Hello historians! To get you excited about the Book Wrap for Dave at Night on June 20th, we asked Gail Carson Levine a few questions about herself and her book. If you bring a question for Ms. Levine to the Book Wrap, you will receive a free gift from us! Read on and think of what YOU might ask her…
New-York Historical Society: What were you like between the ages of 9 and 12?
Gail Carson Levine: I lived in Washington Heights at 175th Street and loved to walk places with my friends. We’d walk to the Indian Museum then at 155th Street and across the George Washington Bridge (only a single span then) and up to the Cloisters. I used to ice skate in Central Park. Of course I was a big reader, was never without a book, and I’d read the ones I loved over and over which has helped me as a writer because the language got inside me.
N-YHS: What is your favorite time period in American history? Why?
Ms. Levine: I’m not a history buff. I fell in love with the Harlem Renaissance, which is New York history but reflects currents in the country [including] the migration of African-Americans from the South, the burgeoning of manufacturing in the North, and improved opportunity as a result of boom times. And the development of jazz was happening here and there across the country.
N-YHS: What is your favorite place in New York City? Why?
Ms. Levine: That’s hard! I love New York, love the museums, the bridges, the skyscrapers, Grand Central Station, the parks. I even love the subways. What I love most to do in New York is to walk. If I have time, I walk wherever I’m going even if my destination is miles away. So I suppose the streets are my favorite. I love to watch people, to notice the architecture, and I love the rhythm – I walk fast.
N-YHS: What made you want to write Dave at Night?
Ms. Levine: My father wouldn’t talk about his childhood, although I knew he’d grown up in an orphanage. After he died, I wrote Dave at Night to invent his childhood.
N-YHS: What three words best describe Dave at Night?
Ms. Levine: Adventure, history, friendship.