HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12My Writing and Reading Life with Laurie Morrison, Author of Up for Air
My-Writing-and-Reading-Life-with-Laurie-Morrison-Author-of-Up-for-Air

My Writing and Reading Life with Laurie Morrison, Author of Up for Air

The Children’s Book Review | August 16, 2019

Laurie Morrison

Laurie Morrison taught middle school for 10 years before writing Every Shiny Thing, her middle-grade debut with co-author Cordelia Jensen. She received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Philadelphia.

I write because …

Writing lets me explore big ideas, feelings, and questions. It’s my favorite way to play, imagine, and solve puzzles. And even when I try to take breaks, I have a hard time staying away.

I read because …

Books inspire and comfort me. They help me better understand myself and others, and they bring me so much joy.

My latest published book is …

Up for Air. It’s the story of thirteen-year-old Annabelle, who struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? At its core, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.

I wrote this book because …

My former seventh grade student asked me to! She read a different manuscript I had written, in which Annabelle was a secondary character, and she loved Annabelle and told me I should write Annabelle’s story next. I agreed! Also, after teaching middle school for ten years, I wanted to write an upper middle grade novel that was geared toward those 6th-8th grade readers who sometimes feel a little old for middle grade novels and a little young for YA. I wanted to delve into some of the issues and social pressures I saw them dealing with but couldn’t find many middle grade novels about.

Best moment …

At my launch party for Up for Air, when my three-year-old daughter spontaneously came up to sit next to me on stage, coloring very seriously as I signed books.

My special place to write is …

Anywhere, as long as I know I’ll have a block of uninterrupted time. These days, I usually have to write in short spurts, so the most special thing for me is when I know I can settle in for a while.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

My laptop, a notebook, and a pen. I tend to draft and revise on the computer, but when I get stuck, I have to switch to writing or brainstorming by hand.

The person who has been my greatest writing teacher or inspiration is …

Cordelia Jensen, my friend, critique partner, and co-author for my debut middle grade novel, Every Shiny Thing. I think Up for Air is a better book because of what Cordelia taught me about imagery and figurative language as we collaborated on Every Shiny Thing and because she gave me valuable feedback on multiple drafts.

Currently reading …

Just South of Home by Karen Strong on my Kindle and a physical ARC of The Inside Battle by Melanie Sumrow. Two very different middle grade novels that are both incredibly compelling so far!

Favorite bookshop …

Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA. I attended lots of lovely events there before my books were published, and it’s been a thrill to get to have my own launch parties there, too.

All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t write…

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead. It sparked meaningful conversations among my former seventh grade students, and it inspired me to commit to writing Up for Air.

Favorite illustrator …

Marla Frazee. I especially adore her illustrations in All the World, which was written by Liz Garton Scanlon. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful book.

A literary character I would like to vacation with ….

I’ll cheat a little bit and name two. I recently read To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer and found it so delightful and hilarious. I’d love to go somewhere with the two main characters, Bett and Avery, and observe their antics firsthand.

When I am not reading or writing I am …

Parenting. I have a three year old and an almost one year old, and I spend most of my time marveling at their growth and creativity and trying to coax them to eat, sleep, and generally cooperate.

Up For AirUp For Air

Written by Laurie Morrison

Publisher’s Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.

Ages 10-14 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | May 7, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1419733666

Buy the Book

applebooks-icon

Discover more books like Up for Air, written by Laurie Morrison, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with , , , and ; plus, be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

No Comments

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.