After Margaret Peterson Haddix and her husband discussed the possibility of having a third child, their conversation drifted to the topic of overpopulation, and their imaginations to the ‘what if’ scenario of government-enforced population control. As it turned out, the Haddixes never had a third child; but if you’re a fan of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s work, you know that ‘what if’ served as inspiration for the award winning young adult series, The Shadow Children.
District 135 7th grade students were privy to such stories during an author visit at Century Jr. High School this past Wednesday. The visit opened with a presentation chronicling Haddix’s series, including the fourth book from the Missing series, Torn, and information on the upcoming stand-alone book, The Almost War, due next month.
Afterwards, students had the opportunity to ask the author different questions ranging from her start in creative writing to her favorite contemporary authors.
The author also gave advice and shared valuable tips for those interested in a writing career. Rachel Komorowski—a budding writer herself—asked Haddix her cure for writer’s block.
“Just keep writing,” replied Haddix.
Sixteen students, chosen by lottery, had the chance to meet Haddix one-on-one and have their favorite titles personally autographed. A pizza luncheon followed, with a round table discussion on book cover art (Haddix has no say), the possibility of her books featured on the big screen (The Shadow Children came close being optioned as a television series), how she starts a new series (Haddix researches until she becomes fully immersed in the time period or location), and the public’s love/hate relationship with e-readers (Haddix has a Nook, which she uses only when traveling).
Haddix’s books touch on many topics, concerns, and ‘what if’s’ mused by many teenagers, which adds to the appeal of her writing.
Dana Mazzei, a student, is a big fan. “My favorite book is Among the Hidden," she said. "I like how Margaret Peterson Haddix’s writing gives a different perspective on life.”
The author's visit was held in conjunction with the Naperville Anderson's Bookshops, said Lisa Talbert, Media Specialist at Century Jr High and organizer of the event. Haddix also made an appearance at neighboring Orland Jr. High.