Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Which children's book author would you like to meet?

In the past few weeks I've gotten a change to hang out with Emily Gravett and Jennifer Holm, two of my favorite children's book authors. Stay tuned for details... including how long it took to write and illustrate Orange Pear Apple Bear and the name of the newest (and yet to be published) Babymouse book.

This got me to thinking. Due to a lucky combination of working in book stores, attending conferences, being active in the Kidlitopshere, and founding a book club, I've had the chance to meet many amazing authors and illustrators in the last few years. And, I hope to meet many, many more.

This leads me to ask a few questions.

1. Which authors\illustrators have you met or talked to via e-mail? Which experience were the most meaningful to you?

2. Which authors\illustrators would you most want to meet or to e-mail you? (Caveat: they have to be alive, so that it would actually be theoretically possible to meet them or receive e-mail from them).

I have to mull about my answer to Question 1 a little longer.
Question 2 is easy though. J.K. Rowling, of course.

How about you?


  1. Oh do tell about Gravett! I love her. I want to ask her for one of my seven-questions-over-breakfast interviews.

    I have gotten to interview a lot of great folks, but it was extended beyond-the-interviews conversations with Jack Gantos and Elisa Kleven and Nancy Crocker and Julie Paschkis that I cherish. Elisa and I are still email buds, and she's as kind and smart and funny and spirited as her books.

    Yet I also think it's easy for us to forget those authors and illustrators from the kidlitosphere who make themselves available on a daily basis, whose correspondence and blog posts also mean a lot. We tend to take them for granted maybe?? Or, rather, forget to list them, since we are already used to visiting them or talking to them via their blogs almost daily -- Sara Lewis Holmes, Adam Rex, Robin Brande, Liz Garton Scanlon, Grace Lin, and so many more I'm going to forget right here. I'm not only thrilled to have met them, but to be able to read their musings almost daily. What a gift to readers.

    I'd pretty much pass out at the opportunity to meet Sendak.

  2. And by "met them," I mean via interviews and their blogs and such. Unfortunately, I've yet to meet-in-person Liz and Grace....

  3. I've met and emailed with both John Green and Lois Lowry, as a result of the children's lit speaker series I coordinate. Both were awesome. I also got a lovely email from Philip Pullman once when I asked him to be our speaker (he said no, but very nicely). I think I still have the email. I got to email with D. B. Johnson last year when I interviewed him for Robert's Snow, and that was fun, too. Gail Gauthier and I have commented back and forth, and also Justine Larbalestier, and Julius Lester... wow, this is exciting to add them up!

    I'd love to meet Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, or J.K. Rowling in person. Lots of others, too...

  4. Jules- Emily Gravett was incredibly nice. And I totally agree with you about not taking advantage of the Kidlit authors. And yeah, e-mail generally feels like I've met a person too.

    Libby- welcome to Wizards Wireless! Thank you so much for commenting. It is exciting to add them up, isn't it? =)

  5. Hiya, Susan! Long time, we miss ya.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Jules Pfeiffer about 5 years ago, during a signing for "The House Across the Street".

    I knew Pfeiffer first as a cartoonist for the New Yorker, and Laura knew him as a Tom Stoppard-esque playwright.

    We both re-discovered him as a children's author, and was instantly smitten with this "new" line of work of his.

    Balding, with a fluffy white fringe of hair and beard, he was a joval curmudgeon. When we were getting our books signed, I asked him where the name "Halaroony" came from (the name of the odd floppy doll the big sister give the little sister in "I Lost My Bear," our favorite Pfeiffer story.)

    He slowly broke into a big grin, tilted his head to the side, thinking, and said with a warm smile, "I don't think anyone's ever asked me that question," and went on to explain that it was a nickname he had for his older daughter, Haley. He wanted to put her name in one of his books, cause he used the name of his other child in a prior book.

    He thanked us for bringing back a fond memory, and we left feeling all warm and fuzzy.


  6. I've met Laura Numeroff and Doreen Cronin at B&N book signings in Manhattan. They are both lovely and very genuine. I've also met Todd Strasser which was exciting because I used to read his books with my students when I taught at Lexington School for the Deaf years ago. He is a super great guy and we stay in touch by email. Who would I most like to meet? That's a tough one! I think it would be hard to pick anyone over J.K. Rowling, but if I had to I'd go with Mo Willems or Julia Donaldson.

  7. This one took some thinking. It's been starred in my reader for almost a week now.

    Picking an interview is hard. I've learned something from every one of them. But since I have to pick, I'll say Toni Buzzeo. She was one of our first interviews, was very gracious, did a great job connecting books and literacy, and, she's a library media specialist, too!

    For the second question, I'd have to say it's the interview that never was. At BEA, I was sitting in the backseat of Anastasia Suen's car, listening to her chat with Jane Yolen. I had JUST met them and felt completely like a geeky fan, so I didn't jump on every chance to ask questions. I'd love to do a retake.

  8. I've been pretty lucky in the whole meet-the-author/illustrator department. I used to tag along to the Children's Book Guild meetings when I was in library school in D.C., and then I got to be a librarian at the Central Children's Room while I was in NYC. Seattle is no slouch, either, when it comes to a concentrated proportion of writers and illustrators. The authors/illustrators I'd really like to meet now are the ones who are blogging in the Kidlitosphere: Robin Brande, Mitali Perkins, etc. I would like to meet Jane Yolen so I can thank her in person for something really nice she did years ago.

    I always assumed that I would cross paths with Trina Schart Hyman someday. Her death was hard for me.

  9. The only author I've actually met was Louis L'Amour, at a book-signing a few years before he died. I've talked on-line (e-mail, blog comments and/or Facebook) with several of the kidlitosphere authors: Robin Brande, Mitali Perkins, Sara Lewis Holmes, &c. The most meaningful contact, however, has been with S M Stirling - he's a very active member of the smstirling Yahoo group, talking about his books, asking for help with research for his books-in-progress, &c.

    Authors I'd like to meet? Most of them are dead, alas. Of the living ones, I'd say the ones I've already mentioned, plus David Drake and maybe Nix or Rowling.