beauties and challenges.  It does sort of feel like home a bit.

There is a real sense of brotherhood and family in the book – was that based on anything you’d experienced or seen yourself?

I’m glad that sense of brotherhood and family comes through in the book.  The two models for Jack and Joseph had been in the facility in which I met them for a year, and neither had seen any family member.  Years ago, I also knew a couple that took in foster kids–which I thought was wonderfully noble–until I learned that they mostly did this for the income the state provided. That was thirty-five years ago, but I have never forgotten my distaste for someone who would see these kids as a source of cash–and back then, I imagined the opposite:  a noble and altruistic family who would use any income toward a college fund–which of course wouldn’t pay for all of college, but would send a profound message of hope and confidence toward these kids.  

Orbiting Jupiter packs such an emotional punch, especially the ending – without spoilers, was that always intentional? 

Well, avoiding spoilers:  The ending was intentional.  I don’t particularly like Hallmark card endings, where everything comes out fine, as neatly tied up as a twenty-one minute sit-com.  Those books have their place, of course, but they’re not the books I want to write.  It seems to me that we need to offer honesty to young readers, and it is honest to say that sometimes, things don’t always work out all right.  Sometimes it’s okay to ask, “Where the hell are the angels?”  If we don’t say that, then what happens to a young reader when things really don’t turn out well in life?  If we send the message that that’s unusual, we are messaging a lie.

How do you write – do you plan the whole thing meticulously, or is it more free-flowing?

I wish I could say that I plan things out meticulously before I write.  Maybe when I grow up, I’ll be that writer.  You cannot believe how many times I’ve been in a school auditorium, and a student asks, “Do you use an outline?” and every teacher in the auditorium is looking at me with eyes that are saying, “Tell them you do!  Tell them you do!”  But in truth, I don’t.  Part of writing is discovery, and that means not pre-planning everything to the point that there is nothing left to discover.  When I finish a page, I really do not know what is going to happen next, and that feels right to me:  it puts me in the same place as the reader, who also doesn’t know what happens on the next page.  It helps to be in that same posture.

What books would you recommend to someone who enjoyed this book?

If you enjoyed Orbiting Jupiter, you might also like Gary Paulsen’s The Tent, about a father and son who go on the revival circuit–no kidding. 

Others might be Anne Fine’s Flour Babies, Katherine Paterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins or her Jacob Have I Loved. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some ways, Jack is modelled a bit upon Simon in The Nargun and the Stars–one of my very favourite books in the world.  

If you’re in high school, I’d also recommend Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, though this is a harrowing read, not at all for the faint of heart.

Which authors or writers inspire you?

What author’s inspire me?  I always begin with Henry David Thoreau, though he is much out of favor these days–but that voice!  By contrast, Giovanni Guareschi’s wit and spare storytelling amazes me; I just the other day bought a first edition of his The Little World of Don Camillo, since the copy I have on my desk is falling apart.  For language skills, Robert Frost, followed closely by the poet Jane Kenyon, though they are very, very different.  For character, Avi; for plot, Dickens every time; for setting, Jill Paton Walsh; for tonality, Susan Cooper–no one can touch her; for sheer brilliance, M. T. Anderson.

For young people going through something similar to Joseph, or Jack, what advise would you give them?

For those going through what Joseph is going through, advice seems very cheap and easy.  It’s hard to believe anyone understands who is not right there.  So here’s the advice, set in a Hasidic story:  There is a rabbi who lives, who knows where.  He has one job to do each day:  He must rise, and then pray this prayer:  “Lord, let the world go on for one more day.”  He must do this every day.  If, for whatever reason, the rabbi fails to perform this prayer, then the world will cease to exist–it’s that important.  So, here’s the advice:  Today, let the world go on for one more day.  Tomorrow, let the world go on for one more day.  And the next day, and the next, and the next–let the world go on for one more day.

What’s next for you, are you writing more?

I’ve been doing some short stories, since it’s a form I would like to learn to do better.  But the next novel will be done soon.  It’s about a butler who comes to a suburban American family to teach them about cricket–and about much more.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Gary.  It’s honour to have you on Tales.

You can buy the #ZoellaBookClub edition of this book here or from your local WH Smiths

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here


About Gary D. Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


A huge thank you to Gary for a fab Q&A and to the wonderful Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to feature this brilliant Q&A.

Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this Q&A convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


Early in 2016 I was contacted by Harriet from Andersen about a book.  Her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.  That book was this book.  It completely took me by surprise and moved me to tears and it ended up featuring on my fave books of 2016 list.

Orbiting Jupiter was released in hardback on 31st December 2015 and now, on the 2nd March 2017, it’s being released in a gorgeous paperback so I wanted to shine the spotlight on it today!

I also have a little treat in store in celebration!


A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here

Here’s a tiny summary of my thoughts….

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.


About Gary D. Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Andersen Press and in celebration of the paperback release of this gorgeous book I have a signed copy of Orbiting Jupiter to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter for a chance to win through my twitter account here

Ends 13/03/2017

UK Only


A huge thank you to Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to feature this amazing giveaway and for being so hugely amazing!

Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this spotlight and my review convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading!

Review – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


41NA6GzOyGL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.


Publisher – Andersen Press

Date Published – 31 December 2015

Pages – 192 pages

Format – Hardback

Category – Contemporary YA

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book to review by the wonderful Harriet at Andersen Press!   This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you for sending this to me to read!


** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**


“Sometimes it’s like that. You know something good is coming, and even though it’s not even close yet, still, just knowing it’s coming is enough”

When Harriet at Andersen Press contacted me about this book her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which will stay with me for quite some time.

Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.

The story is told from the point of view of 12 year old Jack whose parents foster a 14 year old child called Joseph and he comes to live with them on their farm.  Joseph has had a heartbreakingly difficult childhood and circumstances prior to being fostered led him to spend some time in a juvenile prison which only caused him further damage.  Jack tells the story of getting to know this new member of the family and to understand Joseph’s past and situation.  Joseph finally has a family filled with love, a routine and responsibility, but the one thing Joseph wants more than anything is to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, who he has never met.  Even if that means confronting demons from his past.

The ending in the book broke me completely.

Joseph simply wants to be loved and beneath the surface he has so much love to give.  After an abusive and seemingly loveless upbringing he wants to feel part of something.  To have hope and love unconditionally.  This is something he feels deep inside for his own daughter although they have never met.

 “I can’t see Jupiter,” Joseph said. “The moon’s too bright. And I don’t know where she is.”

The complex situation with Joseph, his childhood, his daughters young mother and their parents is explained also so that the reader sees all sides of the coin and an all rounded view  but in a way that is easily understood and full of truth and emotion.

As well as the story leading us to gradually learn about Joseph’s back story it is also a story about Jack and his family getting to know Joseph and to show him unconditional love.  I loved Jack as a character.  Whilst all of the small town that they live in, the teachers at school and the bullies and class mates seem to pre judge and label Joseph without trying to get to know him, Jack makes the effort to get to know Joseph and to understand him and “have his back” at all times to protect him.  The relationship that builds between them touched me to the core.

One of my favourite scenes is the daily walk to school where the two of them always stop to throw stones at the church bell tower.  Such a simple scene but as the story goes on it is almost like a comfort to both boys and something that helps them bond.  I also loved the way Joseph bonds with one of the cows on the family farm and it gives him something to focus on.

“You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him”

I think that’s the thing with this book it is so completely simplistically beautiful and grabs your heart from the get go and never lets go.

I’ve not read anything by Gary Schmidt prior to reading this book.  Schmidt’s writing in Orbiting Jupiter, whilst it took me a little while to get used to the style, every sentence seems to be packed with emotion and perfectly crafted to give the reader the sense of the feelings and emotions of the characters, but from the point of view of 12 year old Jack.  The writing explores how he is feeling and what he is experiencing, but also Jack tells us exactly how Joseph is feeling in such a caring nurturing way full of curiosity and weariness at first and then love, care and concern as the story unfolds.

Selfishly I would have liked the story to have been longer and slightly more in depth and the complexities and story and characters explored more, but that’s why I say selfishly.  I think I just craved more and wanted to hold onto these characters for longer than the time I had.

Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.

 “Maybe angels aren’t always meant to stop bad things.”
“So what good are they?”
“To be with us when bad things happen.”

I award this book 4 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!

2

You can buy a copy of Orbiting Jupiter here

41NA6GzOyGL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_


About Gary D.Schmidt

96375

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this review convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

 Happy Reading!

sig2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...