Interview with Annie Barrows
I was excited to contact Annie Barrows, author of the popular Ivy + Bean series for children, to present at local schools for our annual author festival. She is currently busy touring the country for her latest Ivy and Bean adventure, Ivy + Bean Take the Case. The following is an email interview with the author.
How did you come up with the characters Ivy and Bean?
I started writing the books when my daughter ran out of things to read--at the age of 7! Since, originally, the books were for her entertainment, I wanted them to be about regular kids doing regular things. So I watched the kids who were trooping in and out of my house, the kids in my daughter's classroom, the kids in the park. Essentially, the characters of Ivy and Bean are a mixture. Bean is made up of a lot of people I’ve known: my cousin (loud), a wacky kid named Claire (enthusiastic), my childhood best friend (impulsive), my daughter (energetic is a nice word for it), plus about twenty seven-year-olds of my acquaintance. Ivy is a more unusual character, but she takes after some people I adore in that she’s utterly driven by ideas. I love people like that.
When is the next book in the series coming out?
The newest book in the series just came out. It's called Ivy + Bean Take the Case, and it's a mystery! Oooh! But after that, um, well, hem, haw--I don't know. There won't be a new book next fall, because I'm taking a break.
What is the book about?
Ivy + Bean Take the Case is about private investigator Bean and her intrepid assistant Ivy exploring the deepest, darkest mystery ever to hit Pancake Court.
Do you relate more to Ivy or Bean?
I think, in order to write about them, I have to relate to both of them. I love them both, that's for sure.
I know you are a strong supporter of libraries, what do you enjoy most about libraries, or is there a fond memory you have of libraries?
For me, being in a library is like being at home. Even if I'm walking through the doors for the first time, I know I'm in a place that makes sense to me, a place I can understand. I take a deep whiff of paper and dirty plastic book jackets and dust, and I relax all over. This is a sensation I do not feel anywhere else. When I walk through the door of a clothing store, for instance, I usually feel vaguely hunted and confused. But libraries? I get libraries. That's because I went to my little hometown library at least twice a week for the first twelve years of my life. And then they hired me to work there, so I went even more frequently.
Photo credit: Annie Frantzeskos Photography 2011
DeAnn O. is a long time children’s librarian, and her almost 6 year old daughter absolutely loves Ivy and Bean.