Monday, May 24, 2021

Kathryn Erskine's "Lily’s Promise"

Kathryn Erskine is the author of several acclaimed books for young adults and children, including the National Book Award–winning middle grade novel Mockingbird.

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Lily's Promise:
Like many writers, I see my stories unfold in my mind like a movie. Sometimes, I even have a particular actor in mind. Lily is a shy 11-year-old who must attend school for the first time after years of being homeschooled by her dad, who recently died. Her “promise” was to her dad—that she would learn to speak up. As it turns out, she also uses her voice to help others.

Here’s the cast of main characters: I would love to throw them together and see what they come up with!

Lily: Isla Johnston could play a shy Lily very well, as well as the Lily who, on occasion, loses her cool and, in the end, learns to speak up, fulfilling her promise to her dad.

Hobart, Lily’s quirky best friend: Iain Armitage has played a different kind of quirky character in Young Sheldon, but I have no doubt he could play the exuberant, naïve Hobart with great skill. I suspect he could even do a Manitoba Tuck, Hobart’s favorite move in his beloved sport, curling.

Dunya, recently immigrated from Iraq: Maryam Kanj (in the film, The Present). Kanj is not a trained actress, but obviously a natural. Dunya is a key character because, in addition to being a role model for Lily, she’s also the reason Lily feels the need to speak up—to support Dunya and her family against the slurs of the bullies, both children and adult.

Skylar, a shy boy whose family is undergoing severe economic hardship: Cameron or Nicholas Crovetti, accomplished actors who could play the depth of emotion and suffering Skylar is going through. Skylar is befriended by Lily, Hobart and Dunya, with Dunya, in particular, recognizing his plight and helping him out.

Zoe, a take charge girl who coordinates the friends’ student council campaign: Saniyya Sidney. Zoe has such spunk, and Sidney springs to mind, always bringing a smile to my face, the way Zoe does.

Ryan, the main bully: Brady Noon. He has a good “tough” look.

Brady, conflicted character who’d like to shed his bully persona: Oakes Fegley. He just screams “Brady” to me.

Mr. Hammer, cafeteria volunteer who bolsters the misfit kids: Anthony Anderson would be the perfect Mr. Hammer, a big personality who commands respect from the bullies and engenders devotion from Lily and the self-proclaimed group of “not popular” friends which, as Mr. Hammer says, makes them like 95 percent of the kids around them.

Mrs. Flippin (Lily’s mom) and immigrant lawyer: Mandy Moore. She’s loving and kind but also firm. She has high expectations for Lily, and everyone, which has the effect of giving others confidence that they can achieve those expectations.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathryn Erskine's website.

Check out Erskine's top 10 first person narratives.

Coffee with a Canine: Kathryn Erskine & Fletcher.

My Book, The Movie: The Badger Knight.

--Marshal Zeringue