Monday, July 26, 2010

Batter Up! An Interview with Wes Tooke

Hey, everyone, this is the still-very-busy CARLMAN coming over the blog wires with a fabulous interview. Today we're honored to have Wes Tooke, author of that terrific book Lucky: Maris,Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever. (see my review here) It's the story of Louis May, who becomes a bat boy during the 1961 Yankees season when Roger Maris has a chance to pass Babe Ruth's record for most home runs in a single season. Does he make it? Ah, reader guys, you'll have to check it out to find out! You'll really enjoy it if you do, though. As a matter of fact, I just looked it up on the library's catalog and almost all our copies are checked out! So a lot of you already know how good this book is!

But enough of me; let's hear what the author has to say:

Why is it cool for boys to read?

When you watch a movie or play a video game, your imagination isn’t really working. You’re letting someone else tell you how to picture a character or see a scene. But when you read a book, your own brain is filling in the details—you get to see your own unique version of the story in your head.

Why is it cool for boys to write?

For a similar reason. You have a chance to show people your vision of the world. And when you’re writing a story, you get to control everything. What people say and do. Where the story takes place. Whether the world has monsters and dragons or whether it looks just like your hometown. The only limit is your own imagination.

What books did you like to read as a boy?

I read everything. Some of my favorites were Swallowdale, Treasure Island, the Hornblower series, and The Hobbit. When I was a little younger I loved everything by E.B. White. Especially Trumpet of the Swan

I’ve never heard of Swallowdale—sounds interesting! Did you read any comics? Did you have any


I didn’t read a lot of comics, but my best friend and I would go out and buy every new issue of The Punisher

1961 feels like ancient history to most of us. What made you write about something so long ago?

I think it’s interesting to realize that people who lived before us aren’t actually that different. Maybe they didn’t have the internet or cell phones in 1961, but kids faced a lot of the same challenges. It’s also fun to travel to a different world and imagine what it would have been like to live there.

Baseball was more popular then than now. Can you tell us about how incredibly popular it was in 1961?

Baseball was by far the biggest sport in America. The Super Bowl hadn’t even been invented yet, and professional hockey and basketball were played in small arenas and rarely seen on television. Meanwhile, more than sixty percent of the televisions in America would tune in to watch the World Series. In 1961 every kid in the New York area had an opinion on Maris and Mantle. It was huge.

Why do you like to write about baseball?

Because I love the game.

Could you tell us about the new book that you are writing?

I’m writing about Satchel Paige. He was one of the best pitchers in America, but he couldn’t play in the major leagues because it was during segregation and he was black. One summer in 1935 he played for a team in North Dakota. My story is about a young pitcher who befriends him and their wild adventures that season.

Which do you like better, pizza or cheeseburgers? What do you like on them?

Tough question. I love them both, but I guess I’d have to say cheeseburgers. I like mine western style, which means with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and bbq sauce. But I’ll eat them almost any way—including with a fried egg.

Well, you live in San Francisco, so it’s only natural that you’d like them western style. Come over to Charlotte and I’ll get you a Carolina style burger! Thanks for the interview. We’ll look forward to your new book!

So if any of you haven't read Lucky yet, go to your local library or bookstore and get a copy. And take a look at the fun stuff about baseball, 1961 Yankees, Roger Maris and more on Mr. Tooke's website. And besides that, for you reader guys who are on Facebook, Louis May has his own page. Check it out here.

So, guys, have any of you read this book? Then write in and tell us what you thought of it!


TisforTonya said...

I haven't heard of Swallowdale either... but if it's in a category with all the others he mentioned I may have to check this out...

Iron Guy Carl said...

The library doesn't have Swallowdale. Got to check Oh, my, more books...

Iron Guy Carl said...

Just found out that from an old series by Arthur Ransome. Really old series. I have a copy of Swallows and Amazons that the library weeded. Supposed to be a low-key, idyllic-summer story. Must find that copy now.