Each week, freelance writer and lifelong bookworm Alli Hoff Kosik will challenge a guest to reread a literary throwback or to experience for the first time ever a book they may have missed as a kid. After that, they'll be asked to spill all the feels and all the opinions about that book on the air for your podcast-listening pleasure. Every Tuesday, you can find us breaking down an old school read from our tween and teen days on a new episode of the show. We'll cover everything from The Baby-Sitters Club to Holes, Nancy Drew to Harry Potter. This time around, we're a little wiser (yay!), a lot older (ugh.), and of legal age to drink wine... so we'll have a lot to say. Happy Reading!
Episode 129: The Mouse and the Motorcycle (with Anand Kalra)
Strap on your motorcycle helmets and get ready to take an adventure with Ralph S. Mouse! On Episode 129, Alli and her guest discuss Beverly Cleary’s 1965 middle grade novel The Mouse and the Motorcycle. They chat about mice in kid lit and do an extensive compare and contrast between Ralph and Stuart Little. They talk about the fun of stories that take place in a hotel setting and the challenges of discussing nostalgia. They consider The Mouse and the Motorcycle as a fantasy story and the book’s more gendered elements… and so much more!
Anand Kalra is the founding director of Uncaged Librarian Arts & Information, which produced Octavia of Earth, the documusical inspired by the life of sci-fi luminary Octavia E. Butler. Follow along on Instagram (@uncagedlibrarian) and Facebook.
Episode 128: Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps 37) (with David Luzader)
It’s the second week of Manuary, the second episode of 2021, and Alli’s second-ever experience reading one of R. L. Stine’s beloved Goosebumps books!
On Episode 128, SSR takes a spooky look at the seventh book in the iconic series, Night of the Living Dummy, in which we meet a very famous ventriloquist dummy named Slappy. Alli and her guest discuss their personal feelings about and experiences with ventriloquism, the portrayal of sibling rivalry in the book, and the suspension of disbelief necessary in the horror genre. They also chat about the genre, more generally.
David Luzader is an improv comic, long-time podcaster, and winner of America’s Next Top Podcasters Season 2. His two current podcasts are Hit Me One More Time and Movie Go Round. Follow David on Twitter (@davluz).
Episode 127: Because of Winn-Dixie (with Hunter McLendon)
Happy 2021, friends!
SSR kicks off a new year and the third annual Manuary with a conversation about Kate DiCamillo’s award-winning middle grade novel Because of Winn-Dixie. Published in 2000, the book tells the story of a young girl named Opal who navigates life in a new town — among a colorful cast of characters — with the help of a dog named Winn-Dixie. On Episode 127, Because of Winn-Dixie inspires conversations about everything from Dave Matthews and empathy to toxic masculinity and pet personalities.
Follow Hunter McLendon on Instagram (@shelfbyshelf), Twitter (@shelfbyshelf), and YouTube (Shelf By Shelf). Check out Shelf by Shelf for reviews, book discussions, and more.
Episode 126: Listenersode #2!
Once again, we’re inviting SSR listeners on to the show to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences about the books they loved most as kids… and maybe even some of the books the podcast has ruined for them. (Sorry!)
Enjoy this special episode — and happy new year! See you in 2021!
Episode 125: Esperanza Rising (with Marci + Ako from Colored Pages Book Club)
It’s the final ~official~ episode of 2020, and Alli and her guests are turning their attention to Pam Muñoz Ryan’s 2000 middle grade novel, Esperanza Rising. This beautiful, meaningful book touches on themes of immigration, family, race, class, mental health, the patriarchy, privilege, and so much more. Don’t miss out on this 2020 grand finale, featuring a very special, award-winning book.
Check out Marci and Ako’s bi-weekly podcast, the Colored Pages Book Club. Follow the show on Instagram (@thesecoloredpages) and Twitter (@TheColoredPages).
Episode 124: Ballet Shoes (with Jenny Bayliss)
In the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly shares her love for the “Shoe books” by Noel Streatfeild. Her favorite, she says, is Ballet Shoes — and since we are *big* fans of Kathleen Kelly around here, it’s time to tackle it!
On Episode 124, Alli and her guest Jenny Bayliss dive into the world of the Fossil family — Pauline, Petrova, Posy, and their caretakers Garnie and Nana. They talk about the pressures the sisters feel to support their family, the way they embrace found family, and the various forms of privilege they straddle. They discuss the way misogyny presents itself in Ballet Shoes and the hints of progressivism they find in an otherwise fairly classic book.
Jenny Bayliss is the author of The Twelve Dates of Christmas. Follow her on Instagram (@jennibayliss) and Twitter (@BaylissJenni).
Customer ReviewsSee All
Insightful and Fun!
I love love love SSR and Alli! Her discussions on YA past and present are so thoughtful and eye opening. Because of this podcast, I think more critically about books for young audiences and their impact on development.
YA Books Matter
Love this podcast! I read Art Matters by Neil Gaiman and found his emphasis on the importance of giving great books to kids inspiring. So I started re-reading books I read as a kid to see how well they held up. This podcast was such a great find as a companion to that and also helped me narrow down which ones are worth re-reading. Also love New Reads November because I think we tend to always recommend the same books to kids over and over when there are so many amazing new (often more diverse) books out there that would be captivating to younger generations.
Reliving and treasuring my 90s Bookshelf
This podcast feels like I’m back in the best parts of middle school, wandering my library to find faraway friends in the pages of books, and reminds me how so many of my book heroines still live within me to this day. Love this memory lane and reawakening, love Alli’s intelligence, and love this reading rainbow bridge.
Please do Secret Attic club, and of course of Wizard of Oz!