Scholastic is celebrating Black History Month in 2023 with Share Black Stories, a campaign showcasing books that center around Black lives and Black joy that will resonate far beyond a single month of the year.We interviewed Miles Grose, author of The Tyrell Show: Season One and Season Two, which follow Tyrell as he navigates life as a pre-teen. The funny and imaginative 11-year-old relives events in his life and copes with stress the only way he knows how ― through his imaginary “podcast” recording sessions, of course!
What inspired you to write The Tyrell Show?
My inspiration for writing The Tyrell Show stems from my years of working with children as a teaching artist. I facilitated social emotional theater-based workshops throughout the NYC school system where I worked with students from 5-18 years old. I was there to listen and to offer options, advice, and resources, but what I received back from them in the form of their stories, their strength, and their honesty always felt more rewarding than anything I gave them. A lot of what I learned from those years made its way into the books.
Tyrell’s family is important to him, and his parents’ advice could probably help kids and adults alike. What did you want to convey about Tyrell’s home life?
It was important to me that Tyrell’s household be a model of love, tolerance, and support. I grew up just like Tyrell and while I know many of the children that I’ve worked with over the years—as well as many of the young people who will read my books—have different situations, my hope is that the relationships that are reflected here are ones that are recognizable. And for those youngsters, or anyone out there for that matter, who don’t currently have healthy relationships in their lives, I hope that the ones in Tyrell’s exist as examples to appreciate, emulate, and/or ultimately seek out.
The books explore so much of Tyrell’s life, and we get to see him work through anxiety, excitement, sadness, and so many more emotions that everyone can relate to – what do you hope readers take away from watching him navigate these moments and feelings?
I hope readers are able to relate to Tyrell. While some of the situations he encounters are specific to him, my opinion is that the emotions he experiences are fairly universal. I want the readers to understand that they should never feel alone in their feelings. Additionally, as Tyrell copes with his issues and emotions, I hope the readers can find takeaways to help them deal with their own.
What was your favorite part of writing about Tyrell and Boogie’s friendship?
I love Tyrell and Boogie’s friendship. I think the saying, “You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends” is a powerful one and they most definitely chose each other. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that for me, while I have a lot of good friends, one of the best things that can happen in life is to find at least one great one. Tyrell and Boogie are great friends. Choosing the right friend—someone with a like mind; someone who respects you; someone who loves you; someone who earns your trust—is a wonderful thing! Boogie and Tyrell bring each other so much joy and it was a joy conveying that. And while it was a little tough writing about some of their rockier moments, I knew it was important to present a friendship like theirs in a realistic way.
What would you hope the takeaway would be for your readers?
One of my greatest goals in writing these books was to explore empathy. I think it’s one of the hardest concepts to teach and one that takes the longest time to learn. In ideal situations, children learn self-advocacy first and rightfully so, but when love of self is taught without concern for others, an imbalance occurs that becomes very difficult to recover from. I hope The Tyrell Show: Season One and Season Two provide laughs and entertaining moments, but just as importantly, I hope they provide teachable moments that are layered with empathy.