#1--from his childhood:
Sailing toy boats
When I was small, palace carpenters made me toy boats. Sometimes these were made to resemble the barges that would carry crops and animals down and up the Nile from one settlement to another. Some were fully outfitted royal barges complete with sails and the poles used when the barge was moving up river. I started playing with these in the palace pools. Later, as I got better at loading them and maneuvering them, I would find a place near the palace where the Nile ran slower. There I would dig out canals for the boats to float in. Sometimes Ankhesenpaaten would help me. One time we had so many canals built that it took all afternoon for our crop barges and the royal barges to enter into the canal system and then sail through and re-enter the Nile. I loved those days with Ankhesenpaaten by the Nile.
#2—from his childhood
My nursemaid was Maya, but it was my Grandmother Tiye that I remember the most. She doted on me when she visited and showered me with motherly love. She appointed herself and her brother Ay as my protectors, but Grandmother was away a lot. After my father became Pharaoh, she continued to oversee the military as she did for my grandfather Amenhotep III. When I was small, she cut off a lock of her reddish-gold hair and concealed it inside of four small nesting sarcophagus coffins.
“Tutankhaten,” she said. “In the innermost sarcophagus I have placed a lock of my hair which rests underneath a solid gold statue of you. Keep the coffins safe and hidden in your room. They will protect you when I am unable to.”I thanked her and prized such a gift, not only for protection, but because my grandmother’s gift was wonderfully made. The outer sarcophagus was made of wood; the second of plaster covered with gold leaf; the third of wood which contained the solid gold statue of myself; the fourth again of plaster covered with gold leaf and containing my grandmother’s gift.
1. How is this book different from other Egypt books?
In Tutankhamen Speaks, King Tut tells stories of his life, his loves, and his losses.
2. How did you develop the idea of this story?
There are so many different ideas about Tut's life and especially how he died. After seeing the Tut exhibit in 2010, I thought it would be interesting to bridge the gaps in Tut’s history with his own stories of growing up.
3. When writing Tutankhamen Speaks, what was the hardest part?
The hardest part was walking that thin line between fact and fiction. Tutankhamen Speaks is historical fiction, but I needed to include enough factual information to make the fictional part plausible.
4. If you could go back in time to any place and/or time, when would it be and why?
I would go back to the ancient world and the civilization of Atlantis. I don’t know if Atlantis was real or not, but the literary descriptions of its beauty and of the depth and scope of the Atlanteans’ knowledge would make it one of the wonders of the ancient world.
5. Why do you think it’s important for children and teen books to have history in them?
Historical fiction allows young readers to go inside history instead of just looking through the window of the textbook. By encountering real people or fictional characters in a specific historical era, young readers gain a deeper understanding of the time period.
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