Henry Holt, Inc., Winter, 1997
The idea for Being Youngest started out with my sense of kids’ feelings of injustice in the world. Everything seems so unfair! I think we adults sometimes underestimate just how intense those feelings are, and I wanted to write a book in which those feelings had a chance to air. Then I thought, what if I also turn this into a kind of parody of what some people call today’s ‘victim mentality’? We blame our misfortunes on so many things, why not blame them on being the youngest kid in the family? What evolved is the story of Henry and Gretchen. Of course, there’s a touch of the Hansel and Gretel story behind their adventures, and as I started writing I also discovered that I also wanted to uncover a story of true childhood friendship.
Was I the youngest sibling in my family? Oh yes.