A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E3 | FULL EPISODE

Tune It Out | Jamie Sumner | A Word on Words | NPT

“There were plenty of books in middle grade that had kids with differences but they were side characters. I wanted to create a kid that had these differences who wasn’t just this passive person you park in a corner.” Author Jamie Sumner talks to host Mary Laura Philpott about TUNE IT OUT on NPT’s A Word on Words.

AIRED: February 19, 2021 | 0:02:27
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TRANSCRIPT

(typewriter clenching)

(bell chimes)

- [Jamie Sumner] Hi, I'm Jamie Sumner,

and this is "Tune It Out."

A book about 12 year old Lou Montgomery,

who has the voice of an angel and a mother

who wants to make her a star.

Unfortunately, performing in public places

is Lou's worst nightmare,

because she has an undiagnosed sensory processing disorder.

- I'm wondering at what point

in your career as a writer,

you decided that writing about kids for kids

is something that you wanted to do.

- [Jamie] When my oldest son, Charlie was born,

he was born with a lot of health complications.

The non-fiction that I started to write for adults

came kind of out of my experience

in parenting him and the words that I would wanna say

to a fellow parent going through that.

When Charlie got to a place that

he was stable and healthy

the fiction then came after that,

because I could let myself explore other ideas.

(gentle music)

- [Mary Laura] What weren't you seeing in literature

that made you wanna write the books that you write?

- [Jamie] There were plenty of books in middle grade that

had kids with differences, but they were side characters.

They're like, let's just throw this person in

to further the plot.

They were very one dimensional

or if they were the main character,

they just felt too sweet and innocent and cuddly.

And I think if you ever meet kids that have gone through

like what my son has gone through,

they're so tough.

I wanted to create a character that had these differences.

Who wasn't just this passive person

that you park in a corner.

(gentle music)

- [Mary Laura] You seem also amazingly capable

of putting yourself into the mind of a child.

How do you do that?

- These are all things that like everybody feels,

it's not like just this person in this situation,

because they are different feels this.

So it's not like it's particular to the situation.

It's just, we're all feeling all the things.

- For more of my conversation with Jamie Sumner

visit awordonwards.org and keep reading.

(bell chimes)

- [Jamie Sumner] I was such a theater kid.

I was the one that would follow everyone

around with the binder and tell them when

they got their line wrong and where to stand.

And I would wear the headset during the production.

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