Shana Burg is the award-winning author of two novels for young readers. A Thousand Never Evers (Random House, 2008) was named one of the Top 10 Middle Readers by Amazon in 2008 and was the National Parenting Publications Award Gold Winner. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said A Thousand Never Evers is “Gripping…delivers an emotional wallop.”
Laugh with the Moon (Random House, 2012) is on the Texas Bluebonnet list for grades 3-6 and was named a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People by the National Council for Social Studies. This novel received a starred review from School Library Journal. Read more about her work through her website, Facebook, or Twitter.
Have you been told you look like someone famous?
I sometimes get told that I look like Molly Ringwald. I love her movies–Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink. And now she’s an author in her own right, so I think it’s cool when anyone tells me that I look like her.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be?
Definitely cleaning the house. Can that count as one thing? Or is it a million things? Anyway, I hate cleaning, but unfortunately, I think so much better when I’m in an organized space. It’s a dilemma. You’d think I’d solve this by becoming a neat freak and becoming a poster woman for The Container Store, but nope. Instead, when I need to do serious work, I just go out of the house.
What is the most vivid or realistic dream you’ve ever had?
I once dreamed that I was flying over the Mediterranean Sea. Not in an airplane, but just flying like a bird. There were these incredibly huge and colorful sea creatures–octopus, jellyfish, squid–swimming just beneath the surface and I could see them perfectly. It was so cool! Snorkeling has shown me that there’s a whole other world under the surface of the ocean. One day, I’d like to get certified to scuba dive.
What is your favorite accomplishment?
Laugh with the Moon is set in one of the poorest countries on earth — Malawi, Africa. The story shows that despite the poverty, children in Malawi have lots to teach students here.
I have partnered with BookPeople (the amazing independent bookseller in Austin, TX), Austin public schools, Random House, and World Altering Medicine to start a program called Words Across the World. Now thousands of students where I live in Texas are writing to pen-pals in Malawi. Students on both continents are reading my book, and children here are also raising funds to buy desperately-needed medicine for their peers halfway around the world. It’s thrilling to see how a story can inspire such cross-cultural learning. Here is the link to a recent PW article about the program.
What kind of jobs did you have before your career took off?
I’ve taught sixth grade and worked for many different nonprofit organizations. One of these nonprofits teaches young people about the dangers of prejudice, another encourages youth to advocate for children’s rights, and another encourages service learning. So really, the topics I choose to write about and the places where I’ve worked share a common theme: Kids have the power to change the world!