'' I am trying to write for the moment, but for the heart,'' says the two-time Newbery medalist and author of ''Because of Winn-Dixie.'' Her latest book, ''Ferris,'' follows a girl and her family during the supernatural summer before she starts fifth grade.

.-  What books are on your night stand at the moment?

On the literal night stand, the pile includes Alice McDermott's '' The Ninth Hour '' [ I loved  '' Absolution '' so much that I went searching for every McDermott I had missed]; '' The Best American Short Stories 2023 '' ; and Niall Williams's '' This Is Happiness.''

At the top of the pile that is by my armchair [ and where I give myself permission to read in the afternoon, after the writing is done ] ; '' The Water Dancer '' by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham's graphic novel ''Lunar New Year Love Story ''; and '' Seven Brief Lessons on Physics '' by Carlo Rovelli.

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

For me a great book is a book that I want to make someone else read immediately. And, too, a great book is one that makes me want to tell a story back.

The last story that made me feel that way was in the 2023. '' Best American Short Stories.'' It's by Da-Lin. A story entitled '' Treasure Island Alley.'' Will you read it? Huh? Huh? Will you?

.-  How has your style or approach changed over time, given that young readers live in a very different media landscape than when you began writing?

I still write the same way - which is trying to get out of my way and listening for the voice of the story.  And that means, I guess, that I am trying to write not for the moment, but for the heart.

.-  What's the last book that made you laugh?

'' A Bear Called Paddington '' by Michael Bond.

.-  That made you cry?

'' Sandwich '' by Catherine Newman. It will be published in June and I have to say it made me laugh out loud, too.

.-  '' Every good story is a love story,'' Ferris's grandmother announces in your new book. Agree or disagree?

Ha. A trick question. I think that every good story helps us to imagine our way into someone else's heart. That's love, isn't it?

The World Students Society thanks The New York Times.


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