Patricia McCormick on Never Fall Down

September 29th, 2012 by melissa g

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the award-winning journalist and author, Patricia McCormick. She was at one of my favorite bookstores, The Voracious Reader, in Larchmont, NY to talk about her latest book, Never Fall Down. As Francine, the owner of The Voracious Reader said, about Never Fall Down, “This book will call you to action.” And, I couldn’t agree more.

The night began with an introduction from Carine Luis, who was there to speak about Room To Read, an organization that works “in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and supports girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.” In Cambodia alone, Room to Read has established over 1,300 libraries, published more than 100 books, built 4 schools, and sent 2,500 girls to school. Room to Read has a special Students Helping Students program and the teens in attendance were encouraged to get involved.

The highlight of the night was Ms. McCormick’s reading of three very moving passages of Never Fall Down. She also shared her thoughts on how Arn Chorn-Pond took adversity and turned it into something beautiful, and she explained that Arn’s trick was to connect with people because contact heals and has a certain power. Finally, Ms. McCormick answered questions from the audience.

Did she make anything up for this book? No, she just helped to fill in some parts. Did she meet Arn’s family? Yes, on a visit to Cambodia. He was actually reunited with one sister when, on a trip back to Cambodia, she happened to be in the audience at one of his presentations. She even met his Khmer Rouge friend, Sombo, who apparently doesn’t think that he did anything wrong. According to Ms. McCormick, the Khmer Rouge remain in the outskirts of Cambodia, waiting for a comeback. What was the hardest part of writing this book? The sadness, Ms. McCormick explained. Does Arn have a family now? According to Ms. McCormick, he has a girlfriend and many people who love him, but he is afraid to have children because someone might kill them, and he feels that he doesn’t deserve to have love in his life so he continues to punish himself.

We also heard some news about Ms. McCormick’s 2008 novel, Sold. According to Ms. McCormick, filming has begun on the movie version of this book.

The night was most certainly a success! According to one teen, “I thought it was really interesting to learn about the author’s point of view…how she meant the book to be portrayed, not just what people thought about it.” Others were discussing how they can start a Room to Read fundraising club in their own school. Patricia McCormick and her remarkable stories clearly continue to inspire teens to think and to take action.

Posted in Author Interviews, News

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