beth-goobie

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Touring In: Manitoba

Craft: author

Genre: junior fiction, YA, teen, hi-lo

Ideal Audience Size: 10-50

Maximum Audience Size: 100

Grades: Grades 6-12

Special Equipment: A flip chart, blackboard or whiteboard.

2014 Silver Birch Express Award Honour Book
2013 Saskatchewan Young Adult Book Award Finalist

Presentation Information

Beth’s presentation runs from sixty to ninety minutes, depending upon the needs of the venue. It can be moderated so that it would appeal to a Grade 6 to 9 audience, or one that is exclusively high school. If the age group is younger, she would focus predominantly, or even exclusively, on two of her hi/lo Orca Soundings novels, Something Girl and Sticks and Stones. This is a presentation she has made frequently to Grade 6 to 9 groups (even a Grade 5 class in Hay River, Northwest Territories), and the feedback that she has received from the venue hosts runs as: “I thought that was awesome!” (Middle Lake, Saskatchewan, school principal) “That was very powerful. It could not have been better.” (North Battleford, Saskatchewan, school counsellor and librarian) The presentation starts off with a description of how Beth got into professional writing, and she gives some tips on what to do now as a teenager, if you want to become a pro writer later on. Then she talks about how two major illness (at age 24 and 30) that she thought would destroy her life actually ended up leading her directly toward a writing career. (One of these illness left her legally blind in her left eye, and she had to stop reading for pleasure for 12 years!) After this, Beth describes some of her books, and focuses in on Something Girl, which is about a teenage girl dealing with physical abuse at home, and Sticks and Stones, which deals with verbal sexual harassment by school peers (being called a “slut”). The focus of this section is one of speaking to truth, and the strength that comes with talking about personal trauma. In connection with this, Beth mentions that she was physically and sexually abused as a child. She does not go into any detail about this, and if the host is uncomfortable with her mentioning this much, she has no problem with abstaining from it.

The second presentation that Beth can make will include a much briefer discussion of Something Girl and Sticks and Stones, then move on to a discussion of The Pain Eater, which deals with sexual assault, specifically that of a 14-year-old girl named Maddy Malone who has been gang-raped by school peers, and hasn’t told anyone. Statistics tell us that this is the case for approximately 90 percent of rape victims. Maddy’s family is loving and supportive, but she withdraws from them and her friends, and begins to burn herself with cigarettes to keep the traumatic memory of the rape at bay. Then two of the boys involved in her rape turn up the following term in her English class at school. None of the boys appear to have told anyone about the rape, and they have pretty much left Maddy alone since it took place, but now they begin to harass her again. At the same time, the class is given an assignment in which each student, in alphabetical order, is required to write a chapter in a “collective novel.” This novel is called The Pain Eater. At its inception, it isn’t connected to Maddy’s situation, but as it progresses, word of the rape leaks out, and the novel becomes a forum for the class to voice its views on Maddy as rape victim. In the process, two girls in the class befriend Maddy, and manipulate the chronology of events so that Maddy ends up writing and delivering the final chapter in the class novel, so giving the last word.

The Pain Eater was inspired by the Rehtaeh Parsons case. Beth’s intention in writing it was to explore the reasons why rape victims do not report their experiences to the police, or even to loving, supportive families – because the memory of the rape is so traumatic, they can’t bear to even think about it, much less tell anyone. Beth’s CCBC tour presentation on this novel would include a reading that describes Maddy’s emotional state at the beginning of the novel, as well as some of her coping mechanisms. Beth would also read the first chapter in the English class’s collective novel, which is written by the girl sitting next to Maddy. However, Beth would like to stress to any potential venue host that while rape is a very serious topic, it is important to keep the young, highly impressionable age of an adolescent audience in mind. The Pain Eater never gives any details about the rape itself, other than that Maddy was raped by three boys, while a fourth held her down and a fifth watched. Beth’s choice to avoid graphic detail was intentional, due to the age of the intended readership. In addition, she would like to add that there is a lot of humour in the novel – much of the story takes place in Maddy’s English class, and involves regular adolescent-type interaction between her classmates. This would also be part of Beth’s reading. And so Beth’s presentation would balance the need for a serious approach to the topic of sexual assault and its effect on the victim, with the normal, healthy adolescent need for humour and ordinary, everyday “life stuff.” Context is everything, and Beth is open to any suggestions a venue host would have with regards to what they feel is appropriate for their particular students or library audience.

Book List

The Pain Eater (Second Story Press, 2016)

The Throne (Red Deer Press, 2013)

Jason’s Why (Red Deer Press, 2012)

Born Ugly (Red Deer Press, 2011)

Hello, Groin (Orca Book Publishers, 2006)

The Dream Where the Losers Go (Orca Book Publishers, 2005)

Something Girl (Orca Book Publishers/Soundings Series, 2005)

Fixed (Orca Book Publishers, 2004)

Flux (Orca Book Publishers, 2003)

Who Owns Kelly Paddik? (Orca Book Publishers/Soundings Series, 2003)

The Lottery (Orca Book Publishers, 2002)

Sticks and Stones (Orca Book Publishers/Soundings Series, 2002)

Kicked Out (Orca Book Publishers/Soundings Series, 2002)

Before Wings (Orca Book Publishers, 2000)

Mission Impossible (Red Deer College Press, 1994)

Biography

Beth Goobie grew up in Guelph, Ontario. She has wanted to be a writer since she started to read, however she didn’t join her high school writing club, nor did she do much creative writing until her late twenties, when she took four creative writing courses at the University of Alberta. After high school, she lived in Holland for one year, where she worked as a nanny and learned Dutch. Then she moved to Winnipeg, where she earned a B. A., with a major in English Literature. Following this, she spent 5 and a half years working in locked and open residential treatment centres for teenagers and children. In 1989, she became very ill with the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it was during this period that she wrote her first books. Actually, she talked her first few books onto tape, then transcribed them onto a typewriter, and eventually, onto a floppy disc. The first book that she talked onto tape, Mission Impossible, went on to be short listed for the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature and win the R. Ross Annett Award. By 1996, she had essentially recovered from CFS, and had also seen her first eight books published.

In 1996, Beth moved to Saskatoon, where she continues to live. Since 1991, she has had 24 books published, 18 of which are for young adults. Many of her books deal with issues of bullying, domestic violence, and peer sexual assault, including her latest novel, The Pain Eater.

Awards

The Throne

  • High Plains Book Awards Young Adult Book finalist

Jason’s Why

  • Silver Birch Express Award Honour Book

Born Ugly

  • Pennsylvania School Librarians Association’s Young Adult Top 40 List
  • Kobobooks website number one recommended Contemporary Teen Novel
  • Westchester Fiction Award (American), Honourable Mention
  • Saskatchewan Young Adult Book Award short list

Hello, Groin

  • Top Ten List for the Pennsylvania School Library Association
  • White Ravens list (International Youth Library, Munich)
  • American Library Association’s “Rainbow Project Roundtable” list
  • Teen Top Ten List (American) nominee
  • Canadian Library Association “Young Adult Book Award” nominee
  • Resource Links “Year’s Best”
  • Saskatchewan Children’s Book Award short list
  • City of Saskatoon Book Award short list
  • Our Choice Award

The Dream Where the Losers Go

  • New York Library “Books for Young Adults” list
  • TAYSHA (Texas) nominee
  • Top Forty List for the Pennsylvania School Library Association
  • American Library Association “Best Book” nominee
  • Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book Award short list
  • Saskatchewan Children’s Literature Award short list
  • City of Saskatoon Book Award short list
  • Our Choice Award

Something Girl

  • Stellar Award (B.C. teen reader’s choice award) nominee
  • American Library Association “Quick Picks”
  • Resource Links “Year’s Best”

Fixed

  • Saskatchewan Children’s Literature Award

Flux

  • Saskatchewan Children’s Literature Award
  • New York Public Library “Books for the Teen Age” list
  • Our Choice Award, Starred Selection

Who Owns Kelly Paddik?

  • TAYSHAS (Texas teen readers list)
    Our Choice Award

The Lottery

  • Napa County Reads reading list (California)
  • Ottakar’s Children’s Book Prize short list (England)
  • White Ravens List (International Youth Library, Munich)
  • Kliatt Magazine Editor’s “Hardcover YA Fiction Best of the Year” list
  • American Library Association “Best Books” nominee
  • White Pine Award honour book
  • Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award short list
  • Snow Willow Award short list
  • Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award short list
  • Our Choice Award, Starred Selection

Sticks and Stones

  • A Girl’s Point of View book club list (Maine, USA)
  • Amelia Bloomer List (American Library Association)
  • American Library Association “Quick Picks”
  • Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award short list
  • White Pine Book Award short list
  • Our Choice Award

Kicked Out

  • Pennsylvania School Library Association “Top 40”
  • American Library Association “Quick Pick”
  • Our Choice Award
  • Resource Links “Year’s Best”

Before Wings

  • Teens’ Top Ten List (American Library Association)
  • Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book Award
  • Saskatchewan Children’s Literature Award
  • Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature short list
  • Mr. Christie Book Award silver finalist
  • Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature nominee
  • Top 100 Children’s Books of 2001 (Capitol Choices)
  • Pennsylvania School Library Association “Best Books”
  • American Library Association’s “Best Books for Young Adults” 2002 nominee
  • Sunburst Award finalist
  • Resource Links “Year’s Best”
  • Snow Willow Award short list
  • Our Choice Award, Starred Selection

Mission Impossible

  • Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature short list
  • Ross Annett Award (Alberta)
  • Our Choice Award

Praise for Beth Goobie

“We had selected Ms. Goobie because we felt that her novels she had written were based on material that our students could relate to as the topics were of issues and concerns that are present in many of their lives … After Ms. Goobie’s presentation we had many students request that we order more of her novels for them to read in our library … I would not hesitate to recommend Ms. Goobie to present her writing to other students.”
—Natalie Chupik, Biggar Central School 2000 (Biggar, Saskatchewan)

Beth is very comfortable working with and speaking with teenagers and they respond well to her. Beth is not afraid to broach the touchier topics and speak about them. During her author reading, Beth spoke about issues such as sexuality and bullying with care and in the appropriate context. Her openness and willingness to answer questions allows for open dialogue with a teen audience.”
—Barbara Wurzer-Cey, Alice Turner branch, Saskatoon Public Library (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)

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