This Sunday we’re celebrating Father’s Day! So, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I invited my friend, critique partner, and author of over 25 books for kids, Chana Stiefel, to join us and share some of her writing life and history behind her picture book, Daddy Depot.
When did you know you wanted to write for children?
Way back when I was at NYU Journalism School, studying Science, Health, & Environmental Reporting, I got an internship at Scholastic, which was down the block. I immediately became hooked on writing for kids. The internship developed into a job editing Scholastic’s Science World, a hands-on classroom magazine that makes science fun for kids. When I left Scholastic, I continued to freelance and started writing books for kids. Writing for children makes me see the world in a whole new light. I love exploring new topics for every new project.
What inspired the idea for your picture book, Daddy Depot?
One night, I was putting my daughter to bed. She was 7 at the time, and for reasons I can’t recall, she was very mad at her dad. She said, “Let’s return him to the Daddy store!” We started to laugh and made up a story about a girl who returns her father to the Daddy Depot. After bedtime, I ran downstairs and started to write. Daddy Depot was my first fiction picture book. The first drafts were over 1,000 words, had too many characters, and were written in terrible rhyme. But I persisted and learned the ropes of writing picture books. And eight years later, Daddy Depot was published by Feiwel & Friends.
Were there any surprises along the way from the point when you started writing your book to the moment it was published?
Yes! Daddy Depot was my learning book. It was also the book that landed me my first agent. And I was surprised at how long the process took—four years from contract to publication! Now I’ve come to understand that that can be typical in this industry. Live and learn!
Can you share something interesting or unexpected most people don’t know about you?
I love nature adventures. I have hiked on glaciers, watched Kilauea erupt into the sea, snorkeled in Molokini Crater, and ziplined over a cloud forest in Costa Rica.
Title – Daddy Depot
Author – Chana Stiefel
and illustrator – Andy Snair
Published by – Feiwel and Friends – 2017
Suitable for ages – 3-5
Topics – Dads and humor
Lizzie loved her dad, but he was always watching football.
“Dad! Check out my new ballet twirls.”
“You’re a star, Lizzie… TOUCHDOWN!”
Amazon Review HERE – Come to Daddy Depot! The Dad Megastore! From Acrobats to Zookeepers, we have the perfect dad for you! Exchange your old dad for a brand-new one. . . TODAY!
Lizzie loves her dad, but he tells the same old jokes, falls asleep during storytime, and gets distracted by football while Lizzie does her ballet twirls. When she sees an ad for a store called Daddy Depot, she decides to check it out―and finds dads of all kinds! Will Lizzie find the perfect dad? Join her on this sweet and silly adventure that celebrates fathers with lots of love.
“This father and daughter are a perfect match!” —Publishers Weekly Review
“This colorful, humorous tale is sure to be a read-aloud hit.” —School Library Journal
Why I like this book— Although I never thought to trade in my dad for a different or better dad, I loved the humor in Chana’s picture book, Daddy Depot, and understood why Lizzie wanted to exchange her silly dad for a “perfect” one. Lizzie goes so far as to load her dad in a wagon while he’s sleeping and pull him over to the Daddy Depot in hopes of trading him in on a better dad. Like Lizzie, I’ve thought that certain things in my life weren’t as perfect as they could be and considered exchanging them for replacements only to discover, as Lizzie did, that what I already have is exactly, perfect for me.
Until next Friday.