Reading Festival: Sylvia (12) has an extraordinary reading life as this interview shows

I really loved reading this interview with Sylvia as I fell upon so many books I loved. She reads wide and far and deep which is what I like to do as a reader. The year I was a judge for the NZ Book Awards I got to read all sorts of books I wouldn’t usually read and I loved it — especially the non-fiction. I adore the quote Sylvia has shared with us! This is a wonderful interview Sylvia. You have put a lot of time into it. Awesome job!

Hi again Paula Green! This is an interview for book week from me. You can edit it and make it shorter if you want because I think it’s probably too long. Thank you for posting my other poem!


Sylvia, 12 years old, Parnell District School, Auckland

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What books did you love when you were little?
When I was little, some of my favourite books were The Fierce Little Woman and The Wicked Pirate by Joy Cowley and The Big Big Sea. I liked a lot of different picture books. I also loved Where The Wild Things Are.
Where is Your Favourite Place To Read?
I’ll read anywhere! But most of the time I go into my room, shut the door, and curl up next to my bed.
What do you like about reading?
Reading helps you empathise with other people and understand their feelings. Reading can often relate to situations in real life and help you deal with them. I think reading is very important. One of my favourite quotes is
“We read to know we are not alone”
-C.S. Lewis

I think this is definitely true. And reading can help you escape from the real world is you’re upset and help you pretend you are in another place. When I am sad reading helps me feel better for this reason.

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Do you have a favourite book character?
Waaayyy to difficult. But some of my favourite characters are:
Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter– Because he shows anyone can be who they want to be, and that no-one is “stupid” they can better at things with practice.
Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter– because she shows that you can be yourself and it doesn’t matter what other people think about you.
China Sorrows from Skullduggery Pleasant– because she shows that everyone doesn’t have to stay “bad” they can come to the light, and because even if she doesn’t like to admit it, she really cares about other people.
Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games (the series, not the novel)- because he is funny and kind, and adds some light to the series. He is also very misunderstood. I was so sad when Finnick died.
Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games (series not the first novel)- because, like Finnick, she is funny and adds some light, and also misunderstood. I was relieved when she didn’t die.
Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre– because she stands up for what she believes in and always keeps to her morals. She is not afraid to speak out if confronted.
Numerous past “favourite characters” who have died and then I have simply gotten over them, so even though I am sad they died, and I was crying in some of their deaths, I am not sure what I feel about them now. e.g. Tanith Low from Skullduggery Pleasant (who technically didn’t die but got taken over by an evil spirit, but same thing), Remus Lupin from Harry Potter, Neodora Tonks from Harry Potter, Sirius Black from Harry Potter, Dobby from Harry Potter, Kenspeckle Grouse from Skullduggery Pleasant.etc

And another person who has died in the most recent Skullduggery Pleasant book. He was never my favourite character but his death was the more sad than any other I’ve encountered, ever. I cried and I cried, and cried so much, and then I was in shock. Which is funny because I never appreciated him until now. RIP. Ghastly Bespoke.

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What kind of books do you like and why?

I like all sorts of books! I basically like any sort of book that’s a good one in my opinion. But I often like sad or serious books. My favourite books are Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Skullduggery Pleasant, and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.


Do you have a favourite illustrator? What do you love about his/her books?

Well I suppose if I had to decide it would be Lauren Child, who both wrote and illustrated the Charlie and lola books. Her illustrations are cute and funny. They are interesting and draw you in.


Has a book ever made you sad?

A lot of times! Basically every book I read makes me feel sad at some point. I think the saddest book I have ever read has to be LSODM (Last Stand of Dead Men, the Skullduggery Pleasant book where Ghastly dies and Valkyrie gets taken over by   Darquesse.) or The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, or MockingJay by Suzanne Collins. Oh and also The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman.


Has a book ever made you happy?
Yes. Not as often as it has made me sad but it has often made me feel happy. I think one of my happiest moments was when Balthamos from The Amber Spyglass finally turned up after being missing for ages. When he came back I jumped around the room going “Yaaaayyy!!!!”
Has a book ever made you laugh out loud?

While the Skullduggery Pleasant series are very sad, there are heaps of jokes chucked in, and they always make me laugh out loud.

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Has a teacher ever read you a cool book? What did you like about it?
I liked Love That Dog by Sharon Creech which Mrs Brett read to us in Yr 5 or 6. I liked it because it was a clever combination of poetry and a novel which was interesting.

1 thought on “Reading Festival: Sylvia (12) has an extraordinary reading life as this interview shows

  1. Pingback: Spot prizes for the Reading Festival | Poetry Box

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