Blog Tour: Two Truths And A Lie!
Library Lions gives a mighty Roar for the innovative new book for middle-grade readers, Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! Walden Pond Press ISBN: 9780062418791. Read the interview and don’t forget to snatch this terrific Educator’s Guide for your classroom and library!
Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.
This first book in the series will hit the shelves 06/27/2017. And like the rest of you, we can’t wait! Take a peek at our interview below with these two innovative authors. And make sure to download the Educator’s Resource (link) filled with fun exercises for your classroom or library.
About the Book
Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!
Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?
Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!
JLC: I just finished Two Truths and A Lie: It’s Alive! It’s easy to see why it’s a fall 2017 Junior Library Guild selection and received a starred review from Booklist. The book is wildly entertaining! You did such an excellent job pairing all the unbelievable (yet true) stories with the fictional ones. Readers will have to use all the skills you offer in the Research Guide at the back to sort fact from fiction. Teachers and Librarians will be thrilled with your fun approach that will get readers excited about doing research. The book has come along just in time. When did you come up with this clever idea?
LAT: I wish I could take credit, but initially it was Joan’s clever idea. She knew that mixing a fake story in with real ones would make it all the more engaging and throw those unbelievable but true stories into sharp relief against the false ones. As soon as she told me about it, I was hooked! When we decided to collaborate, things took off quickly. Believe it or not, that was back in 2013!
JLC: This first book of your series turns the way we use search engines to do our “research” on its head by asking the fundamental question, “How do you know it’s true?” Your book teaches readers to hunt beyond the easy answers and look for reliable sources. Given the new technology, would you say doing research easier nowadays or more difficult?
AJP: I would say it’s easier, in general terms—there’s just so much more accessibility, and volume. And it’s right at our fingertips; we don’t even need to leave our seats! On the other hand, it’s also harder for that very reason: there are so many more places to look, and the volume can be overwhelming. It can also be easy for “fake facts” to sneak in alongside the real ones. That’s one thing we hope to help instill in our readers—an awareness of this risk, and a sense of discrimination in the sources and research materials they choose.
LAT: I agree. Technology makes it so much easier to find information, but it also makes it so much easier to put information out there—just about anyone can do it! That means we have to be very discriminating when it comes to deciding which sources we’re going trust and make sure we always do our best to understand and reevaluate our own knowledge, biases, and blind spots.
JLC: What was it like to work together on this project? Did one author focus on the factual stories and the other author on the fictional ones?
AJP: It was terrific! Originally, we had intended that I (as a fiction writer) should write the fakes, and Laurie (as a non-fiction writer) would write the facts. In the end, though, we ended up with a liberal mix of both. Once we started this project, we began seeing story ideas everywhere, so we are quick to call “dibs” on a story we’ve found which inspires us. For me, too, one of the best parts is digging into these unbelievable-but-true stories. I never thought I could be a non-fiction writer, but it turns out that’s my favorite part!
LAT: I loved every minute of working with Joan on this project. We work in similar ways (we both love spreadsheets and organization!) and we have a lot of other things in common, so that helped enormously. And the ways we differ are complementary, so we able to help each other out on things and that makes us a really good team. Surprisingly, I don’t think of myself as a fiction writer, but the fake stories have been my favorite ones to write. (Clearly, enjoying challenges and opportunities to learn something new is another thing we have in common!)
JLC: Which was easier to write, the factual stories or the fictional ones?
AJP: For me, the nonfiction stories are easier to write. It’s a matter of research and discovery and narration. The fiction ones can be tricky because they have to sound believable, yet also unbelievable. We also like to ground them in a bit of fact, for context and believability (and to make the game more challenging). Turns out that can be pretty tricky to pull off sometimes! But it’s rewarding all the same.
LAT: I have been shocked to discover that the fiction stories are easier for me to write, even though I consider myself a nonfiction writer. I love being able to “sound” like a nonfiction writer without having to worry about the facts, and I find they flow more easily and quickly for me. (Don’t worry, I’ll still make sure my nonfiction is 100% true!)
JLC: How would you like to see this first book of the series used in schools and libraries?
LAT: Well, most importantly, we hope it’s used simply to get kids reading. Our goal, first and foremost, was to do everything we could to make sure the book would be fun for anyone who picked it up. So, I hope schools and libraries use it to reach the kids who may not already be avid readers, as well as the kids who just need another book for entertainment. Secondly, though, we obviously also want schools and libraries to use the book to help teach information literacy. In a world where just about anyone can put just about anything online, readers today need a healthy dose of skepticism, a heap of critical thinking, and a toolbox full of skills to sort the truth from the lies. Thanks to hard-working teachers and librarians, schools and libraries are some of the best places to acquire all of those, and we hope TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE can help them do the vital jobs that they are already doing every day.
JLC: Thanks for writing such a fantastic book!
LAT: Thanks so much for hosting us, Janet. We literally couldn’t do our jobs without libraries and librarians, so we’re especially honored to roar for them today!
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You can win this book for your school library or home library! (contest US only)
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Great questions and answers!
I love this idea of nonfiction told in an an engaging way. We play two truths and a lie at dinner time about our day so this book is definitely fun. I’ve read many weird facts that are unbelieveable so trying to guess which one won’t be easy. I also think anyone reading this will better remember the information because of how it’s presented.
This sounds like an amazing book. I can’t wait to read it and share it with my students. I have many students who love to read nonfiction and I think this book will really interest them.
This does sound innovative–and the fun, gorgeous book design helps!
Thank you so much for hosting us, Janet! We had a lot of fun doing the interview, too. You’re the best! 🙂