A Visit with Eric Rohmann

This past summer, while participating in the Highlights Foundation Summer Institute at Chautauqua, I had the opportunity to chat with Caldecott-winning author/illustrator Eric Rohmann.

I think that some will say that Eric’s new book, Bone Dog, is perfect for Halloween, and they would be correct. But I think it’s perfect for any time of the year.

Here’s let’s hear about it from Eric himself:

Just a few notes, my homies . . . it’s not out of the realm for a picture book to have at its very heart the death of a beloved pet. But in so many cases, those books can often be heart-crushing. One of the things that sets Mr. Rohmann’s story apart is not only its straightforward nature, but its respect for the way that children cling to the notion of “forever.” I love that most about this book. And I also love the wordplay, the humor (“skeleton crew” anyone?), and the art is just right.

This is a story for all of us. It’s tender, a little scary, and funny, with the perfectest ending ever. Savor it.

Calloo, callay!

The Map of Me, by Tami Lewis Brown

Tami Lewis Brown dazzled the picture book world with her beautiful biography of Elinor Smith, Soar, Elinor!

And now, she has a brand new novel to her name, The Map of Me.

I’ve had the great privilege of working with Tami, both as a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and more recently as a colleague.

One thing’s for certain, Tami is a citizen of the world, so when I tried to track her down for a video interview, she was somewhere out there . . . flying, driving, sailing, riding (a horse, a camel, a lawnmower?). Let’s just say, she’s always on the move. The same could be said for her stories. They move in a way that makes them hard to put down.

So without further adieu, here’s a small snippet of The Map of Me.

Calloo, callay, my homies!

By |September 21st, 2011|Author interviews, Books|2 Comments|

Writing Young Adult Fiction . . . for Dummy!

Greetings, Sports Fans!

A few years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Deborah Halverson at an SCBWI retreat in Indiana. One morning, we got up early and took a leisurely stroll through the beautiful woods of Brown County State Park. I remember being so impressed with her warmth, her humor, and her smarts.

At that time, Deborah was an assistant editor at Harcourt Brace, really just starting out in her bright new career. Since then, she’s gone on to write her own young adult novels…


Not only has Deborah embarked upon a successful career as an author, she’s also continued to work as a freelance editor, including managing and running her wonderful blog, “Dear Editor.”

All this on top of being the mom to triplet sons, Darin, Vance and Kirk!

And now, she’s cooked up something else, something that I guarantee will be of use to anyone who is interested in writing for young adults. Check it out!

This book is seriously good! And that’s not only because she invited yours truly to be a contributor . . . really . . . it’s not! In fact, there are a whole boatload of contributors, including a forward by my homie, M.T. Anderson.

To learn more, be sure to check out the other stops [...]

Liz Garton Scanlon: Noodle and Lou

Have you ever read a book that makes you want to hug it?

That’s how I feel when I pick up Liz Garton Scanlon’s new picture book, Noodle and Lou. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, this is the story of Noodle, an earthworm who is having a very hard time figuring out his place in the world.
Thank goodness for the ineffable Lou, Noodle’s excellent buddy.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Liz to talk about her unlikely friends. Enjoy!

Wasn’t that fun!

And for all you teacher types, Liz has a very groovy curriculum guide on her website. Check it out.

Many thanks to Cyn and Greg for allowing us to use their dining room for our recording studio.

Calloo, callay, worm fans!

P.S. I confess that while I appreciate all those hard-working worms, these are my favorite species:

Uma Krishnaswami: The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

“Dini has heard of hearts sinking. She has always thought that was an odd thing for hearts to do.”

Now that, my homies, is a line worth framing! And it’s only one of many terrific lines in Uma Krishnaswami’s newest novel, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, with illustrations by Abigail Halpin. In fact, the whole story is a verbal feast of delicious,lively language. Here is storytelling that is food for the ears as well as sustenance for the heart.

It’s at turns funny, heartbreaking, and always jubilant.

When Dini’s mother receives a grant to work in a women’s clinic in Swapnagiri, India, Dini is crushed that she’ll have to leave her best friend Maddie behind in Tacoma, MD.

The only saving grace is that she might, might, might be able to come face to face with the inimitable Dolly Singh, Bollywood superstar.

But Dolly is missing, which has become something of a national crisis. In fact, there is missing in all corners of Dini’s life.

Here is Uma to talk about it all:

I am not the only one who loves this book. It has already received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.

Don’t miss the downloadable activity kit as well, on Uma’s website.

Just like a Bollywood movie, there is a large cast, including non-human types like these guys:

No novel set in India could be authentic without a cab driver:

And here’s a photo of that red mail box that inspired Uma to include the India Postal Service in her story:

Janet Fox Talks about FAITHFUL


Fellow author Janet Fox recently dropped in and I was able to convince her that a spin in front of my Flipcam would be a great idea. Once you’ve watched her, I think you’ll agree:

Wasn’t that wonderful?

If you haven’t read Faithful yet, get thee to a bookstore. It’s gotten great reviews. Here’s just a taste of the good news surrounding this book:

Booklist: “Fox combines mystery, romance, and a young girl’s coming-of-age in this satisfying historical tale.”
School Library Journal: “The wilderness of Yellowstone…is lovingly and beautifully depicted…the gradual revelation of the truth about Maggie’s mother, the developing relationship between Maggie and Tom, and the thrilling episodes sprinkled throughout will engage readers.”
YALSA 2011 Nominee: Best Fiction for Young Adults
ALAN: Pick for 2010
Social Responsibilities Roundtable, ALA, 2011: Recommended Title, Amelia Bloomer Project

Check out the book trailer that Janet’s son, Kevin, created for her:

Oh boy, I love it when good things happen for good people. And that’s my friend Janet: Good People.

And soon, very soon . . .

Calloo, callay!

Questions about KEEPER

Hi Sports Fans!

Recently I’ve received a number of really great questions about Keeper from students around the country and the world.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are my responses:

If you or your students have any other questions, please just send them to me. My e-mail address is: k-author@kathiappelt.com.

And while we’re on the topic of Keeper, here is a shot of the beautiful sculpture that sits on the Seawall in Galveston. It’s a tribute to the victims and survivors of the Storm of 1900 that was so devastating. But beyond that, to me the mother and child look just like Signe and Keeper.


Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Poet & Teacher

Rebecca Kai Dotlich is “some poet,” as Charlotte might say!

My first encounter with Rebecca was several years ago. We were both speaking at an SCBWI conference in Birmingham, AL. We got to stay in the lovely home of Joan Broerman, who made sure that we were cozy and comfortable. In fact, Rebecca and I were so cozy and comfortable that we took up residence in the kitchen in our jammies and ate bagels and cream cheese for what seemed like hours. I’m sure it wasn’t that long, but the point I’m trying to make is that from the first bites of those bagels, it seemed like we had been friends our whole lives long.

Ever since then, we try our hardest to meet at kitchen tables in our jammies, at least once a year. This year, I caught her on my Flipcam. Enjoy!

Not only is Rebecca “some poet,” she’s also “some teacher”!

Here are some photos of Rebecca in action:

Jeanette Ingold–More Than One Life

The first time I met Jeanette Ingold, back in the early 90’s, both of us were celebrating first books. Mine, a picture book called Elephants Aloft, consisted of approximately 40 words.

Jeanette’s, a novel called The Window, had about 40,000 words.

Despite that difference, we’ve shared millions of words in each others’ company, and I count her as one of my most cherished friends and associates. No telling how many words we’ve spoken to each other across the span of our friendship. Let’s just say a lot.

Recently, I had the good fortune of joining Jeanette on our annual retreat together and was able to lure her into the kitchen to talk about her newest young adult book, Paper Daughter.

Pay attention, because Jeanette is a wordsmith, regardless of the count.

I love Paper Daughter, as I do all of Jeanette’s books. They’re smart, savvy, and full of heart. Just like their author. My friend. Jeanette.

Calloo, callay, my homies!

Kimberly Willis Holt–Magic in Threes

For the past eight years, a group of us have been meeting for a writer’s retreat each fall at my family’s country place in central Texas: Kimberly Willis Holt, Jeanette Ingold, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and yours truly.

Of course, this year, I packed my trusty FlipCam.

One by one, I lured my pals into the kitchen for a “kitchen talk.” Here’s what Kimberly had to say:

Such a wise and wonderful friend. Thank you, Kimberly!