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Monday, July 6

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Feature Mon Jun 07 2010

Answers and Questions: Claire Zulkey

Humorist Claire Zulkey -- author of 2009 YA book An Off Year -- hasn't gotten too many bizarre in-person questions from readers, but, for some reason, she gets "occasional emails from people asking [her] to help do their homework for them."

In 2002 after children's author Bill Peet died I wrote a little online personal essay memorializing him. Just a few weeks ago I received the following email: "My daughter is doing a report on Bill Peet and we came across your article with your email address. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions she had. First, where did he die and how? Second, his brother's name was O.H. Do you know what that stands for? Third, what was his mother's name? I hope you can help. She is really interested and her teacher suggested that they have this in her report."

Most often I don't know the answer to these questions, but even if I did, I am too mean to help (although I plead ignorance). When I was young, I had to do my work the hard way, by going to this crazy place called the library or looking it up in the encyclopedia, which is sort of like an ancestor to Wikipedia.

(Zulkey may not be an encyclopedia, but I'm definitely using her rankings of World Cup uniform cuteness to help me decide which teams to put money on.)

 
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