When you were my age, did you like to read? I only liked to read books that I could picture in my mind. If I was reading and couldn’t come up with an image in my head, I lost interest immediately.
What was your favorite story? When I was your age, I adored Ramona the Pest and The BFG by Roald Dahl.
How do you get your ideas? I work with children of all ages and when I’m counseling them, ideas pop up that help them grasp an idea. Sometimes, I like the idea so much it becomes a story I can share with other people.
Is it hard to write a book? For me, the hardest part about writing a book is getting started. I have to think about what I want to say and how to say it just right.
Why do you think multi-cultural books for kids are important? We are all citizens of the world and we should know how people may do things or learn things differently. It brings us together and promotes a world of understanding, empathy, and caring.
What author do you really like right now? I adore JK Rowling, Neil Geiman and Terry Pratchett.
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?Go for it! Find an idea you find interesting and write it down. Put down the electronics, get out, explore, experience, connect with others and log it all in a journal. The the ideas will come flowing out of you.
Tell me a little about yourself:I am the author of over 20 picture books for kids. I love to read, travel, spend time with family, go to the movies, and talk to my dogs.
When you were my age, did you like to read?From as far back as I can remember, I loved reading and books. My first memory of a book was one my mom used to read to me called The Surprise Doll. When I was your age I liked reading Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
What was your favorite story?My favorite book when I was a kid is still one of my favorites today – Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Seuss
How do you get your ideas? I get my ideas from all sorts of people and places. I got the idea to write Gaston because I saw a super cute French Bulldog puppy on Youtube!
Is it hard to write a book? It’s not hard to write a book when I’m really excited about my idea but there are some days when I get stuck. When that happens, I usually take a break and read.
Do you have a favorite among the books you have written/illustrated?I get asked this question a lot and I honestly don’t have a favorite. They’re all special to me for different reasons.
What author do you really like right now? Just one?! That’s tough! I’m really enjoying Ryan Higgin’s Mother Bruce picture books right now. I’m also totally in love with Abby Hanlon’s Dory Fantasmagory books. See? That’s two. Sorry!
What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?Read! And then read some more. In order to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. Also, start drinking coffee.
Tell me a little about yourself I was born in South Korea, and moved to the U.S. when I was just 4 yrs old. I actually did not like books when I was little because I could not read them, and neither could my parents. We didn’t read or speak a word of English at the time. I actually learned a lot of English from watching Sesame Street. Even though we didn’t own many books at home, the few that we did have made an impression on me. I loved looking at the illustrations because you didn’t need words to understand them. I could make up my own stories! Enjoying the pictures made me want to be an artist myself. But I never dreamed that I’d be an author/illustrator of children’s books. That dream occurred to me only after college—as an adult!
How many books have you written & illustrated? Over 160… but I don’t know exactly. It’s hard to keep track after the first 100!
How did you become an author/illustrator? I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a kid. It was one thing I felt like I was good at and enjoyed. As I pursued art in my high school and college years, I learned that there weren’t many jobs out there for artists. I looked at children’s books and saw so much art in them, and it really appealed to me. I started off by illustrating very young children’s books that required very few words because I was still very afraid to write. It took me ten years of publishing before I wrote my first children’s story, “Penguin and Pinecone.” And now, I can’t stop!
Do you have a favorite book or character you have created? Penguin will always be my favorite book character of mine because it was my very first one. And he was inspired by my son, Max, who once brought home a pine cone he wanted to befriend.
Do you have words of encouragement for a kid like me? Whatever it is that you love, keep doing it! Don’t be discouraged no matter the obstacles you face. The biggest obstacle for most people is their fear of failing. Just remember that you HAVE to fail in order to succeed! You can’t have one without the other, so think of each failure as a step towards success!
Do you have a favorite author or illustrator? I have many, but at this very moment, I choose Peter Brown because I just finished reading The Wild Robot, and it was amazing! You should read it!
Why are you so awesome? I’m awesome because I don’t give up! I’ve received hundreds (maybe thousands) of rejections over my career, but I don’t let that stop me from doing what I love. I keep going until I get it right.
I spent the day in Washington DC. I started it like all kids do with Absolutely Mindy on Kids Place Live. Well, maybe not all kids are in the studio and joining her on the radio. She is just as silly in person!
Guy Raz was there too. I helped flush Guy down the portal potty. It is smaller than I expected. I had to climb on him to push him in. I almost fell in. I have already been flushed before. I didn’t need to go to Guy’s meeting.
Mindy and Guy looked just like I expected. Kenny Curtis snuck in to say hi. He looked different than I expected. I didn’t get to say hi to Lorenzo Llama or Dirk the fourth and forgotten chipmunk. I also met Tori, Mindy’s producer. She was cool!
Annoying Little Brother also got to be on air and talked about Tim Kubart of course. They even tried calling Tim but got his voicemail. Phew!
After our radio time, we went exploring. I saw the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building and the White House.
For lunch, we went to Kramerbooks. You can get books and food!
(PS, look who is in the bottom corner! Penguin!)
The last place we visited was the Zoo. I saw Pandas – both Giant and Red Tailed. I also saw elephants, seals, piranhas and bison. They also had statues made from trash in the zoo. They are to show people to stop throwing their trash anywhere and especially in the water.
I do have book recommendations for you. If you are going to DC, you could read Miroslav Sasek’s This is Washington DC. It is a bit old but you learn about a lot of the monuments.
This is Kelly Dipucchio up there ^.Kelly Dipucchio came to my school. We had an assembly for her and I wore a dress made out of crafty Chloe fabric. Crafty Chloe is one of the books she wrote. I like the book because Crafty Chloe is just like me. I like to do crafts, sew, paint, draw, and I also made a farm out of paint chips and made the farm house out of sticky foam. The fields of food and plants were paint chips.