Get to know February's Author of the Month, Andrea Davis Pinkney, as she talks about the inspiration behind her latest book, Rhythm Ride, how she got her start in writing and her favorite Motown sound.
Where did you get your idea for this book?
RHYTHM RIDE started with music. Do you remember the very first time Motown’s magic swept you up. For me, it was hearing the Contours’ heart-and-soul harmonies asking, “Do you love me?” The answer to that brassy refrain was an immediate “Yes, I do love you!” What I really meant is that I love the way Motown music makes me feel inside ― the sheer gladness and emotion those songs bring on! I knew a lot about Motown music. But I didn’t fully know the true story behind the man who built an entertainment empire by taking kids off the street, and turning them into stars. That’s why I wrote Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound. I wanted to learn more about Motown, and I wanted to share what I discovered with kids today.
What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
I had two favorite books. Go, Dog, Go! by PD Easton is still at the top of my picture book list. My favorite novel was To Kill A Mockingbird, which I’ve now read several times as an adult, and am still moved by its relevance.
How old were you when you started writing?
When I was in the second grade, I started carrying a notebook with me wherever I went. I still do that today. I had that notebook with me all the time: by my side, in my book bag, in my pillowcase, you name it. I wrote about everything that was important to me ―my cat, Mickey; my dog, Casey; my Barbie dolls; my sister, Lynne; my brother, P. J., and my mom and dad. In the sixth grade I entered a writing contest in my school. My story about a man made of fire won the contest. The prize was a gift certificate to a lobster restaurant, where I took my whole family out to dinner. That’s when I knew I really wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
What is your favorite word?
Ooooh, that’s difficult question! Words are like candy to me – it’s hard to pick just one. Here are a few of my favorites: joy, peace, family, contentment, love.
What or who is your favorite Motown song or artist?
This question is like when my husband gives me a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates and says, “Pick your favorite one.” Oh, oh, oh – it’s so hard to choose just one! ALL of Motown’s music is sweet. And delectable. And smooth. The best I can do is to narrow it down to two. The Jackson 5 is my favorite Motown group. The Temptations’ “My Girl” is my favorite song. But – ack! – I also love the Supremes. . . and the Martha and the Vandellas’ song “Dancing in the Streets” . . . and I’m in love with anything by Stevie Wonder. . . and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” . . . and. . . and. . . I want all those oldies, but goodies!!