A Distant Vacation + A Famous Bookstore = Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday

I was away last week on a much-needed vacation. I traveled to a city where architectural wonders rose around me as I ventured down narrow, cobblestone streets. Everywhere I turned, views left me breathless and reaching for my camera. Late one afternoon, I rode up an elevator with my family that carried us closer to the clouds and revealed an unforgettable 360-degree sight of this bustling city that never sleeps.  I toured museums, boasting treasures I had only seen in books but now stood before in awe. I tucked into tiny shops filled with tantalizing delights. I ate in restaurants that offered unbelievable, culinary masterpieces for the tummy and the eyes!

A famous store in this city made it high on my must-see list.

Misleadingly small on the outside, but filled with a labyrinth of book-filled rooms on the inside is how I would describe the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris. 

When I packed my suitcase for this trip, I brought as little as possible so as to leave as much room as possible for a few Parisian souvenirs. I imagined strolling along the Champs Elyse’es, saying, “Oooo-La-La!” each time I fell in love with a sweater, purse, or scarf. Maybe I’d bring home a small replica of the Eiffel Tower to sit beside me at my desk or a box of utterly-divine chocolates. Instead, I needed to borrow space in my husband’s suitcase for the stack of books I couldn’t resist. 

The interesting detail about the book I’m sharing with you today is that I purchased it without knowing what the story was about. For the first time, I didn’t read the synopsis, and I didn’t read a single word on any page; instead, I became intrigued by the cover illustration, opened the book to the first page, and knew I wasn’t leaving the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore without this treasure.

Title – How the Stars Came to Be

Written and illustrated by – Poonam Mistry

Published by – Tate Publishing -2019

Suitable for ages – absolutely everyone – children and adults

Topics/Theme –  Folk tale, how the stars came to be, father and daughter story

Opening – In a time many years ago, there was only the light from the Sun and the Moon. There once lived a Fisherman’s daughter who loved to feel the light on her skin. During the day she would dance and play, weaving in and out of the Sun’s rays.

Amazon Review HERE –  Have you ever wondered how the stars came to be in the sky?

The Fisherman’s Daughter loved to dance in the sunlight and bathe in the glow of the moon. But when the moon disappeared for a few nights each month, she worried about her father and how he would find his way home from the sea in the deep darkness. When the sun finds her sobbing one night, he takes one of his rays and shatters it onto the ground, creating the stars and giving the girl the task of putting them into the dark night sky. This beautifully illustrated story gives us a new folk tale, and a new way to look up at the night sky.

Learn more about Poonam Mistry HERE.

Sit back and watch this youtube video, filled with illustrations by Poonam Mistry HERE.

If you have an extra moment,  I’ve included 16 photographs from my vacation.

PARIS 2019 PHOTO ALBUM

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The famed Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

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Notre Dame

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tree-lined lane near the Pont Alexandre III Bridge

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Irresistible pastries

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View from the Arc de Triomphe

2097

Inside the Louvre

2019

Streets at Montmartre

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A Parisian sight

1998

Windows at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

1983

Sacre’ Coeur Basilica

(21)

A decadent chocolate dessert

(20)

Pont Alexandre III Bridge

(19)

Tuileries Garden

(18)

Rue du Petite Pont

(16)

Me at the Eiffel Tower

(15)

An amazing Cappuccino

Au revoir until next Friday!

Need a Friend? Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review Shows You How.

Let’s travel back in time…

I was a couple of months into first grade. My friends from kindergarten and I were a year older, ready to say goodbye to little kid activities like stacking blocks and hello to reading Sally, Dick, and Jane books. Except instead of joining my friends on their first-grade adventure, I had more than stacking blocks to say goodbye to.

My family was moving, and I’d never see any of my friends again.

My childhood was not the age of cell phones, texts, and Instagram posts.  Sure, I could have written snail mail letters, but let’s not forget that I was just learning to write my name and spell simple words, so writing newsy letters to keep in touch wasn’t an option.

Moving meant starting from scratch.

Of course, all of the kids in my new homeroom had playground buddies and knew who would trade pudding cups for Ding Dongs while I was clueless who would want to trade me ANYTHING for my salami and parsley sandwich -guaranteed to leave flecks of green between your teeth. Yes, I was the only kid who survived elementary school without ever having a normal, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also didn’t get to wear jeans, but that’s another story…

Looking back, I wish today’s picture book, Neville, existed when I was six. The main character, in this adorable book by Norton Juster, figures out how to make friends in a most ingenious way. Yes, it would take courage, but boy does this kid’s method work!

In case you’re wondering where you heard the name, Norton Juster, he is the well-known and beloved author of The Phantom Toll Booth, The Hello, Goodbye Window, and many more remarkable books.

Title – Neville

Written by – Norton Juster

Illustrated by –G. Brian Karas

Published by – Schwartz and Wade Books -2011

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/Theme –  Moving and making friends

Opening – The big gray van pulled away from the curb, moved slowly down the street, and disappeared around the corner. Now it was quiet, and there he was, where he really didn’t want to be.

Amazon Review HERE – Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this Amazon Best Picture Book of the Year is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that’s great for storytime, and is sure to be a hit among fans of Juster, Karas, and anyone who is “the new kid on the block.”

“[T]his ingenious foray into breaking into a new neighborhood makes for an amusing and appealing story.” —School Library Journal

Learn more about Norton Juster in this video interview HERE.

Enjoy this Q & A with G. Brian Karas HERE.

Did your family move when you were growing up? If you have a memory you’d like to share, I hope you’ll include it in the comments.

Until next Friday!

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, you’ll meet a man who knows the names of EVERYTHING!

I was on one of those baking-hot family vacations, back in the days when having air conditioning in a car was optional. Seriously. My sister and I were probably the only kids at school whose parents would not spend the extra dollars to have it installed.

“Roll down your window,” they’d say, “and poke your head out if you’re hot.”

Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but the coolest air my sister and I enjoyed in the back seat was called WD50 which translates to windows down at 50mph.

I’m remembering one vacation out in Colorado when we drove through the Rocky Mountains. The meadow flowers bowed in the breezes, the sun blazed over us, and the views were spectacular. Up in the passenger seat, my mother glanced up from her map to gaze out the window. (Yes. These were the days before cell phones. How did we manage to live back then???)

“STOP!” my mom ordered. “There’s no one behind us. Back up about one-hundred feet, and pull over.”

Of course, we all thought Mom had spotted an injured animal and asked what we were backing down the mountain to rescue.

“I saw a (insert LONG Latin name of a botanical species found in Colorado EXCEPT at that particular time of year).”

Dad pulled over. Mom popped the trunk and pulled out a small pail and trowel. (These were standard equipment in our car when traveling with my mother.) Mom marched up the hill, flashed us her triumphant smile, knelt, and dug up the rare species to bring home for her rock garden. I don’t think there was a plant she didn’t know the proper botanical name for. That goes for bird names, too.

As always, my story ties in with today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review. Yes, my story was about my mother, who, like my dad, amazed me with all she knew–just like the child in today’s book who feels amazement at his father’s extensive knowledge.

My Father Knows the Names of Things is written by Jane Yolen, the beloved, award-winning children’s author of more than 370 books and illustrated by the imaginative, award-winning illustrator, Stephane Jorisch.

Title – My Father Knows the Names of Things

Written by – Jane Yolen

Illustrated by –Stephane Jorisch

Published by – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers – 2010

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Learning, sharing, father and child time.

Opening –

My father knows the names of things,

Each bird that sings,

Their nicknames, too,

He knows the names of dogs

And cheese

And seven words that all mean blue.

Amazon Review HERE – From each bird that sings, to every kind of cloud, to all of the planets, the father in this story knows the names of them all–and takes the time to impart his knowledge to his child. As they walk together outside, the father points out which mosses are the fuzziest and which insects are the buzziest, which flowers are the tallest and which beetles are the smallest. Jane Yolen’s lyrical text is complemented by Stephane Jorisch’s soft artwork, a pairing that is touching without being overly sentimental, which makes this the perfect choice for fathers and children to share.

Learn more about Jane Yolen HERE.

Learn more about Stephane Jorisch HERE.

Until next Friday!

Things Are Heating Up This Perfect Picture Book Friday With A DRAGON!

Have you ever wanted something so much but having it was impossible because an obstacle stood in your way? I’m not talking about the agony of climbing up a bean pole that’s growing through the clouds, getting past a starving giant (unnoticed), and snatching his golden goose. No, nothing challenging like that.

In the case of today’s book for Perfect Picture Book Friday, our main character, Duncan, desperately wants to read a book all the way through to those two wonderful words, ‘The End,’ but something keeps stopping him.

What could possibly stop Duncan from finishing a book?

I’m glad you asked. Well, Duncan happens to be a dragon–the FIRE BREATHING sort who has a habit of turning his books into ashes. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, but I will say that the solution to Duncan’s problem is so picture book perfect, I recommend you read this book to find out how he solves his heated dilemma.

Title – Duncan The Story Dragon

Written and illustrated by – Amanda Driscoll

Published by – Alfred A. Knopf – 2015

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Reading, determination, and friendship

(Isn’t this the cutest illustration?) 

Opening – Duncan the Dragon loved to read. When Duncan read a book, the story came to life… and his imagination caught fire. Unfortunately, so did his book. (In the land of picture books, I call this a perfect opening to a perfect book.) 

Amazon Review HERE – Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately . . . so does his book. Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milkshake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends? This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milkshakes!

Learn more about Amanda Driscoll HERE.

Check out this seriously adorable Fire Breathing Dragon craft project on YouTube.

Until next Friday!

Anything Is Possible this Perfect Picture Book Friday.

We all know what it’s like to have a dream we desperately want to come true. I’m not talking about the dream of a weed-free garden, a fridge filled with veggies that won’t spoil, or a dog that won’t need taking out in the middle of the night. I’m talking about those dreams that feel unobtainable no matter how much we want them, no matter how hard we try to make them happen, no matter how powerfully we visualize them becoming real. We might draw a picture of our dream and tape it on the fridge or bathroom mirror where we will see it every day. Some days, looking at the picture fills us with determination and drive while on other days, just glancing at that picture fills us with anguish because nothing we have done is getting us any closer to our dream.

But then…

We reach out to someone. We share our impossible dream. We talk about our struggles and steps we’ve taken toward holding our dream. And they say the words we’ve been aching to hear.

“I know how you can get there.”

And with their wisdom, a handful of encouragement, some fresh ideas, and a new perspective…

DREAM = REALITY!

And that is what today’s book for Perfect Picture Book Friday is all about.

Title – Anything is Possible

Written by – Giulia Belloni

Illustrated by – Marco Trevisan

Published by – Owlkids Books, Inc. 2013

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Perseverance and teamwork

Opening – This is the story of a sheep who, from the top of her hill watched the birds fly and thought to herself: “How lucky they are! They can choose how they look at things: from far away, from up close, or from somewhere in between.”

Amazon Review HERE – The sheep in this story is a dreamer, while her friend the wolf has a more practical disposition. One day the sheep runs to the wolf with an idea. She wants to build a flying machine! But the wolf tells her it’s impossible. Eventually, however, the sheep’s dream gets the better of the wolf’s doubts, and they begin to work on the project together. Through perseverance and the process of trial and error, the sheep and wolf manage to create a winning design, brought to life by architecturally and mathematically inspired paper collage art. At the end of this whimsical tale, even the wolf has to admit that anything is possible!

Why do I like this book? This book serves as a reminder to children and adults that the dreams we believe are impossible aren’t if we have faith in our abilities, focus on the steps to get us there, and a friend who can lend some wisdom and a hand. The story also reminds us that it’s okay to ask for help and that when the answer to a problem isn’t clear, two minds are often better than one.

Learn more about Giulia Belloni HERE.

Learn more about Marco Trevisan HERE.

Until next Friday!

Messes aren’t always disasters. See why this Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I’m pretty sure many of us could look back to our childhood years and identify a little, and hopefully a lot, with Jamie, the main character in today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection, Down Here by Valerie Sherrard.

Jamie is a little boy with a big imagination. He sees the world in ways grownups no longer can. Where his mother sees a mess of blankets thrown over chairs, pillows piled up precariously, and a toboggan IN THE HOUSE, Jamie sees a castle where knights tame dragons to roast marshmallows. Don’t you already love this kid?

Although I never played with imaginary knights and dragons when I was little, I did play under the dining room table. I’d imagine the long tablecloth, that swept down to the floor, made the walls of my secret room. I would dump out my box of Legos and build a small village for my dolls. Some days, I’d pull my little, wooden stool under the table and pretend it was an artist’s table. I’d spread out my paper and crayons and color pictures of my family and flowers. Then, I’d tape up my mini-masterpieces to the underside of the tablecloth to decorate my secret room. Minus the dragons, I was a little like Jamie. Maybe that’s why I love today’s book so much.

Title – Down Here – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Valerie Sherrard

Illustrated by – Isabelle Malenfant

Published by – Fitzhenry & Whiteside – 2015

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Imaginative play, looking at things differently

Opening – Everyone is good at something.

My sister Lynn is good at drawing cats. Our fridge is covered with her pictures!

My brother Marcus is good at telling scary stories. Mom claps and says he will be a great author some day.

I am good at building. I can build ANYTHING! There is only one problem.

Why do I like this book? I had forgotten, until my daughter was about two or three, that everything around me can be seen from more perspectives than simply straight on or from top-down. My little girl walked and crawled close to the ground, she could see the undersides of furniture, the undersides of the dog’s belly, and the underside of a skirt on a mannequin at Macy’s… But that’s another story. Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection, Down Here, reminds us not to be quick to judge until we have looked at something from all sides. I call that a great reason to like love this book.

Learn more about Valerie Sherrard HERE.

Learn more about Isabelle Malenfant HERE.

Are you interested in ideas to encourage imaginative play? You’ll find ten HERE.

Until next Friday!

We’re peeking into Grandma’s Purse this Perfect Picture Book Friday. :)

My grandmother’s purse was nothing like the enormous, treasure-filled bag in today’s picture book, Grandma’s Purse, by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. My grandmother preferred a small, tan, leather clutch with a delicate snap closure to keep her few necessities near. Although she never emptied out her purse, like the grandmother does in today’s book, I was naturally curious to see inside and often leaned over to peek when she removed a lace hankie with her initials embroidered at the corner, her compact mirror engraved with a bouquet of her favorite violets, or a small comb. Despite the petite size of her clutch, my grandmother found space for her coin purse and a few wrapped, lemon candies she shared with me.

If your grandmother had a treasure-filled purse, like the one in today’s book review, I hope you’ll share in the comments a few of the special items she packed that brought you smiles.  🙂

Title – Grandma’s Purse

Written and illustrated by – Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Published by – Alfred A. Knopf -2018

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics –  Grandmothers, playing dress-up, sharing.

Opening – Today my grandma Mimi is coming to visit. When Mimi comes over, she always has a new treasure to share. And no matter what it is, it comes from inside her purse.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE. Spend the day with a grandma and granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in their favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma!

When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there–fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic!

In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary.

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Why do I like this book? Vanessa is both a gifted storyteller and a brilliant illustrator.  With just the right expression, the perfect head tilt, and swing of clothing, she brings to life all of the enthusiasm and delight one little girl feels when her grandmother comes for a visit. Each picture is loaded with sweet details to keep the most fidgety of listeners engaged. And for the adults reading this book, this story serves as a sweet stroll down memory lane.
Watch Vanessa Brantley-Newton read her book on YouTube HERE.

Learn about Vanessa Brantley-Newton HERE and HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

Did your grandmother keep fun treasures in her purse? Candy? A small present? Photographs of her loved ones? I would absolutely love to hear some of your treasured “Grandma’s purse” memories in the comments.

Until next Friday!

Telephone – a fun game and picture book this Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I was one of twenty-three fidgety kids lined up between the overflowing supplies cabinet and the smelly, gerbil cage in Mrs. Larson’s third-grade class, waiting for instructions on how to play this game.

“Think up a message,” Mrs. Larson told the first student in line, “and whisper it to the person standing next to you. Keep the message going down the line to the last person. He’ll tell us what he heard. Then, we’ll see how close it is to the original message.”

Of course, knowing the end message was expected to be a far cry from the original words, most kids tweaked more than a few words while whispering their ear-tickling messages behind cupped hands.

This fun game of Telephone is the basis for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF) review.

Title – Telephone

Written by – Mac Barnett

Illustrated by – Jen Corace

Published by – Chronicle Books – 2014

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  listening skills

Opening –  Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.     Tell Peter: Hit pop flies and homers.

Amazon Review –  View it HERE.  It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.

Why do I like this book?  What’s not to love about a book that takes the adult reader back in time while introducing kids to a marvelously funny game? Jen Corace’s, crisp, colorful illustrations are expressive and humorous – the perfect pairing for an ever-changing, off-the-charts, funny picture book by Mac Barnett.
Watch the book trailer HERE.

Learn about Mac Barnett HERE.

Lear about Jen Corace HERE.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

What childhood games are you fondly recalling? I’d love for you to share them in the comments

Until next Friday!

Don’t Feed The Bear – Review + Winner Today on Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Last Friday, I interviewed Kathleen Doherty about her path to publication with a look behind the scenes at the inspiration and creation of her picture book, Don’t Feed The Bear. Today, as promised, I’m giving you a peek inside this hilarious book. And don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom to find out the name of the lucky, hat-picked recipient who won a copy of Kathy’s book!

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As a kid, I couldn’t resist flopping on the living room rug with a bowl of pretzels to watch cartoons. I giggled through The Flintstones, admired Judy’s fashion sense on The Jetsons, and had my funny bone tickled as Yogi Bear and Boo Boo tried to fool the ranger. It’s this last cartoon that came to mind as I read Kathy’s picture book, Don’t Feed The Bear. Take one oversized bear and one petite, stout ranger, both with ravenous appetites for camper’s goodies and both determined keep the other from getting any, and you’ve got a laugh a page picture book!

Bear and Ranger are two desperate characters that will stop at nothing to get all the camper’s handouts for themselves. And I mean, they will stop at nothing! Creative signs, a war of words, a spritz of paint… Who’s going to win? You’ll have to read this book to find out. 

No picture book is complete without perfect illustrations, and with the award-winning art of Chip Wass, who designs characters and illustrations for Disney, Nick at Nite, Cartoon Network, and more, Don’t Feed The Bear is a super-duper, picture book treat! 

Title – Don’t Feed The Bear

Written by – Kathleen Doherty

Illustrated by – Chip Wass

Published by- Sterling Children’s Books – 2018

Topics – Compromise, fairness, and getting along.

Opening – Bear loved when campers left him grub.

Mac and cheese…carrot cake…meatball stew!

Early one morning, Bear heard SMACKITY! SMACK! WHOMP!

He clomped off to investigate.

Synopsis from AmazonMac and cheese, Carrot cake, Meatball stew: Bear loves when campers leave him grub. The park ranger does not. Smackity smack, Ranger pounds a sign into the ground: DON’T FEED THE BEAR! Upset—no more chewy cookies? No more juicy burgers?—Bear quickly crosses out the “don’t.” Now, it’s war in the park! But when both Bear and Ranger end up losing out, will the two antagonists finally call a truce? With its delightfully cartoonlike pictures and clever wordplay, this picture book will keep kids laughing for hours.

Why do I like this book? Bear and the ranger aren’t your typical picture book characters. These two are snarky, sneaky, and utterly creative when it comes to outsmarting the other. Armed with a bunch of signs sporting well-chosen words, a little spray paint, and some markers, Bear and the ranger learn an important lesson. And seriously, when you read this book, get ready for laughs!

Now for the winner of Kathy’s book.

Please put your hands together for Patricia Tilton!!!

Learn more about Kathleen Doherty HERE.

Learn more about Chip Wass, illustrator HERE.

Until next Friday!

Kathleen Doherty – Author Interview and Book Giveaway of Don’t Feed the Bear

As I found an open seat on the last day of the three-day, Marvelous Midwest SCBWI Conference last month, I had the joy of sharing a table with picture book author, Kathleen Doherty. As children’s writers, we fell easily into conversation and talked about the stories we love to write, what we’re currently working on, and she shared some of her “behind-the-scenes” journey for writing Don’t Feed The Bears (like receiving her publisher’s acceptance for her manuscript while enjoying an Alaskan vacation!) Then, I asked if I could interview her and follow up the next week with a review of her book.

She said, YES!  

When I came back home, one of the first things I did was purchase a copy of Kathleen’s book, read it (of course), laughed like crazy at the zany antics between the bear and park ranger in the story while I wondered how a picture book could be written in such few words and tell such a thoroughly entertaining story.  I LOVE IT!!!

From Kathleen’s website –

Kathleen Doherty is a Reading Specialist and an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s written standardized test items for Pearson, Inc. in alignment with the Common Core Standards. She’s also won the Highlights Pewter Plate Award, the Highlights Celebrate National Poetry Contest, and received a letter of merit from SCBWI’s Magazine Merit Competition.

Kathleen donates 100% of her author earnings to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

THE INTERVIEW

Me: Some writers have always known they wanted to write picture books while others stepped onto this path after having children. Can you take us back to the moment when you knew you wanted to write for children? 

Kathleen: The idea to write a picture book sparked years ago while I was working on my master’s degree in reading and taking a children’s literature class. My professor’s love for children’s books was palpable. I remember wondering why he never wrote a book . . . and I told myself someday I would.

Me: What were the first steps you took to begin your writing journey?

Kathleen: I was first published in TIME Magazine with a letter to the editor. It was so much fun seeing myself in print, I started to pursue writing. I took classes from the Institute of Children’s Literature, Highlights Foundation workshops, and joined SCBWI.

Me: What is the most challenging aspect of writing a picture book? 

Kathleen: It’s difficult to write a tight story using creative language  . . . to make sure there are 14 different page spreads . . . and to include a twist at the end.

Me: For each manuscript I’ve written, I remember the Ah Ha moment that sent me running to type up my ideas. Can you tell us what inspired you to write your picture book, Don’t feed The Bear? 

Kathleen: While visiting Alaska, I saw signs that said Don’t Feed the Bears. I began to play “what if.” What if campers were feeding a bear. What if the bear could read and got angry seeing the ranger pound a Don’t Feed the Bear sign into the ground. What if the bear retaliated….?

Me: What surprised you most on your writing path from the book idea to its publication? 

Kathleen: I had an agent at the time who turned down my manuscript. She said Don’t Feed the Bear was a cute story, but she didn’t think it would sell. So I was free to submit it myself. It sold to the first editor I sent it to.

Me: If you could go back to the first months on your writing journey, what important advice would you love to give yourself?

Kathleen: Play with words, experiment, and take risks. Confidence, skill, and voice will develop with practice.

Me: Where do you most love to write and what makes this place special to you? 

Kathleen: I have a comfy leather chair with an ottoman and a tray for my computer. It’s a special place because it’s my favorite room. Can you tell I love clocks?

Kathleen Doherty-sm

Me: Some authors take one year to write and polish a picture book manuscript while others write and edit over many years. What was the time frame for writing Don’t Feed The Bear? 

Kathleen: It took about six months to write and revise Don’t Feed the Bear.

Me: In your story, Bear’s favorite grub campers leave him are mac and cheese, carrot cake and meatball stew? What are your favorite foods to snack on while you’re writing? 

Kathleen: Ha! No crunchy Cheetos. No chocolate covered peanuts. No chewy caramels. Just fruit. Boring.

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Me: What was the best comment/reaction you have received from a child about your picture book? 

Kathleen: At one school visit, a little girl was waiting in line to get her book signed, and she was jumping up and down saying, “I just love my mother! I just LOVE my mother! She bought me a book by a real live author!” [as opposed to a dead one]

Me: I’ve often imagined sipping coffee in a small café when an author I admire breezes in and happens to sit at my table. Which author would you love to chat with over coffee? 

Kathleen: Kevin Henkes. . . Kevin, if you’re reading this, I’d even buy lunch.

(On a side note, Kevin Henkes is the picture book author and illustrator of Chrysanthemum, Lily’s Big Day, A Weekend With Wendell, Owen, and many more. And frankly, I’d love to chat with him over a cup of coffee, too.)

Me: Can you share something interesting or unexpected most people don’t know about you? (A hobby? Something on your bucket list that you did or hope to do? An unusual pet you had or have?)

Kathleen: Years ago, I ate fried mealworms and a chocolate covered cricket at Purdue Lafayette’s Bug Fest. I wrote a story about the experience and sent it to Highlights Magazine. But the story never sold. Blech.

If you’re interested in reading other interviews with Kathleen or reading reviews of her book, click on the links below. 

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kathleen-doherty/dont-feed-the-bear/

https://picturebookbuilders.com/2018/04/dont-feed-the-bear-a-giveaway/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHRjxfThM4k

https://redreadinghub.blog/2018/06/19/dont-feed-the-bear/

http://literallylynnemarie.blogspot.com/2019/01/ppbf-dont-feed-bear-by-kathleen-doherty.html

https://www.nightbuddiesadventures.com/childrens-literature/all-you-need-to-know-about-the-world-of-bookstagram/

https://readitdaddy.blogspot.com/2018/06/dont-feed-bear-by-kathleen-doherty-and.html

You can connect with Kathleen on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

And now for the Giveaway!

One lucky person who leaves a comment will receive a copy of Kathleen’s picture book, Dont’ Feed The Bear. I’ll announce the winner on next Friday’s Perfect Picture Book review of this very book!

See you then!