Before I get to my post today, if you missed it, please click over to Michael Gettel-Gilmartin‘s blog – PROJECT MAYHEM – for an interview Mr. Gettel-Gilmartin did with me! CLICK HERE TO GO THERE!


I write for the UBFP Newspaper!


I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the September 2014 issue! The print version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE – September hasn’t been published online yet, but it soon will be.

I hope you like this interview! I really enjoyed Mr. Acampora’s latest book I KILL THE MOCKING BIRD. I thought the situation the friends find themselves in was very realistic and I liked how Mr. Acampora puts the right amount of humor into the story at all the right places. I liked the feeling that the characters in the book really care for each other. At 177 pages it is a short read, but you sure get an excellent story in those pages. Plus the book has a cool cover. 🙂

Enough of me – on to the newspaper article!



Former kindergarten teacher and presently a full-time college development officer, Paul Acampora writes children’s books and stories in his spare time. Mr. Acampora was raised in Connecticut but now lives in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Acampora’s latest book is titled I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD (Roaring Brook Press (May 20, 2014)). The book is a middle grade novel about 3 friends and their school’s summer reading list. Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is on the list and was a favorite of the kid’s English teacher who suddenly passed away at the end of the school year. The friends hatch a plan to honor their teacher by getting everyone talking about and wanting to read the classic novel by making copies of the book scarce. As their plan starts to work, the kids realize they started something much bigger than they expected.


I really liked Mr. Acampora’s last book, RACHEL SPINELLI PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE, and was anxious to read I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD. Mr. Acampora has a great writing style and I was happy that he agreed to an interview about his latest book.

 bloglogo – I personally have not read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD yet. If you had to review it in one sentence, what would you say?


Mr. Acampora – Set in a largely racist, depression-era Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird is a beautifully written and powerfully told coming-of-age story featuring three young friends who experience joy and evil, kindness and stupidity, honor and tragedy, and lots more through their small town’s neighbors, family and friends.


 That is definitely going on my “to be read” list! How did you get the idea for I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD? It is a quite interesting plot idea and made a great adventure.


I keep a notebook where I play with words and make lists of funny phrases and crazy ideas. I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD was one of those phrases that sounded like it would make a good title. From there, I had to write the book to find out what it was about!


That’s cool how you came up with the title first and then wrote the book! The characters in I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD and your other book RACHEL SPINELLI PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE are very realistic middle school-aged characters. To portray them like you do, do you do research, or do you just write what seems natural to you?


Thanks! Mostly I just try to pay attention to the world. I always carry a notebook so that I can make quick word sketches of scenes that I see, and I’ll often jot down bits of conversation that I overhear. With those ingredients, I can start to create characters that look and act and sound real.


I love all of the humor in the book, and you even made me laugh during the more tense parts because of it. I loved the Christmas pictures scene, Fat Bob, the scene where Michael was reading FAHRENHEIT 451, and much more! Do you think that humor is important in books?


Yes! Humor is the basis of all civilization. If we couldn’t laugh, I think we’d just sit around and cry all the time, and then who’d have time for big ideas or great works of art? Who’d paint the Sistine Chapel? Who’d write the Declaration of Independence? Who’d put Disney’s Little Mermaid on ice? I think humor is important in every aspect of our lives. Books included.


Are you working on any upcoming projects that you would like to tell us about?


Mr. Acampora – I’m working on several projects right now including a couple novels and short pieces too. If they come together, you’ll see stories with a run-away grandma, a duck that thinks it’s a dog, a dinosaur obsessed waitress, a school play about battling lemonade stands, and hopefully lots more.

 To learn more about Paul Acampora and his books, please visit

 For more on books and reading visit my blog!

Categories: Newspaper Columns

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24 replies

  1. I am not allowed to kill birds. Mom always says the word, “Don’t you dare.” Whenever I try to catch one. I would like to read that book though. Maybe I’d get some tips….

    Love and licks,

  2. Wow, a kindergarten teacher and now a college development author/middle grade author? What variety! I love Harper Lee’s classic. (My review here: Makes this one sound double interesting to me!

  3. Ooo, since To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my most favorite books ever in the whole wide world this one is now on my TBR list. I cannot wait! Super interview, Erik!! Mr. Acampora seems so nice! He got a donut for the interview, I presume? 🙂

  4. Wow, what a great interview! I’m going to have to do that sometime. Why I never thought of that now kills me. 🙂 I Kill the Mockingbird is an interesting title. That alone peaks my interest.interest.

  5. Great interview! I love the way Mr. Acampora uses a classic to base a middle grade book on. The title is amazing.

  6. Great interview Erik! I’ll bet Mr Acampora’s book is attracting a lot of kids to the original Mockingbird book. That’s a good thing.

  7. great interview of an interesting book, just perfect for a book lover like you who I could say pulling off this exact stunt. 🙂

  8. What a great interview! I am reading To Kill a Mockingbird this month for my book club. I read it many, many, many years ago and I am looking forward to starting it tonight! 🙂

  9. Great interview Erik! What an interesting plot idea for a book. We like his thoughts on humor. 🙂

  10. Great title and cool interview. So agree with the importance go humor even in serious books!

  11. A super interview! Love that the author reveals how he listens in on conversations while taking notes!

  12. My 12 year old girl and I watched the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird (yes the black and white one) and ew both enjoyed it. I like that there is an entire novel written inspired by it – love the intertextual elements. 🙂 Great interview too, dear Erik! 🙂

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