The young adult author, whose latest book is ''Ain't Burned All the Bright'' [with art by Jason Griffin], keeps the entire Captain Underpants series on hand : ''You'd only be surprised if you don't know me.''

.- What books are on your night stand?

Right now, it's an advance reading copy Ocean Vuong's latest collection, ''Time is a Mother,'' which is remarkable. Also, Jamaica Kincaid's ''Talk Stories,'' John Irving's "' A Prayer for Owen Meany,'' which I'm rereading, and an advance copy of NoViolet Bulawayo's ''Glory,'' which is genius.

Honestly, I keep books on my night stand for the morning. I like to wake up, read a few pages of something to spark my creativity and the work I might do that day. At night, I look at art books that I keep in the nest cubby beneath my night stand.

.- What's the last great book you read?

You know, if I'm being honest, the last book that I really loved [ which makes it great to me ] was probably ''Igge's House,'' by Judy Blume. I'd read it long ago, but I recently reread it and suddenly it feels even more ..... alive.

It's not one of her most popular books, but when I think about the fact that it was published in 1970 and addresses white flight, I'm enamored by Jude Blume's courage and decision-making in the work.

.- What's your favorite book no one else has heard of ?

I'm not sure it's completely unheard of, but '' Exercises in Style,'' by Raymond Queneau. I reference it all the time whenever I want to shake up my style or laugh at all the ways one might say the same thing.

.- What book should everybody read before the age of 21?


.- What book should nobody read until the age of 40?

Also, ''Beloved.'' The answers are connected because I think ''Beloved'' is a story that should be read, or at least attempted, multiple times. It's a novel one has to grow into.

.- Which young adult books would you recommend to people who don't usually read Y.A.?

''Monster,'' by Walter Dean Myers, ''Shout,'' by Laurie Halse Anderson, ''Maus,'' by Art Spiegelman, ''Fun Home,'' by Alsison Bechdel, ''Brown Girl Dreaming,'' by Jacqueline Woodson, ''Nothing,'' by Janne Teller, ''Platero y Yo,'' by Juan Ramon Jimnez and ''Monday's Not Coming,'' by Tiffany D. Jackson. There's many, many more, but this is a start.

.- What moves you most in literature?

Character and language. I want writers to create protagonist I want to eat with. And I want them to use language I want  ... eat.

.- What's the best book you've ever received as a gift?

When my father passed away, I was given his devotional book, ''Grace for the Moment,'' by Max Lucado. It's not a book I would have ever bought, and reading daily devotionals isn't really my thing, but to have this item with hundreds of tabs in it because he'd reread it every year is incredibly special.

Sometimes I try to pick a page that he's marked all up just to see why he kept coming back to it.  It makes me feel there's something he's trying to teach me. Still.

.- What do you plan to read next?

I think I'm gonna check out the Magritte biography by Alex Danchev.


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