Get to Know Marianne Malone
Photo courtesy of author
Chicago sixth-graders Jack and Ruthie discovered how to travel across time and space in the Best of the Best book The Sixty-Eight Rooms and now they're back for more adventures in the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. Exploring the world, saving lives, catching thieves, and popping in and out of artistic masterpieces are what these kids do best, and Illinois author Marianne Malone invites you along to share even more excitement in Stealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure.
Author Marianne Malone reads the first chapter of her new book, Stealing Magic.
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Q & A with Marianne Malone
Where did you get your idea for this book?
Having grown up in the suburbs of Chicago with an artist mother who took me to the Art Institute frequently, I have loved the Thorne Rooms all of my life. In fact, I can’t remember not knowing about them. Just before I wrote The Sixty-Eight Rooms, I had been on a field trip (I was a teacher in an all girls middle school in Urbana, IL) to the AIC. I noted how much my students loved the Rooms. I had also been talking with my grown daughters about their memories of visiting them as little girls. The Thorne Rooms—and people’s reactions to them—was on my mind. I know it may seem impossible, but I took a nap after a day of teaching and woke up with the story in my head, fairly fully worked out. And then I realized that it couldn’t be just one book, it had to be a series. I wrote Stealing Magic, which is the sequel, before the first book was published. These are the sorts of book I would have read at age 10 or so.
I have loved writing about Ruthie and Jack and the adventures they’ve had in the Thorne Rooms. I was an Art History major in college, so the possibility of time travel and imagining what my characters see first hand is almost a kind of vicarious thrill for me. How I would have loved this adventure!
What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
This is tough: I would say it’s a toss up between The Borrowers and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia also, and read them many times.
How old were you when you started writing?
I didn’t start writing until I was about 47 years old.
What is your favorite word?
Just one? “Luminous” would certainly be one.
What is your favorite book about Chicago?
For kids, I think Blue Balliet’s Chasing Vermeer and The Wright Three are terrific. For adults, The Devil in the White City is great. But I remember reading The Jungle in high school and even though I can’t say it’s my favorite, it has certainly stayed with me after all these years!
More to Explore
Places to Go
- Have you visited the Thorne Miniature Rooms, at the Art Institute of Chicago? Visit your neighborhood library and check out a Kraft Great Kids Museum Pass for your family's own adventure at the Art Institute.
- Ruthie and Jack travel to Paris during the time of the 1937 World's Fair, or Exposition Universelle. There have been World's Fairs in Chicago, too, in 1893 and 1933. Where in the world would you like to travel?
- While visiting Paris during the Exposition Universelle, Ruthie and Jack walk through the Jardins du Trocadéro to the famous Eiffel Tower. What famous buildings do we have in Chicago?
- Learning French, the language her mother teaches, helps Ruthie and Jack communicate during their journeys, and the Meyer family speaks German. If you are interested in learning a different language spoken around the world, Mango Languages can help.
- They also travel to Charleston, South Carolina in 1835 where they meet a young African American named Phoebe whose favorite book is A Little Pretty Pocket-Book by John Newbery.
- You too can stand under Cloud Gate (The Bean), in Millenium Park just like Jack and Ruthie.
- Art in Action 1 by Maja Pitamicy
- Books About Art by Bob Raczka
- Chicago Postcard Museum Special Exhibit: Mrs. James Ward Thorne Memorial Wing
- A Day at the Museum by The Art Institute of Chicago
- Draw 50 series by Lee Ames
- Faces, Places, and Inner Spaces: A Guide to Looking at Art by Jean Sousa
Loved Stealing Magic? Try These Books Next
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
By E.L. Konigsburg
Magic Tree House series
by Mary Pope Osborne
Matisse on the Loose: A Novel
By Georgia Bragg
The Painting That Wasn't There
By Steve Brezenoff, illustrated by C.B. Canga
Stone Arch, 2010
Septimus Heap series
by Angie Sage, illustrated by Mark Zug
Also by Marianne Malone
Websites About the AuthorInterview with Marianne Malone by Time Out Chicago »
Marianne Malone.com »
Marianne Malone @ Random House »
Marianne Malone Talks about Stealing Magic on Random Acts of Reading »