Hello, Book Lovers! I’m Alvina Ling, Editor in Chief of LBYR. I oversee our trade publishing editorial side, and also edit books from picture books up to YA. I’ve been at LBYR since 1999. (I think I’m what’s called a “lifer”!) I absolutely love my job, and this company, and all my coworkers! And, the books and their creators, of course. Gotta love the books.
Favorite Book of All Time
Of course I love so many, so much. But, I can say that my favorite picture book as a kid was The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, and my favorite novel was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Favorite LBYR Book
This is an even harder question to answer. As an editor, I’m not supposed to have favorites! But, okay, since you twisted my arm, I’ll say The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin, because it’s partially my story, too. Grace and I were childhood friends, and this is a semi-autobiographical middle grade novel about her childhood, and I’m a character in the book—my character’s name is Melody Ling. I don’t know any other editors who had the privilege (or awkwardness?) of editing a book in which she’s a character! And, since this is a book that both Grace and I wish existed when we were kids, I feel like it’s a safe choice. Hard to believe that this book was published over 12 years ago!
Book(s) You Think Everyone Should Read
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Such a powerful, beautiful book. I think if everyone read this book, we’d have a lot more empathy and kindness in the world.
Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read for a While
I’ve started Moby Dick by Herman Melville maybe ten times in my life, which means I’ve read the first few chapters over and over. I think one time I made it halfway through before I stopped. And, I never stopped because I wasn’t enjoying it—I always thought it was brilliant, but for whatever reason, have never been able to finish it. Someday!
Favorite Book Cover
I’m loving both Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (designed by the talented Marcie Lawrence), and The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (designed by the amazing Sasha Illingworth). Both are so striking, beautiful, and memorable.
Unexpected Book that You Love
Not sure how unexpected this is, but in the past few years I’ve been on a huge Michael Connelly kick, mainly listening to his audiobooks. I’ve probably read at least ten of his books in the last few years. I also love Robert Galbraith’s (aka JK Rowling) novels. I love crime mysteries! Tana French is one of my favorite authors. And, of course I realize I didn’t answer the original question at all. Okay, I’ll give one specific title: I loved The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks as a kid. (I’ll bet that was unexpected after all of that lead-up!)