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On June 8, 2009, the ALA’s Great Stories CLUB sent me to Crossroads juvenile detention center in East New York, Brooklyn. ALA’s Lainie Castle put out a call to Penguin, my publisher, looking for the wonderful YA author Paul Volponi, to whom I am sometimes compared—a great compliment to me but maybe not so great for Mr. Volponi. Alas, Penguin’s author appearance coordinator, Emily Heddleson, said, “We don’t have Paul Volponi, but I can get you Paul Griffin. He will be more than happy to go.” And I was.
The Great Stories Club is organized by the American Library Association Public Programs Office (PPO), in cooperation with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Major funding for the Great Stories CLUB has been provided by Oprah’s Angel Network.