Meet Joshua Levy.
Joshua S. Levy was born and raised in Florida. After teaching middle school (yes, including seventh grade) for a little while, he went to law school. He lives with his wife and two children in New Jersey, where he practices as a lawyer. Unfortunately, outer space doesn’t come up in court nearly as often as he’d like. SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY is his first novel.
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Hi Josh! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi! Thanks for having me! I’m Josh, and my debut middle grade sci-fi novel, SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY came out on March 5!
What would an average school day, in space!, be like?
The thing about school in space—at least in the world (or universe) of SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY—is that it’s kind of the same as school back here on Earth. Tests. Assemblies. Homework. Model UN. Science Fairs. Peer pressure. Junior varsity sports leagues.
Sure, sometimes the kids play zero-gravity dodgeball. And sure, lunch is served by cranky robots. But kids are kids are kids. Here and now, or in space in 300 years. And kids have to go to school! (Until that school gets attacked by aliens and catapulted across the galaxy, of course. Then at least the principal might consider relaxing the dress code a little. Maybe.)
Where there any MG books that inspired you to write a MG novel?
Oh, absolutely. Middle grade fiction helped spark my love of stories and storytelling.
(That, and Star Wars.)
(Okay, fine. That, and Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.)
Louis Sachar. Ellen Raskin. CS Lewis. Middle grade is such an important bridge to lifelong reading. And it’s a privilege to contribute, even a little, to this space. (No pun intended?)
Did of your past students influence characters in SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY?
On an individual basis, the main characters in SEVENTH GRADE VS.HE GALAXY—Jack, Becka, and Ari—aren’t based on actual people. Maybe snippets of them are. They’re certainly mishmashes of students I’ve taught, and others (and maybe myself too). But the time I spent teaching absolutely influenced the students in this book. Each student is different. Each student has strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes they can put their best selves forward, and sometimes they can’t. But they all deserve good teachers, who care about their well-being and treat them as if they’re as important as anything else in this universe.
If someone wasn’t a huge fan of space, what would be one fact you’d tell them to change their mind?
What a fascinating question. I totally understand the premise, even if it makes me a little sad. (And not just because space is awesome.)
Here’s what I’d say: There are so many incredible stories out there, told in an infinite number of settings. And that’s what “space” is here. Another setting. Another venue to convey a story about kids and mystery and adventure.
You don’t have to be a huge fan of British boarding schools to like Harry Potter. You don’t have to be a huge fan of Long Island summer camps to like Percy Jackson.
Don’t worry, I’m not comparing SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY to those peerless stories, except in this way: I don’t think you have to be a huge fan of space to like my book. Although maybe, when you’re done, you’ll change your mind anyway.
If you could go to any planet for a day, what planet would you be visiting?
Real planet: Mars. (The others just aren’t hospitable enough?)
Real moon: Ganymede. Maybe Callisto. Something with a decent view of Juputer.
Fictional moon: Yavin IV. (Did I mention how much I love Star Wars?)
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Keep reading! Keep writing! And tell all your friends to do the same!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
SEVENTH GRADE VS. THE GALAXY is out tomorrow!