Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kathryn Lasky Guest Post PLUS Giveaway

photo credit Christopher G Knight

Please welcome author Kathryn Lasy to GreenBeanTeenQueen! Kathryn Lasky is the Newbery Honor author of over one hundred fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can visit her online at

A meditation on heroes, superheroes and anti-heroes

I have always been fascinated by the hero’s journey which became
Soren’s journey in Guardians of Ga’Hoole. To my mind there are three kinds of models for hero characters in fiction writing -- the super hero, the anti-hero, and the everyday ordinary hero. I have a definite preference for the third model. The super hero’s extraordinary powers—X-ray vision, iron clad suit, or outrageous muscles—may be exciting for some, but not so believable for me. The anti-hero is often deeply attractive because he or she is so completely antithetical to the heroic criteria that one can begin to identify with such characters. But the ordinary hero, without the advantage of any special powers, seems to me to be the most courageous.

That’s why I wrote Soren the Barn owl in Guardians of Ga’Hoole as an ordinary hero. He skirts close to many anti-hero models but does not quite cross over. He is outwardly ordinary like the characters in several heroic stories that I loved as a child. But these characters possess something that makes them responsible in spite of themselves, and it is this that sets them apart. Soren’s closest friends are three other owls of different species—Gylfie, Digger and Twilight. They too are flawed and must find their own heroic arc. My late editor Craig Walker once wrote me a wonderful editorial letter and here is a condensed version:

“Of our four heroes, Soren and Gylfie are at the heart of the story. It is their special bond that holds the four together. Each has a special gift… The story, after we establish that these four are "the chosen," progresses as a quest for the tools to combat the evil. It is complicated by the fact that Soren's brother, Kludd, is on the dark side and further complicated because Eglantine, their sister, is a pawn between the two. She really represents what is to be saved—the ordinary, blameless owls who just want to live peacefully and without fear. Her fate, like the owl kingdom itself, depends on the victory of good over evil.

At the same time, our heroes are not totally on their own. There is a history of owl wisdom—perhaps a golden age of owls…a lost kingdom that is now only a Camelot kind of memory. But, it was a time of enlightened, heroic individuals that our four can take inspiration from. The repository of this great past, or all that's left of it, is now found in the almost legendary Great Ga'Hoole Tree. It is a kind of Valhalla—maybe real, maybe a dream, but a source of all that is good and wise about owls. It is the ideal that our heroes, once inspired by, must take to their hearts, must make their own. It is the source of that rare thing that has always set owls apart—it is the feeling in the gizzard that makes them more than they are. And, it represents a past and a future worth preserving, worth fighting for, no matter what the consequences.”

One of the many things that really thrills me about Zack Snyder’s film LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, based on the first three books, is Jim Sturgess’s wonderful interpretation of Soren. Jim’s performance has no bluster and he has managed to capture Soren’s vulnerability. That to me makes Soren a believable hero.

Zack Snyder has worked brilliantly with the actors, bringing out amazing performances. For nearly ten years I have lived with all of these characters’ voices in my head and then to hear them voiced by a great cast of actors that includes Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, was overwhelming to me. I started crying. Writing the Ga’Hoole series was a long and personal experience, so strangely, I almost felt as if I had been away—lonely and away for a long time— and I was now back and being welcomed by long lost friends—even the bad guys!

I can't wait for the movie!!! Doesn't it look so good??
One lucky reader of GreenBeanTeenQueen will have the chance to win a very cool prize pack!

Support your nocturnal reading habit with a combination travel pillow/ reading light and a copy of Guardians of Ga’hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky!
-Must be 13+ US Address to win
-Fill out Google Doc
-Contest ends Sept. 29 at midnight central time


  1. What a fantastic guest post! My daughter LOVES these books. She devours them. She also is very much looking forward to the movie's release. I am taking her on opening day.

    I found this whole post very interesting, and I think my daughter will as well. I am going to show it to her once she is home for school.

  2. Oh my, oh my! I really want to see this movie! I wasn't sure, but hearing that Ms. Lasky herself was so excited about the film version... I have a feeling it's going to be great.

  3. The pillow is ingenious!
    I can barely wait to read the book and watch the movie. My daughter will love both.

  4. Anne of Green Gables (I wish Gilbert really existed)

    Copacabana (the current ring tone on my cell)

    I think we must be long lost BFF's. I enjoyed your presentation at IRA this evening.

  5. Thanks Dana! I had a ton of fun! I love talking books!:)

  6. Great review! And thanks so much for offering such a cool giveaway. I also can't wait to take my daughter to this movie-it looks fab!


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