authors, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the book baton: Bren MacDibble


It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Every week Alphabet Soup features a book creator who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today the book baton is passed to Bren MacDibble. Bren has a special interest in science fiction and loves to write to explore the future. Her latest novel — How to Bee — is set in a post bee, post famine Australia, where children hand-pollinate fruit trees.

You might recognise some of these books:

Last week Cristy Burne asked:
I love that you have introduced the real-life issue of honey bee losses in your fictional novel, How to Bee. Can you please tell us more about how this issue grabbed your interest and its role in inspiring your story?

Bren answers:
Bren MacDibble photoWhen I saw the beautiful photos in the Huffington Post article (linked on my website) about how farmers in a valley in the Sichuan Province in China were already spending their lives climbing through trees, hand-pollinating flowers, because there just aren’t any bees there anymore, I knew I wanted to write about the lives of hand-pollinators.

I’d also read an article about pigeon pea farmers in India who had been put into debt from purchasing insecticides. When they went back to the old ways of beating the bushes, and dragging a sheet through the rows of pigeon pea with a flock of chickens following, the health of the pea bushes improved, more people had work, no one went into debt, and chooks got nice and fat and laid lots of eggs. (Young Peony in How to Bee has chickens for this very reason, she also talks about circles of life, and how pesticides cut through them.)
How to BeeI think children know a lot about climate change and it worries them, so I wanted to set a story in the future after the bees had gone and the world had changed. I didn’t want to terrify children with a famine caused by bee loss, I wanted to go further into the future and show the world after things had resettled. In particular, I wanted young readers to see children like them living in this new time, getting on with things. I wanted to show them coping, and learning what is most important in a new world.
Check out Bren MacDibble’s website for more about her and her books.

Something wonderfulAnd now Bren passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Raewyn Caisley. Her latest book is a picture book, Something Wonderful.

Bren asks:
“Looking at your recent picture books, I immediately get a sense of place, not just anywhere but of Western Australia or of New Zealand. Most of the scene setting is done by an illustrator in a picture book, but do you consciously try to contribute towards building a sense of place with your prose? And how do you do that?”

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators.

See you next week!