Writing From Opposite Sides: Jodi Picoult Asks the Big Questions

We’re forging ahead in our For the Love of Books series, and today we host one of the most distinctive and decorated novelists of our time, a woman who challenges us to chew on why we believe what we believe: New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult. For more than twenty years, Jodi has brought us novels filled with moral questions, and has presented fully-fledged characters we find ourselves having empathy for, even if we don’t agree with their choices. Jodi models this mindset in her own life as a self-described “accidental activist.” Her latest novel, A Spark of Light, tells a powerful story around an abortion clinic. Jodi talks about the research that went into the novel, and she and Jen lead us into a complicated discussion around the topic that will have us all asking the big questions, and give us insight into differing perspectives. And if you’re a fan of Jodi’s books like we are, you’ll enjoy some behind-the-scenes glimpses into her blockbuster bestseller My Sister’s Keeper, where we hear Jodi’s rationale for that amazing, heart-stopping ending that made Jen bawl in the bathtub.

Books as Mirrors and Windows: Kwame Alexander’s Identity Through Words

Our book series is in full swing, and we’re loving the conversations about reading and how words help us voice what really matters to us! This week’s guest is author, poet, and educator Kwame Alexander. And if you’ve never been into poetry, Kwame is here to change your view. He believes poetry is powerful enough to change the world, inspire our youth—even woo a spouse (He wrote his now-wife Stephanie a poem a day for a year. Let the collective swooning begin!). Kwame is the New York Times bestselling author of 28 books for children, teens, and young adults, but his path to becoming a published author wasn’t all flowers and love poems. Kwame shares how his Newbery-winning novel The Crossover faced 22 rejections before a publisher finally picked it up, and the tenacity it took to keep saying “yes” in a sea of “no’s.” Kwame reminds us that so much of our ability to develop an imagination and know our place in the world comes from the pages of a book. His love affair with words will ignite each of us to pursue stories that heal us, move us, and change us.

Use Your Words to Raise Your Voice, with Kathy Khang

There’s never been a time when words matter more. They have the force to spark ideas, to build, to topple the status quo. Words enter the world when you use your voice. But what is your voice? For some of us, we’re not even sure what our voice sounds like, let alone how to use it. That’s why we’re pleased to welcome writer Kathy Khang, our second guest in the For the Love of Books series.

Kathy has struggled with speaking out for her entire life. And despite having so many things to say, for ten years Kathy wrestled with finding the courage to write her new book Raise Your Voice. Today Jen and Kathy talk about raising our kids to have a voice, using our voice in this culture, and the tension that comes with it. Kathy reminds us what we have to say is worthy, it matters, and it’s powerful.  We all benefit when we learn how we can use our voices to do great good in the world.

Bringing Your Story to Life: Imperfect Courage with Jessica Honegger

Welcome to a brand spanking new series that we are just tickled to launch—For the Love of Books! It’s not like we don’t talk about books all the time anyway, but now we’re dedicating an entire series to officially having amazing conversations with writers, storytellers, lovers of books, and today’s guest, who’s a first-time author: Jessica Honegger from Noonday Collection! Ever wonder how the writing process takes place? How to go from an idea in your head to holding your book in your hands, a book that could possibly be the next bestseller? Jessica’s new book, Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared, just came out, and we’re going to hear all about how it came to life.  For anyone who’s itching to tell their story or step toward the life they’ve only imagined, listen up: this is the episode for you.