Jeanie: I’m Jeanie Phillips. Welcome to #vted Reads. We’re here to talk books for educators, by educators, and with educators. Today I’m with Annie Brabazon, and we’ll be talking about No Fixed Address by Susin Neilsen. Thanks for joining me, Annie. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Annie: Hi Jeanie, thanks for having me. I am a school librarian at Grand Isle School. We’re currently a K-8 school. At the end of this year, we will be becoming a K through six school. I’ll be starting my ninth year in the fall. Prior to that, I was a public librarian for a while and then prior to that I worked in Higher Ed and student affairs. I’m on the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Committee. This is my third year. I’ll be stepping off at the end of this spring. It’s been a really great pleasure to be able to dive into a bunch of books and work with a committee of readers to figure out the best books that we want to present to kids in our community.
Jeanie: You guys do an amazing job at that. I always love the list and we’re going to talk more about that list at the end. But let’s start by introducing this fabulous book, No Fixed Address. I loved it so much. I read it in a day and I wondered if you might start by introducing us to our charming narrator, Felix.
Annie: Yes, I’d agree he’s really charming! Felix Knuttson, he’s 12 and I think he turns 13 in the course of the story. He lives with his mom who prefers that he call her Astrid, because she thinks “Mom” and “Dad” might create a little bit of a hierarchy http://besthookupwebsites.org/datehookup-review/, and she’s not really into that. And he’s a smart kid. He’s a really funny kid and he’s a really, really sweet kid that has to do a lot of adult things and kind of be the adult in his relationship with his mom. More than a kid should have to be.
…and his quirky family
Jeanie: Yeah. He has kind of an out of the box, non-heteronormative family. Do we want to talk a little bit about his family circumstances?
Annie: Sure. So, his mom, Astrid is not in a relationship with anybody. She goes in and out of different relationships. But that’s not really the main focus of the book. His dad is someone who he hears from once in a while, but is a gay man who donated his sperm to Astrid so that she could have Felix. Again, I think with both his parents, Felix kind of has to be the adult in those situations. His dad is a struggling artist who is, I think caught up a little bit in finding romance in his life a little more than he is in consistently being a part of Felix’s life. Felix is forgiving and understanding about that. More than I think, if that were me in that situation, I think I might be.
Astrid is a mom who has a hard time holding down a job. She can’t always hold back what she’s thinking and feeling. And it doesn’t always work well in jobs that in particular involve customer service component to them. So she might lose jobs pretty frequently throughout the story. She struggles with depression. Felix calls it her slumps. And when those happen, he again has to step up and really be the parent and the adult in that situation.