word craft


Summer Blog Series: Gennifer Choldenko

From Avi: As I did last sum­mer, I’ve invit­ed 13 admired mid­dle grade authors to write for my blog for the next three months. I hope you’ll tune in each Tues­day to see who has answered these three ques­tions. You should have a list of ter­rif­ic books to read and share and read aloud by the end of the sum­mer … along with new authors to follow!

Your favorite book on writing:

I have lots of faves. My newest favorite is: A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saun­ders. Though, right now the writ­ing book I have in front of me is: The Writer’s Jour­ney: Myth­ic Struc­ture for Writ­ers by Christo­pher Vogler. I tend to use writ­ing books to inspire me to think dif­fer­ent­ly about a prob­lem. I don’t fol­low them like recipe books.

A Swim in the Pond in the Rain
The Writer's Journey
Reading aloud:

I adore audio books. Right now, I’m lis­ten­ing to The Covenant of Water by Abra­ham Vergh­ese. I got it because his pre­vi­ous nov­el, Cut­ting for Stone, is so incred­i­bly unbe­liev­ably good. (Even my hus­band loved it and we almost nev­er enjoy the same books.) I lis­ten to audio books while I’m walk­ing my dog, and since I have a big dog and no yard, I spend a lot of time listening.

Dogtown illustration
Chance and Met­al Head, char­ac­ters in the upcom­ing Dog­town,
writ­ten by Kather­ine Apple­gate and Gen­nifer Chold­enko, illus­trat­ed by Wal­lace West,
pub­lished by Fei­wel & Friends, Macmillan.

Also, I‘ve found the best way to find lit­tle bumps, awk­ward phras­es, and irk­some repet­i­tive words in my works-in-progress is to read my work out loud. So, I read each nov­el I write out loud mul­ti­ple times dur­ing the writ­ing of it. All this to say: the sound of a book is very impor­tant to me. All of my nov­els are writ­ten to be read-alouds, though I am espe­cial­ly excit­ed about Dog­town which I wrote with Kather­ine Apple­gate. We read that one out loud over and over again. We want­ed the words to roll off your tongue when you read them. It will be out Sep­tem­ber 19. If you read Dog­town out loud, please do tell me what you think. 

Where do you write most often?

I have an office but since the Pan­dem­ic, I’ve been writ­ing most­ly in the liv­ing room with the dog. Though some­times … strange as this may sound … I write in my car. That is where I am right now as a mat­ter of fact.

My hands down favorite place to write? The air­port. Writ­ing in the air­port is like a big spoon that stirs up my brain.


In a starred review, Pub­lish­ers Week­ly said about One-Third Nerd, “It is Liam’s qui­et thought­ful­ness and rela­tion­ship with his sis­ters, espe­cial­ly his inter­est in their lives—Izzy’s Down syn­drome social group “the Forty-Sev­ens” and Dakota’s impul­sive experiments—that let him shine just as bright as his two extro­vert­ed sisters.”

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