5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Elly Swartz

A few weeks ago I FINALLY read Elly Swartz’s Finding Perfect. It seems like my friends have been raving out it forever, and I’m glad that I finally took their advice and read the book. Finding Perfect is awesome. If you haven’t read it, you should probably change that.

Elly was kind enough to answer a handful of my questions. You’ll find the interview below.


5,4,3,2,1 Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about Finding Perfect? (5)

To Molly Nathans, perfect is:

  • The number four
  • The tip of a newly sharpened number two pencil
  • A crisp, white pad of paper
  • Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Slam Poetry Contest. Complicating Molly’s plan, is that Molly has undiagnosed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and as time goes on, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep her world from spinning out-of-control.


2. What is best part about being an author?  (2)

Hands-down connecting with readers! Nothing makes my heart happier than hearing readers share their personal connections with Molly and her journey.

3. What’s the hardest part of being an author? (3)

Authenticity comes from fully embracing the emotion my character is experiencing as I write. So when that character is in a dark place, those moments are hard. When writing, Chapter 36, My Numbers are Showing, the mom part of me wanted to scoop in and hug Molly, but my writer side had to feel Molly’s despair and vulnerability, and allow her the space to discover her own strength.

4. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick? (1)

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson.


5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom? (4)

Dream big! Work hard! Follow your heart! And embrace the journey!


Curriculum Guide


Librarian and Educator Giveaway


Unfolding Identity Project


Finding Perfect Audio Trailer







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