She’s smart. She’s curious. She’s dig-down-deep determined to get her story. Meet today’s dazzling debut, the one and only Anna Crowley Redding!
Anna, I’m excited your first book—GOOGLE IT! A History of Google—is on bookshelves at last. Young readers will love learning about how Google—the idea, the software, the company, the verb, the proprietary eponym—began and how it became what it is today.
How did you decide to write this book?
Holly West, my brilliant editor at MacMillan’s Feiwel & Friends, first approached my agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. Then Holly called me to talk about her idea… a book about Google! I jumped at the chance! It’s a fascinating company and the people and very human experience behind the company is compelling, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant.
Before you began writing for children, you were a real-life investigative reporter, and I have a picture to prove it!
How did you decide to become a journalist?
Becoming a journalist was a path I began walking as a child. I have always loved writing, loved to find stuff out (and tell everybody)! I also have a deep sense of justice and advocacy, a respect for the truth and for fighting for people. That’s a fundamental part of journalism, caring about people and telling their stories in a way that gets others to connect with them.
What education and training did you need to start off in television reporting?
I earned my journalism degree from Northeastern, and they require students to work in their chosen field as part of the curriculum.
I remember walking into New England Cable News (NECN) for the first time. News was breaking. There was a mad rush to the set, and people were barking information and directions. It was chaos, but it was a special chaos. It made sense to me. Then came the countdown, and on cue, massive professionalism and topnotch storytelling. I knew had to do this work.
Back in the olden days, we had radio, newspapers, and scheduled television news programs. That’s it. Today’s journalists-to-be can’t imagine our limited access to information. We couldn’t Google anything!
What’s exciting for young journalists today, those just learning their craft, is the opportunity to start reporting right now using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
Can you tell us about what the work was like? What did you enjoy? What was difficult?
There was a lot that I loved. The camaraderie of the entire team, the thrilling pace, those instances where storytelling or digging into an investigation really changed someone’s life were deeply satisfying. And newsrooms are rife with humor. It’s how we got through the raw, emotional intensity of the work. I loved the head-thrown-back belly laughing.
But the schedule is punishing. When you first get in to the news business, the intensity is super fun. Eventually, it can be tiring. The news cycle is insane, and I feel for reporters who sacrifice themselves (time with family, sleep, vacations, you name it) to cover it all. And then to face massive admonition? It’s tough. Balance is not a word often used in newsrooms.
How does your experience with journalism inform your new job?
Writing nonfiction books is an extension of journalism in a longer format. The years of working on deadline, digging for details and facts, reaching out to people for information or interviews, and finally organizing everything into a cohesive story, all of it helps.
I’m fascinated, but we should get back to GOOGLE IT! *inserts giant picture*
What was it like to retell Google’s history in a kid-friendly, kid-interesting way?
Our middle schoolers and teens are so smart. I tried to approach the subject in a way that really honored that. For me, that meant having fun with it while also being cognizant of making sure I explained terms specific to business or technology.
One of the most important and interesting things I learned from researching Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page is how to take life’s problems, any problems, and look at them as a puzzle that needs to be solved and can solved.
A message we all need to hear and sure to resonate with many readers. Thanks for letting me pepper you with questions, Anna. I have just one more:
What is the weirdest, most random topic you’ve ever Googled, Anna?
(Cliffhanger! Tune in to Emu’s Debuts tomorrow for Anna Crowley Redding’s answer to this all-important question. There will also be a funny story involving Anna and a baseball.)
GIVEAWAY ALERT! To celebrate the launch of Google It: A History of Google, Teachers and Librarians have a chance to win a classroom set of 25 copies! The lucky winner will also receive a classroom set of Google It! bookmarks plus a free Skype visit. A winner will be picked on September 4, 2018. Click here to enter.
About Hayley Barrett
I write for young people and live to make kids laugh. My picture book BABYMOON celebrates the birth of a new family and is coming from Candlewick Press. WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW, a narrative nonfiction picture book, is coming in spring 2019 from Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books and will be illustrated by Diana Sudyka. GIRL VS. SQUIRREL, a funny STEM-based picture book illustrated by Renée Andriani, is coming from Margaret Ferguson Books/Holiday House in spring 2020. I’m represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.