Monday, February 13, 2017

INTERVIEW with GREG PINCUS, author of THE HOMEWORK STRIKE

THE HOMEWORK STRIKE
Gregory Pincus
Scholastic, Inc.
Ages 8 - 12



Gregory K. has too much homework.

Middle school is hard work, and Gregory tries to be a good student. He participates in class, he studies for his tests -- he and his friends even help each other with their assignments. But no matter what he does, there's never enough time to finish all his homework. It just isn't fair.

So Gregory goes on a total, complete homework strike. No worksheets, no essays, no projects. His friends think he's crazy. His parents are worried about his grades. And his principal just wants him to stop making trouble. Can Gregory rally his fellow students, make his voice heard, and still pass seventh grade?

INTERVIEW w/ the AUTHOR:


1. Hi Greg. So, tell us about The Homework Strike. What's it about?
The short version: It's about standing up for what you believe. The longer version: The Homework Strike is about Gregory K., a seventh grader who spends too much time - nearly three hours a day - on homework and not enough on the things he's passionate about. He's also frustrated that no one seems to listen to him or his friends when they talk about the homework problem. Guided and prodded and often seemingly opposed by his history teacher, Gregory embarks on a mission to have his voice be heard: he goes on a homework strike, trying to bring back an old law that made homework illegal. Now, I'm not gonna tell you how the strike goes or if others join him or if it hits the news or how it all turns out, cuz that'd be no fun. But to go back to the short version: it's a story about standing up for what we believe.

2.  What inspired you to write it?

A few things, really. Homework today is a real problem for lots of kids, and to top it off, the research shows that for the most part (and particularly in elementary school)... it doesn't help. So I wanted to explore that. I also have always been fascinated by obscure old laws, and the fact that homework was actually illegal in California for years (it was!) was another inspiration. Plus, I love stories about underdogs, and kids fighting against homework seemed like that type of story to me. One day, I saw a way to combine those threads along with humor... and voila! The Homework Strike!

3.  What is the last really great book you read?

NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman - a great piece of non-fiction. And for fiction... I loved Mike Jung's Unidentified Suburban Object.

4.  If you could spend a day inside any book, which would it be and why?

Oooh. Just one? Today my answer is that I would go back to a childhood favorite and go inside Furman Bisher's Strange But True Baseball Stories. To be able to see all those real-life stories firsthand would be amazing and a realization of a childhood fantasy. Plus I'd eat lots of ballpark food. But I bet if I answered this another day, I'd give you another book!

5. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

The one that pops into mind is saying "hi, cutie!" over the phone to my then girlfriend's boss rather than my girlfriend. Hey - her boss never answered the phone, okay??? There may have been more embarrassing things, but if so, I've blocked them :-)

6. Any more books in the works?

I hope so! I'm working on two middle grade novels as well as a few picture books. As you well know, how and where and if they see the light of day is more of an adventure.

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