A Chat with Oliver Vanderbeeker from Karina Yan Glaser’s ‘The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street’
Karina Yan Glaser | The Children’s Book Review | October 3, 2017
The Children’s Book Review: I see you have a bag with you. Will you tell us what you keep inside of it?
Oliver Vanderbeeker: Oh, this isn’t mine. I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a bag around. This is my sister Hyacinth’s knitting bag. She was showing me a scarf she was making for our neighbor, but then her dog Franz started gagging so she had to drag him outside before he made a big mess on the living room carpet.
Are you hungry right now? Can we fix you anything to eat? Maybe we could make you your favorite dish?
Of course I’m hungry, I’m a nine-year-old boy. You can make cookies, right? My favorite is double chocolate pecan, but I’ll take macarons as a second choice. Do you know how to make cheesy bread?
I do have a cheesy bread recipe, but let’s go with macarons. By chance, I just picked some up from the bakery section of the supermarket this morning.
Do you like to read?
Doesn’t everybody? Uncle Arthur just dropped off an epic bag of books. The Jumbies, Greenglass House, The Shadow Cipher, Secret Coders, The Graveyard Book, and The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. That will keep me busy for at least three days.
Do you have a favorite song?
I’m okay with any song that my little sister Laney won’t sing. She has a terrible voice!
Are you a rule follower or rule breaker?
I won’t say at risk of incriminating myself.
When was the last time you felt embarrassed?
My sister Hyacinth made me this ugly knitted belt last week, and I wore it to school to make her happy (but I was able to cover it up with my jacket). I took it off right after I dropped her off at her classroom, but not before Jimmy L saw me wearing it. He laughed so hard he started hiccuping.
If you weren’t answering the questions in this interview right now, what would you be doing?
Probably playing basketball with Angie and Jimmy L. Or reading in my tree house. Or eating cookies. Didn’t you say you were going to make me cookies?
Macarons. I hope store bought chocolate macarons will do the trick. I’ll send a box of them home with you.
Do you have any secrets you would like to share with us before you go?
I live with four sisters who have special sister radars. They don’t let me get away with having any secrets. Do you have any secrets you want to share with me? I won’t tell my sisters, I promise.
Way to spin that around. I won’t say at risk of incriminating myself.
Written by Karina Yan Glaser
Publisher’s Synopsis: A modern classic in the making reminiscent of the Penderwicks series, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is about the connections we make and the unexpected turns life can take.
The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.
Ages 7-10 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544876392
About the Author
Karina Yan Glaser is a former teacher and is currently a contributor to Book Riot. She lives in Harlem, New York City, with her husband, two daughters, and an assortment of rescued animals. One of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can’t go anywhere without a book. This is her debut novel.
This interview with Oliver Vanderbeeker, a character in Karina Yan Glaser’s The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, was conducted between Karina Yan Glaser and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Character Development, Character Interviews, Christmas, Family, and Siblings.