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Scott Simon (The Children's Book Podcast #576)

Recorded live at ALA Midwinter 2020, Scott Simon shares SUNNYSIDE PLAZA, his middle grade debut about a group home for developmentally disabled adults. The story is loosely based on Scott’s own childhood experiences and I think it says a lot about who we see and who we make invisible in our society. We recorded this conversation in front of a packed audience in a very, very noisy exhibit hall, but I think our voices come through clearly above the din of the giant room. And it’s a good conversation about a seldom-discussed representation in children’s literature.

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Sally Miyake can't read, but she learns lots of things. Like bricks are made of clay and Vitamin D comes from the sun. Sally is happy working in the kitchen at Sunnyside Plaza, the community center she lives in with other adults with developmental disabilities. For Sally and her friends, Sunnyside is the only home they've ever known. Everything changes the day a resident unexpectedly dies. After a series of tragic events, detectives Esther Rivas and Lon Bridges begin asking questions. Are the incidents accidents? Or is something more disturbing happening? The suspicious deaths spur the residents into taking the investigation into their own hands. But are people willing to listen? Sunnyside Plaza is a human story of empowerment, empathy, hope, and generosity that shines a light on this very special world.


Scott Simon (website)


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