Tracey Baptiste is the New York Times bestselling author of Minecraft: The Crash. She is also the author of the popular Jumbies series including The Jumbies, Rise of the Jumbies, and The Jumbies God’s Revenge. She has written several other fiction and nonfiction books for children.
Corinne La Mer’s heart beat like wild drums as she ran through the forest. Her bare feet stumbled over the dead leaves and protruding roots of the forest floor. She strained her eyes in the dappled sunlight to keep track of the small, furry agouti that scampered away from her. Occasionally, light glinted off the smooth rock tied to the animal’s hind leg. It called to Corinne like a beacon. When she got close enough, she pounced on the ’gouti and missed, grabbing only a handful of dirt. Corinne grunted and threw the dirt aside. The animal ran beneath a bush and Corinne squeezed down to the damp earth to crawl after it. Her skirt got caught on branches, but she ripped it away, determined to reach the animal. On the other side, the creature cowered against a rock and the roots of a large tree. In her eleven years of life, Corinne had learned that with nowhere to run, a wild animal might try to attack. She hung back.
SG: What was your path to becoming a children’s book writer?
TB: Since I was really little, I wanted to write. Being little, you don’t know there’s a difference between writing for adults and writing for children. The first book I tried writing was an adult romance novel. I was 12—it was awful. It was about me and my best friend living in nearby apartments. Then I read Rosa Guy’s The Friends, which mirrored my experience as a new immigrant living in Brooklyn, trying to acclimate to a new culture. It spoke to me so much that I decided to write for kids just like me.
Minecraft: The Crash raises several interesting topics. We all know that games can be useful educational tools. But can they also be used for therapeutic purposes? Bianca is a strong and resourceful character, but also extremely stubborn. She has a lot of questions, but after a while, it’s clear to see she’s neither physically nor mentally prepared to handle many of the answers awaiting her at the end of her journey. She frequently gets into arguments with her companions, especially Esme, whose personality clashes strongly with our protagonist’s. Anton is like the mediator of the group, who tries to defuse tense situations and get everyone to work together. Still, despite the constant conflicts and infighting, our characters’ time in the game ultimately becomes both a learning and healing experience—for all of them. While adventuring through Minecraft together, they had inadvertently created their own little support group.