What do you love most about picture books?
There are so many things I love about picture books, but probably the thing I love most is that a PB is a "shared" experience from the moment it's "born" until the moment it ends up in the hands of a reader. The book itself is a shared creation of the author and the illustrator. The author and the reader share the responsibility for bringing the story to life. And, most importantly, reading a picture book is a beautiful, shared moment between a child and an adult. PBs are shared, and everything in life is more enjoyable when it's shared...everything except dessert. :)
What do you love most about WRITING picture books?
I love that writing a picture book allows me to be endlessly creative. More and more, picture book authors are pushing the bounds of what a picture book "is", and this has created an environment where almost anything is possible. I love that! And as someone who could never settle on exactly what I wanted to "be" when I grew up, I love that writing picture books allows me to be part poet, part director, part artist, part teacher, part whatever I want to be!
Where do you get your ideas?
Ideas are the magical part of writing. I don't know exactly where I get ideas, but I do know WHEN. I get my ideas when I'm outside walking or running, or while I'm lying in bed half-awake half-asleep. I get ideas while I'm sitting outside listening to everyday sounds, or doing some mundane task around the house. Ideas just happen, but for me, my mind needs to be open and quiet to hear them.
Except -- let's be honest -- sometimes the ideas just don't come. When I'm really stuck, I take a break...or read, especially some Shel Silverstein. He always gets my imagination rolling again!
What was your favorite picture book growing up?
I was a big fan of MOTHER GOOSE nursery rhymes (still am), I adored Shel Silverstein (still do), and one book I remember so vividly I can still see the illustrations in my head was ANDY PIG'S GREAT FLYING ADVENTURE, by Marta Coci.
What picture books do you love right now?
The books I love most are the ones that my daughter and I BOTH love to read together. Right now, she loves books she can play an active role in. We love, SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN by Chris Haughton, GUESS AGAIN by Mac Barnett, and GOING ON A BEAR HUNT by Michael Rosen for this reason. If the book can get my daughter or my students laughing, dancing, or filling-in-the-blanks, it'll be a hit with me! We also love, love, love THIS IS IT by Daria Peoples-Riley, because my daughter is a born dancer, and this book is just be-au-ti-ful!