The Children’s Book Review | May 7, 2016
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe LILY AND DUNKIN?
Donna Gephart: Big-hearted, wholly-unique, heart-breaking, heart-mending, and ultimately . . . hope-filled (Okay, I cheated by using hyphenated words. But I make up stories (aka tell lies) for a living. You probably shouldn’t trust anything I say.)
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from LILY AND DUNKIN, who would it be? Why?
It would definitely be Bubbie Bernice. She’s the coolest, strongest, toughest grandmother I know—real or fictional. She’s like a female Jack LaLanne, the exercise guru of yesteryear. I mean, you know you’re going to have fun with a woman who has tattoos running up each arm that read: “You’re stronger than you think” and “Get out of your own way.” Besides, she’d be able to carry my luggage.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
Reaction from readers have been humbling. Words like “Perfect” and “Masterpiece.” Phrases like, “If you read one book in 2016, make is Lily and Dunkin” and “I just had to hug this book when I was finished reading.” My favorite comment was from a trans man who said he wished this book were available when he was a kid. He said he thinks it will save lives.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
I can’t get lost in other people’s stories when I’m working on a new book, which I am. So instead of fiction, my nightstand is piled high with books of poetry and non-fiction. When I’m done writing my new book, I’ll feast on other people’s fiction again.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Salt. Tea. (But not at the same time.)
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
I always begin with paper and pen, just like I have since I wrote my first story when I was ten years old. When the story solidifies, I move to the computer. Every time.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about LILY AND DUNKIN, your writing style, or yourself?
I have gigantic feet. Seriously. They’d anchor me in a hurricane, which is a real possibility here in South Florida. And I hope they’d help me outrun an alligator or armies of fire ants, all of which are serious threats where I live now and are also a rich part of the tapestry of Lily’s and Dunkin’s daily lives. Oh, and there’s a mystery in the book surrounding pink plastic lawn flamingoes . . . because any serious work of children’s literature has to have pink plastic lawn flamingoes. Right?
Lily and Dunkin
Written by Donna Gephart
Publisher’s Synopsis: Award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.
Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.
Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.
One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.
A JLG Selection!
Ages 10-12 | Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553536744
Add this book to your collection: Lily and Dunkin
About Donna Gephart
Donna Gephart’s award-winning novels are packed with humor and heart. They include Death by Toilet Paper; Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen; How to Survive Middle-School; and As if Being 12-3/4 Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! Donna is a popular speaker at schools, conferences, and book festivals. For reading guides, resources, writing tips, and more, visit donnagephart.com.
This interview with Donna Gephart, author of Lily and Dunkin, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. Follow along with our content tagged with Donna Gephart, Transgender Books, Social Graces and Speed Interview to discover more great books.