An Interview with Karina Yan Glaser

by | Oct 21, 2018 | Books, Interview, Reading | 6 comments

I grew up reading stories about families full of entertaining siblings, and it was a delight to discover Karina Yan Glaser’s new middle grade novels! The Vanderbeekers books have quickly become some of my favorites; their timeless storylines and sweet, humorous characters remind me so much of the children’s classics I’ve always loved! I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Karina, and I’m pleased to share her thoughtful answers!


What inspired you to write a book with such a lovely, old-fashioned feel?

I was a huge reader growing up, and some of my favorite books were All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, The Moffats by Eleanor Estes, and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. Revisiting those childhood favorites as an adult inspired me to write a story with an old-fashioned feel but in a contemporary time.

What are some of the most exciting things that have happened to you since the first Vanderbeekers came out?

So many things! I have loved watching young readers discover the Vanderbeeker books. It was very cool to see the book reviewed in The New York Times and to be chosen as a New York Times Notable Children’s Book. Amy Poehler and her production company optioned the film rights, which was amazing. And the second Vanderbeekers book, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden, hit the New York Times bestseller list!

I heard that your first book started as a NaNoWriMo project. What advice do you have for writers who want to try NaNoWriMo?

My advice is to keep writing even when you think your writing is terrible. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write a first draft (which will be terrible). You can fix everything when you’re revising!

As a child, what were your favorite books?

I loved New York City stories like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Who are your favorite middle grade authors?

I have so many! Jacqueline Woodson, Celia C. Perez, Sarah Mlynowski, Sydney Taylor, Mildred D. Taylor, Susan Tan, Debbi Michiko Florence, Jake Burt, Hena Khan, Victoria Jamieson, Cece Bell, plus so many more!

Who is your favorite character in the Vanderbeekers books?

I can’t choose – I love them all!

My favorite author is L.M. Montgomery. Have you read any of her books?

I love her books! The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden has a quote from Anne of Green Gables in the front.

I love all of the mentions of the music that Isa plays on her violin—I’m an enormous fan of classical music. What is your favorite classical piece? 

I enjoy all sorts of classical music. I think my favorite collection is Rachel Barton Pine’s American Virtuosa: A Tribute to Maud Powell album.

I’m so excited for the third Vanderbeekers book! Are you hoping to write any more in the series? Or do you have other middle grade projects in mind?

I have another standalone book currently contracted with my publisher, so I’ll be working on that next.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for having me on your blog!


Many thanks to Karina for participating in this interview! I can’t wait to read her next book. 🙂


  1. Marion

    Very interesting interview. “A Tree Grows IN Brooklyn is one of my family’s favorite books. We were surprised when it came in #13 on the great readers poll on PBS. Never thought it was that popular.

  2. Joan

    Thank you for the interview with Karina Yan Glaser. Her books are something that would interest me.

  3. Marilyn

    “The Vanderbeekers” look like the kind of books that I enjoy. Will check them out.
    Thank You for the very interesting interview.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thank you for reading, Marilyn! Hope you like the books!


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