For the month of November, we have invited Polly Shulman, author of “The Grimm Legacy,” to join us for a discussion of her Truman Award-nominated title. In this book, Elizabeth feels like she doesn’t fit in with her stepfamily or classmates, but she loves her new after-school job in a private library that houses magical items from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Someone’s been stealing from the Grimm Collection, though, and Elizabeth and her fellow pages are determined to catch the thief.
At the helm of this interview series are twin brothers Hayden and Garett Ballard who also happen to be frequent and enthusiastic patrons of the Callaway County Public Library in Fulton. Today their questions focus on the experiences and stories that influenced Ms. Schulman to write “The Grimm Legacy.”
Hayden: How were you inspired to write this book?
Polly: When I was a kid, I was a passionate bookworm. I would read while walking down the street and bump into lamp posts. I would stay up late reading under the blankets with a flashlight. I knew when I grew up that I wanted to try very hard to write the kind of books that would make kids miss their bus stop, bump into lampposts, or stay up very late.
I wrote “The Grimm Legacy” because when I was a high school student I had this job as a library page. It was one of the best jobs I ever had. I thought it would make a great setting for a story, but I knew that I wanted the story to have magic in it. So, I decided that the library, instead of books, would have objects in it. And, obviously, the magical objects would be from books.
Garett: Where does the story come from about the bandage that can turn things to silver, or heal wounds?
Polly: It comes from a story the Brothers Grimm collected called “The Spirit in the Bottle.” It’s one of those stories where the hero finds a bottle and opens it up, and a genie comes out. When the genie threatens to kill him, the hero tricks the genie into returning to the bottle. Once the genie is contained, he promises to give the hero a wonderful magic object if he releases him. The bandage is the magical reward the hero receives for re-releasing the genie. It’s a good story. I recommend it!
Next Monday, Hayden and Garett ask Polly about her favorite fairy tales. In the meantime, check out her other teen novel, “Enthusiasm,” which follows Julie and her best friend Ashleigh, two high school sophomores. They both seem to fall for the same Mr. Darcy-like boy and struggle to hide their true feelings from one another.