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Five Questions With Megan McDonald (Judy Moody)

By Alina O'Donnell
 | Jul 11, 2018
Megan Mcdonald

Megan McDonald has written and published over 60 books for children in 22 languages, including the popular and award-winning Judy Moody and Stink series. She is also the author of three Sisters Club stories, Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween, and many other books for children. She lives in Sebastopol, California.

Your wildly popular Judy Moody series is nearly 20 years old and has been translated into 22 languages. How does this series transcend generational, geographic, and cultural boundaries? 

“By being human. Having heart. And holding on to a sense of humor. In this way, Judy Moody stands for childhood, any childhood, anywhere around the globe."

Where do you find inspiration for your stories and characters?

“Inspiration strikes in the most fun and funny ways. It can come from a mood ring I wore as a child in the 1960s, a memory, a funny family story, a visit to the aquarium, or an article I read in the paper about a guinea pig rescue or the planet Pluto being demoted. My niece amazed me by winning a stuffed animal at the claw machine three times in a row, and that became the inspiration for Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm. Ideas are everywhere, like surround sound; as a writer, I just have to be good listener."

What do you hope young readers will gain from your books?

"My hope is that readers see themselves in Judy Moody, with her strong sense of fun and fairness, as well as her flaws and failures. In connecting with Judy and all of her moods, I hope readers discover their own authentic selves. And laugh along the way."

Before you started writing full-time, you worked as a children’s librarian. During this time, what did you learn about engaging young readers and inspiring lifelong reading habits?

"Story connects us. The book that makes a reader is very individual. As a reader, I’ll never forget what Harriet the Spy, Ramona, Charlotte’s Web and Little Women meant to me. As a librarian, it was my honor to connect a child with that book, that singular reading experience, that would last a lifetime."

The theme of ILA 2018 is “Be a Changemaker.” What does this mean to you?

"Change requires hard work, empathy, and inspiration. To be a changemaker, for me, means to care deeply about something, to take action against unfairness, and be open to new ways of thinking. As a writer, I’m continually trying to find my own voice.

Find your voice.

As Judy Moody would say, “Save the World!”

Megan McDonald will attend the Author Meetups at Children's Literature Day during the ILA 2018 Conference, July 20–23 in Austin, TX. For more information, visit ilaconference.org.

Alina O'Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of Literacy Daily.

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