Welcome to PROJECT: BOOKSHELF, a continuing series in which Mackenzi Lee tries to read every book on her bookshelf in the course of a summer while friends, writers, and readers drop in to tell us about their respective shelves. This week, Anna Staniszewski, queen of the quirky middle grade novel, joins us to celebrate the release of her new book, The Prank List, which is out now. Anna’s is a home with more bookshelves than people, one of which is a shrine to what I think is the greatest movie franchise of all time. Which movie? Read on to find out…
But first, let’s take a look at my reading wrap-up.
This week, from my collection of unread books on my shelf, I read…
Lincoln’s Graverobbers by Steve Sheinkin
- Genre: YA nonfiction
- Where I got it: Won in a book design contest in one of my classes
- What I thought: So if you know me at all, you know I am a sucker for stories from history that nobody ever tells. This is one of those stories. So cool, so interesting, and really well written and well presented. Fantastic read.
That’s it. Light reading week for me. So let’s not waste anymore time–here are Anna and her bookshelves!
I’m generally a pretty organized person, but you would never know it by looking at my bookshelves. There is a bit of a method to the madness, though. This, for example, is my “teaching bookshelf.”
These are many of the books I use when teaching courses on writing and children’s literature (with a few titles from grad school thrown into the mix). The top shelf is my particular favorite because it’s full of books on the craft of writing. These are the books I come back to over and over if I find myself stuck with a project or in need of inspiration.
And here we have what I think of as the “owl shelf” (for obvious reasons).
It’s currently weighed down with many of the books I’ve picked up at conferences and other recent events. I’m hoping to make some serious progress with these books over the summer, much like Mackenzi’s bookshelf challenge!
Here is what I consider my “overflow shelf” since it’s the newest addition to our shelf family.
One section is dedicated entirely to picture books. (It bothers me that picture books are a totally different size from other books, so I like to put them on their own.) And below that is my “Polish shelf” which includes some of the books I grew up with. This one by Jerzy Ficowski (the title translates to A Branch from the Sun Tree) is a collection of Polish Gypsy folk tales that I was obsessed with when I was young.
You might have noticed some photos displayed in the middle of the bookcase. Those are collages that my husband and I made for our wedding a few years ago, so we could showcase some cute and embarrassing pictures of ourselves from when we were young. And in between them is one of my prized possessions: the award I received from the PEN New England Discovery Award committee back in 2009–the illustration was done by Lois Lowry!
Now we move on to what I’ve dubbed the “public bookshelf.” This one stands in our living room so we actually have to keep it in some kind of order.
It’s full of some of our prettiest books, and it also serves as a temporary dumping ground for library books, recently purchased books, etc. It’s also where I like to keep a stack of my own novels so that I can look at them sometimes and grin like a fool.
Finally, we have the messiest (but arguably the coolest) shelves in the whole house. These are full of books from years and years ago that my husband and I don’t read very much anymore, but on top of those shelves is pure gold.
Yes, that is a Lego Star Destroyer. It was a wedding present to ourselves, and my husband and I spent hours working on it. Above it is another prized possession–a Polish movie poster for The Empire Strikes Back that we received as a wedding gift.
And what Star Wars room would be complete without a Star Wars pop-up book? (And a Transformers one, for added fun.)
So to sum up: I’m messy with a purpose, I like to keep embarrassing photos of myself kicking around, and I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. Clearly, bookshelves reveal all!
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. Currently, she lives outside Boston with her husband and their crazy dog. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time reading, daydreaming, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the Dirt Diary series. Her newest book, The Prank List, releases on July 1st from Sourcebooks. You can visit Anna at www.annastan.com.
Happy book release to Anna and The Prank List and thanks for checking out Project: Bookshelf!
Join us next Friday for more Project: Bookshelf. Can’t wait that long? Visit the Project: Bookshelf archive.