Last Fall, I spoke at a local SCBWI conference. While there I met Professor Marie Donovan from dePaul University. At the time, I only had the UK edition of Guantanamo Boy — and a PDF version at that — but during the course of conversation, I asked if she was interested in reading it. She said yes.
Not longer after, I had a voice mail message from her. To paraphrase: I love this book. We have to do something with it. Do you want to come talk to my class in the Spring?
I loved the idea of her class (graduate and undergraduate education students) reading and talking about the book pre-publication. Could we videotape it? Maybe we could get a good 30-60 second piece of video and use it as a book trailer.
In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t imagine what that evening was going to be like! Not only were Professor Donovan’s students extremely prepared, but some high school students from a local school also read ARCs and came prepared for a deep discussion.
In the end, I had practically an hour-and-a-half of video on my newly purchased Flip camera.
It took me months to edit.
As you will see when you watch the video, it was impossible to make this a 30-60 second book trailer. At five minutes, this video covers the breadth and scope of what a really great discussion of Guantanamo Boy can be.
And that’s exactly why we published the book. Because teens deserve books that challenge them.
Thanks to Professor Donovan, as well as the participating students from dePaul University and the Chicago Public Schools.