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Q&A Blog

5 Favorites from . . . Baptiste Paul!

Baptiste Paul is a Caribbean-born author of three books for children. His debut picture book, THE FIELD, received starred reviews from Kirkus, The Horn Book, and Booklist. According to Kirkus, his co-authored book ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL, will "will pique readers' curiosity." His picture book biography, I AM FARMER, chronicles the work of Cameroonian environmentalist Tantoh Nforba. Born and raised on the island of Saint Lucia, Baptiste is a native Creole/Patois speaker who enjoys reading his books and sharing about his experiences with anyone who will listen. 

 

Here are Baptiste’s 5 Favorites:


My favorite place to write:

My basement

 

My favorite mentor text: 

Too many to choose. I like to experiment and play when I write. Some of my favorites are,  A LEAF CAN BE by Laura Purdie Salas, illus. by Violeta Dabija and POOR DOREEN: A FISHY TALE by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illus. by Alexandra Boiger

 

My favorite writing tip:

If something is not working, shelve the idea for later and write something new.

 

My favorite marketing tip:

Attend book conferences, do school visits. Just put yourself out there.


My favorite book event of the year:

Being on tour with Miranda Paul for our co-authored book I AM FARMER.

 

Learn more about Baptiste at his website

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5 Favorites from . . . Andrea Wang!

Andrea Wang is the APALA award-winning author of The Nian Monster. Her second picture book, Magic Ramen, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and received a starred review from School Library Journal. She loves to travel and sample new and unusual foods. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of her writing is about food. She is also the author of seven non-fiction titles for the library and school market. Andrea holds an M.S. in Environmental Science and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People. She lives in the Denver area with her family.

 

So what are Andrea’s 5 Favorites?:

 

My favorite place to write:

My big, cluttered-with-notebooks desk in my overflowing-with-books home office, with a window overlooking the yard where bunnies chase each other. 

 

My favorite mentor text:

This changes depending on what I'm working on. Right now it's A Very Wide Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. Everyone needs to read this book!

 

My favorite writing tip:

Allow yourself to be vulnerable in your writing.

 

My favorite marketing tip:

One of my agency-mates (I think it was Chris Barton) said something to the effect that the "book birthday" is a recent construct, and that it's okay if you can't do a ton of events right around the release date. My takeaway was that marketing and promoting a book is a long haul and taking a slow, steady, approach can be just as effective. 

 

My favorite book event of the year:

Whichever conference I'm able to attend is my favorite. I've been lucky enough to attend the ALA and NCTE conferences in the past few years, and I always come home energized from hearing great presentations, meeting friends old and new, and collecting armloads of advance reader copies!


To learn more about Andrea and her work, visit her website.

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5 Favorites from . . . Hannah Holt!

Hannah Holt is a children's author with an engineering degree. Her first picture book, The Diamond & The Boy, earned a starred review from Booklist, calling it: “a gem of a biography.” Her most recent picture book, A Father's Love, celebrates great dads in the animal kingdom. Both stories weave together Hannah's love of language and science. She lives in Oregon with her husband, four children, and a very patient cat named Zephyr.

 

So what are Hannah’s 5 Favorites?

 

My favorite place to write:

In theory, the beach...but realistically all the work happens in my home office.

 

My favorite mentor text:

This week, I'm savoring A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider by Barbara Herkert and Lauren Castillo. It's a gorgeous biography of E.B. White, both the text and illustrations.

 

My favorite writing tip:

Celebrate every writing success--no matter how small! In publishing, there's always something to worry about or wait on. It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it. Focus on what you're doing right now and reflect on what you've already accomplished.

 

My favorite marketing tip:

There is probably no one thing you will do that will help sell more books. Really. Buying a bunch of swag--probably won't sell a lot more books. Accumulating 50+ reviews on Amazon--also not likely to help much. Whether or not your book hits it big has very little to do with the things you do. So, do the things that bring you joy!

 

My favorite book event of the year:

During a school visit, a teacher asked if I would give my presentation to a first grader who had missed the assembly because of a dentist appointment. The school had booked me for the full day, so I did. I shared about rocks, writing, and perservering to an audience of one. While I love the energy of a large crowd, sometimes the most meaningful events are for small audiences.

 

You can find out more about Hannah and her w.org by visiting her on Twitter or at her website.

 

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5 Favorites from . . . Shana Keller!

Entrenched in the world of STEM/STEAM, Shana Keller is happy to share her experience filing a patent for her own invention. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Carter Center for K-12 Black History Education founded by Dr. LaGarrett J. King. In addition to TICKTOCK BANNEKER’S CLOCK (Sleeping Bear Press, 2017), Shana has two forth-coming picture book titles to be released by Sleeping Bear Press this winter.

So what are Shana’s 5 Favorites?

 

My favorite place to write:
In front of a window!

 

My favorite mentor text: 
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. It reminds me not to get distracted from doing what I should be doing (writing).

 

My favorite writing tip:
Be true to your story, not true to 'trends.'

 

My favorite marketing tip:
Get to know other authors! They will help celebrate and share your success.

 

My favorite book event of the year:
The Colonial Market Fair held at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum (near Baltimore, Maryland). It's a lot of fun dressing up in Colonial clothing!
 

To learn more about Shana and her work, visit her website.

 

 

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