An Interview with Mac Barnett - by Kyle Thumar

Kyle: How has reading helped you throughout your life?

Mac Barnett: Well look: books have given me a million powerful moments—powerfully moving, powerfully funny, powerfully sad. You can recognize yourself in a good book, and feel less lonely—and that's an important thing.

 

Kyle: How do you think the issue of males being less proficient readers than females can be solved?

Mac Barnett: It's a tough and complicated issue, but here's one important thing we can do: help boys find books that mean something to them, and let them read those books. Reading isn't medicine that we have to hold our nose to swallow—it should be genuinely enjoyable. Instead of telling a boy he should read, we should figure out what sort of book he'd find truly compelling.

 

Kyle: What was your favorite book as a child? Now?

Mac Barnett: One of my favorite books growing up was Frog and Toad Are Friends, and I still think it's as good as almost anything else written in English. Today my favorite book might be Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges.

 

Kyle: Why do you believe that is important to develop and maintain a passion for reading throughout your life?

Mac Barnett: I think good books, like any good art, can make you smarter, more interesting, more complex, and, sometimes, maybe, happier.

 

Kyle: How do you determine whether or not to read a book?

 

Mac Barnett: A cover can catch my eye, or a first sentence, or the plot summary on the back. But more than anything I like getting book recommendations from someone I like.