Author S. L. Lipson Interviews Tree Fairy Althea–Ebook Advocate
Susan L. Lipson, a middle-grade novelist who also happens to be our Forest Beat reporter, shares her recent interview (below) with Althea, a tree fairy with unique knowledge of the human lifestyle. Lipson was tipped off to the fairy’s whereabouts by 10-year-olds Sara and Jonathan, who shared their tale, The Secret in the Wood, with her. The kids accidentally met the displaced tree fairy when Althea regained consciousness after a long sleep on Sara’s wooden bedroom wall. In this interview, Lipson discusses with Althea the positive effects of the burgeoning ebook industry on forest dwellers like herself.
SLL: Hello, Althea! So, I imagine that you have some strong feelings about the book industry that humans have created. Is that correct?
Althea: Oh, yes, indeed I do, Susan! As I’ve told Sara, I believe that humans who write words on paper must at all times remain conscious of the fact that trees gave their lives for that paper; and you must honor that sacrifice with well-chosen, vivid, concise words—the very least one can do to conserve paper and respect our natural world. Too many books spend too many pages saying too little that is worthy of the paper upon which it is printed. It’s a waste of precious tree lives, in short.
SLL: Do you think we should stop printing books on paper then and read exclusively on electronic reading devices?
Althea: Well, no, because not all humans have access to technology, and I have learned that illiteracy is as harmful to this planet as wasted trees. So, I believe you humans need to strike a balance, as we fairies do in Nature. I believe that you must print some paper copies of books, but definitely balance out the paper copies with ebooks. And definitely get more children to read on screens whenever possible—and to be conscious of not wasting paper when they write, too!
SLL: How can kids avoid wasting paper?
Althea: Be concise and precise!
SLL: Like poets?
Althea: Yes, indeed—by writing memorable words!
SLL: That’s the name of one of my blogs: Writing Memorable Words (www.susanllipson.blogspot.com)!
Althea: Blogs? Those are the electronic alternatives to paper journals and newsletters, right? Hurray for alternatives to tree chopping in every form! For every tree chopped down to make paper, tree fairies are displaced; remember that!
SLL: Your tales in The Secret in the Wood certainly make us remember that! What was the worst part about having your tree chopped down?
Althea: The worst part was ending up on Sara’s bedroom wall without roots for energy or the natural world for company. But then again, I never would have met Sara and learned so much about your human world if I had merely followed the fairy kingdom rules without questioning them . . .
SLL: Are you implying that young readers should also be rule-breakers?!
Althea: Not rule-breakers, necessarily. NONCONFORMISTS. I changed my life and the lives of Sara and Jonathan for the better by not conforming to the rules of the fairy kingdom. But now, with my new perspective, I respect the wisdom behind those rules and follow them because I choose to, not merely because I have been ordered to follow them.
SLL: In other words, you’ve branched out, spread your limbs, grown up . . .
Althea: Yes! Just like a tree! Oh, how much better life would be if everyone lived like a tree!
SLL: Ah, you just stated the chorus of a song I wrote, “If Everyone Lived Like a Tree”! That song will soon be added to the soundtrack I’ve written for The Secret in the Wood. People can already hear the first song on my author-teacher website’s Songs page, a haunting song called “Dance of the Trees” (www.author-teachersusanllipson.com) or click on the picture of the trees.
Althea: Do all writers write songs to enhance their books?
SLL: No, and I don’t write them to enhance the books either. The songs just start playing in my head as I’m writing. I have songs for everything I write! Words and music just seem to flow in my head.
Althea: You must live around trees then, for tree fairies harness the music of the wind and fill human hearts with songs.
SLL: I do live around a lot of trees! I guess I should thank the fairies for the flow of inspirations then . . .
Althea: You’re welcome. And I hope a lot of people buy your new ebook!
SLL: Thank you, Althea.
FREE Ebook: Save Trees!
The Secret in the Wood by S. L. Lipson is available Tuesday, October 29, 2013, for FREE on Amazon. In The Secret in the Wood, Sara is feeling sorry for herself about moving out of the home she loves until she discovers a lively tree fairy named Althea trapped in a wood panel of her bedroom wall. Sara reluctantly teams up with the boy who will be moving into her room so they can help free the fairy. This ebook version of the original Knock on Wood, by S. L. Lipson, contains interactive hidden images, as well as sheet music for musical readers to try playing an enchanting song called “Dance of the Trees,” written by the author as part of a soundtrack for the story. The Secret in the Wood is a story of relationships: between family members, friends, mentors and pupils, the living and the departed, and Nature and society. And it is a story about moving out and moving on in life. For ages 9-12.
What do you think about the ebook revolution? Do you read more ebooks or more print books?