Today’s special guest may be about the nicest person in the kid lit world. Laurie Ann Thompson always has a smile, encouraging word or wry joke to brighten even the darkest of days (and trust me: Seattle can get uber gloomy). She also happens to be a fabulous writer, with a penchant for nonfiction (with the occasional breakouts like her picture book, My Dog is the Best, illustrated by Paul Schmid (Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers). Today we celebrate her latest collaboration with Ammi-Joan Paquette, Two Truths and a Lie: Forces of Nature (Walden Pond Press), the third and (sadly) final book in the completely engaging Two Truths and a Lie series.
What a pleasure to return once again to this wonderful series of blog posts! I love reading them and getting insights into the authors and their books, so it’s quite an honor to be a contributor.
My most recent book, TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: FORCES OF NATURE (Walden Pond Press), wraps up the hybrid nonfiction/fiction middle-grade series that I co-authored with Ammi-Joan Paquette. We had so much fun writing all three of these books, and there are so many more strange-but-true stories out there… it is difficult for us to let the series go! Plus, the concepts of information literacy, research, critical thinking, skepticism, evidence, and “truthiness” and alternative facts are clearly just as important today as they were when the series was introduced back in 2017. Now that the final book is out in the world, however, it feels like a good time to reflect on the journey.
Looking back, I’m exceedingly grateful to have had the opportunity to work on these books. First, the subject matter itself never failed to interest and amaze me, whether I was researching the true stories or creating plausible fake ones. Second, I learned a great deal and experienced many firsts in my career as an author. This was my first series (which was both scary and reassuring at the same time!). This was the first time I had written for middle-grade readers (and I found out I LOVE writing middle-grade—and talking to middle-grade students!). It was the first time I had written something with a co-author (and it was a truly fantastic experience!). And it was the first time I had ever done photo research (and I discovered I really enjoy it!). These books have been excellent teachers—not just for our readers, but for the authors too!—and I have appreciated every new nugget of knowledge and tidbit of experience that I have collected along the way.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to the series, though, there’s also a bright side. I finally have time to work on a bunch of older works-in-progress that need my attention in order to get them across the finish line. I’ve been dipping my toes into some exciting new projects to see which ones, if any, might stick. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve been taking some time to check in with where I am in my life and career and what I most want to accomplish with them. Who knows where any of this might lead? If I told you I do, it would surely be a lie.
Laurie Ann Thompson has fallen out of a moving car on her birthday, chased a ball of liquid mercury around her living room, and lived in an apartment that was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. (One of these isn’t completely true!) She is the co-author of the TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE series and author of other award-winning books including EMMANUEL’S DREAM: THE TRUE STORY OF EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH, a picture book biography that was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and named an ALA Notable Book and CCBC Choice; BE A CHANGEMAKER, an inspiring how-to guide for teens; and MY DOG IS THE BEST, a fiction picture book for dog lovers of all ages. A former software engineer, she lives outside Seattle with her family, and you can visit her online at lauriethompson.com or on Twiter at @lauriethompson.