The Grammarphobia Blog

For younger grammarphobes

Pat was interviewed recently by the website Slow Reads about her new grammar book for children, Woe Is I Jr. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Q: You wrote your original book, Woe Is I, in 1996 at the request of a book editor who wanted a lighthearted grammar guide. Why do you think the book became a bestseller?

A: I don’t think anyone before me had ever tried to address grammar problems without using the complicated and intimidating terminology of formal grammar. And the book was funny besides, which was a novelty for a grammar book then.

Q: What led you to write Woe Is I Jr., a similar book for middle-graders?

A: When the original book came out, parents and teachers told me they found it helpful in explaining grammar to children, and suggested that an edition especially for kids would fill a niche. But I never acted on their suggestions until Susan Kochan, a very gifted editor at the Penguin Young Readers Group, pressed me to do an edition for fourth- through sixth-graders.

Q: You seem to get middle-school kids: their reading level, their capacity for understanding grammar, and their humor. What did you have to do to prepare for – and to adjust your writing for – what I suppose is your first children’s book?

A: I corralled the children of my friends, and I asked dozens of kids from my neighborhood school as well as young library patrons to answer questionnaires designed for ages 9 through 12. The responses were priceless! All the kids who helped are getting free copies of the book, as well as thanks in the acknowledgments.

For more of the interview, visit Slow Reads.

Buy Pat’s books at a local store or Amazon.com.