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Arts Playlist: Children’s author Erin Entrada Kelly

Erin Entrada Kelly
Rebecca Baer
/
Delaware Public Media
Author Erin Entrada Kelly leads a kids book club at the Corbitt-Calloway Library in Odessa.

Erin Entrada Kelly volunteers at the Corbitt-Calloway Library in Odessa where she hosts a kids book club.

But she doesn’t just read books for kids. She also writes them. The Louisiana native is an award-winning author who now lives here in Delaware.

Her latest novel for young teens and tweens, Those Kids from Fawn Creek, was released this month.

And in this week’s Arts Playlist, Delaware Public Media’s Rebecca Baer joins Kelly at her book club to chat about discuss what inspires her and her books’ impact.

Delaware Public Media's Rebecca Baer interviews award-winning children's author Erin Entrada Kelly

A Delaware children’s book author just released a new novel in hopes of repeating the success of her previous books.

Erin Entrada Kelly of Middletown is an award-winning writer, earning the prestigious Newbery Medal for outstanding children’s literature in 2018 for her book, Hello, Universe.

She says the experience still feels “surreal.”

"And of course, you never think that it’s going to be you because there’s thousands and thousands of books that come out every year that are eligible for the Newbery Medal so it was just…it’s hard to explain.  It’s just like finding out you won an Oscar, I guess - although, I don’t know what that feels like, probably feels pretty good though," Kelly said with a laugh.  

Kelly adds earning a Newbery Honor last year was even more of an honor because she never thought she’d be recognized for two different books.

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Her new novel, Those Kids from Fawn Creek, tells the story of a middle school in small-town Louisiana turned upside down by the arrival of a new student from the big city. It’s geared for kids 8 to 12, Kelly’s usual target audience.

Kelly says it features themes common to her novels based on her own experience of growing up Filipino-American in Louisiana.

"I think that feeling othered, feeling different, feeling left out, feeling like you have this bright spotlight on you at all times, I think we all know what that feels like especially if you’ve been through middle school, so it’s kind of the lens through which I approach a lot of my stories," she said.  

When she’s not writing, Kelly hosts a monthly kids book club at the Corbitt-Calloway Library in Odessa. She says it helps her stay engaged with the age group for which she writes.

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Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.