Hilde Lysiak was 7 years old when she started her own newspaper, the Orange Street News. Last year, at age 9, she attracted national attention after reporting on a murder. Now, with her dad, Matthew Lysiak, she’s written Hero Dog (Scholastic, September 2017), the first in the Hilde Cracks the Case early readers series featuring Hilde and sister Izzy. In Hero Dog, the young journalists race to crack a case of stolen baked goods, save the local baking competition, and write their story, all before deadline. Our digital catalog, Growing Minds spoke with the Hilde about her new series and her love of reporting. Read the interview below.
What prompted you to publish a newspaper?
I guess you could say newspapers are in my blood. My dad was a reporter for the New York Daily News. I used to travel all around the country with him when he would report the news. Sometimes I would even get to help him on assignments. Going with him was always a fun adventure and something I looked forward to. It was like solving mysteries and I never knew what would happen next.
What do you like about being a reporter?
There are a lot of things to like about being a reporter. I am nosey and like asking questions. And I love the idea of getting the news to the people. Selinsgrove didn’t have its own newspaper before I began the Orange Street News.
How did the idea of a book/series come about?
After I started my newspaper, kids from all around the country began contacting me and
telling me how much I inspired them. I was really flattered, but it was important to me for them to understand that they could do great things, too. These books show how kids really can do great things — not just in journalism, but in everyday life. I hope each book also shows kids how they can start their own newspaper, which I think is really cool!
Where did the idea come from for the Hero Dog story-line?
Hero Dog is based on a real story I reported after a dog foiled a robber on my street. It was one of my first exclusives. All the adult media were trying to get the details, but I was the only one who cracked the case. We even kept the name of the dog the same in the book — Zeus! But I don’t want to give too much away. All I’ll say is that the story takes a lot of twists and turns that involve stolen cupcakes, a cherry pie, a chase and a group of shady kids known as the “Mean-agers!”
How does writing a book compare with writing newspaper articles?
Writing newspaper stories is all about getting facts to the people. My readers know that everything they read in the Orange Street News is true. What I love about writing Hilde Cracks the Case books is I get to take true stories and turn them into fictional stories. I like to give each story a fun twist! Before I start working on each book, I re-read the news story we are going to use for that book and I think, okay, how could I make this more fun?