Interview with Karma Wilson

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Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a country girl, raised an only child by a single mom in the wilds of North Idaho. We only got 3 channels back in the day, and only 1 was watchable. Loneliness and boredom turned me to books at an early age, and I became a voracious reader. I started writing for children as a young married mother of three kids in 1996 and sold my first book in 1999, which was Bear Snores On (illustrated by Jane Chapman, published by Margaret K. McEldery/Simon & Schuster). I went on to publish over 40 books with various publishers and have been fortunate enough to receive numerous literary awards and make a few appearances on the New York Times bestseller list. I’m now an old grandma to my sweet granddaughter, Chloe. 




You've written a lot of books! Which one is your favorite, or which one are you most proud of?

My books are kind of like my kids—I can’t pick a favorite! Frog in the Bog (illustrated by Joan Rankin) is the most fun for me when it comes to storytelling, and I feel the Bear books are very positive, kind books that are a bright spot for kids today. A Dog Named Doug is a new one I’m very happy with! The art by Matt Myers is so fun!

What is your work day like? Do you adhere to a strict schedule, or is it always different?

My schedule is all over the place! I tend to write in waves. I’ll go months with nothing, then a storm rolls through my brain, and I tackle several projects at once.

How many rounds of revision do you go through for each book?

The revision process totally depends on the book. Bear Snores On required almost no changes, but my poetry book revisions were much more extensive, as they both have nearly 100 poems each (What’s the Weather Inside, illustrated by Barry Blitt, and Outside the Box, illustrated by Diane Goode). I can’t count how many times those got revised. I also self-revise every line and verse as I go, so I rarely have multiple drafts, but instead, one ever-evolving draft.

What is your all-time favorite picture book (not written by you)?

Again, it’s so hard to pick one! As a child, Where the Wild Things Are and The Monster at the End of this Book were huge favorites and anything by Shel Silverstein (except The Giving Tree, which I didn’t like and still don’t like—sorry, Shel!).


Thanks for visiting us, Karma!  

Interview with Cathy Breisacher

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Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I grew up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, attended college at Penn State University and earned my Master’s Degree in School Counseling. I started my career as a high school guidance counselor at the Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School. After enjoying the counseling world for many years, I decided I wanted to devote more time to writing for children. So I obtained my Master in Library Science Degree, made a career switch and became an elementary school librarian. That move enabled me to immerse more of my time in the kid lit world, and now I have two picture books coming out this spring. I live with my husband in Hollidaysburg, and we enjoy traveling, especially to National Parks.

Can you tell me about your books coming out?

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Yes!
CAVEKID BIRTHDAY, illustrated by Roland Garrigue and published by Charlesbridge, will come out on March 5, 2019.  In the story, Caveboy and Cavegirl are best friends and do all kinds of cavekid activities together. They also share the same birthday! So, with their birthday approaching, each one decides to get something special for the other. They both have something valuable that they can take to Caveman’s Collectibles to trade, but when it’s time to exchange gifts, they are in for a big surprise. However, these Cavekids are resourceful, so they use their imagination and creativity to come up with a way to have a satisfying and very happy birthday.

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CHIP AND CURLY, illustrated by Joshua Heinsz and published by Sleeping Bear Press, will release on May 15, 2019. It is a story about two potatoes, Chip and Curly, who compete against each other in Spud City’s Annual sack race. Chip has his heart set on winning the Golden Bushel Award, but when Curly shows up with a spring in his step, Chip is worried. He practices and gains admiration from the other taters in town, but he wonders if he will be able to get this win in the bag or if his dreams of winning will be mashed.

Where did you get the ideas specifically for these books?

CAVEKID BIRTHDAY was initially inspired by a clipart picture of a caveboy and a cavegirl. I started thinking of a story that I could write using cavekids as my characters. At one point, I decided to mash the cavekids with Christmas, and I started writing. It didn’t take long before the idea of doing a twist on the Gift of the Magi popped into my head. I have always loved O. Henry’s story about the husband and wife who each take their most treasured possession and sell it to buy a perfect gift for the other one.  So I decided to take that premise and have it take place during prehistoric time with cavekids. After many rounds of revision, the Christmas theme changed to a Birthday, and the rest of the story flowed from there. I kept the Gift of the Magi theme, so each of the cavekids ends up trading something they value in order to get the perfect birthday present for their friend. But there is a twist in the end!

CHIP AND CURLY – THE GREAT POTATO RACE was inspired by an annual potato festival near my town.  Every fall in Ebensburg, PA, there is a Potato Festival with large crowds of people, delicious potato food, crafts and games. While at the Potato Festival one year, I felt inspired to write a book with potatoes as the characters. I wanted to have fun with this story and fill it with potato puns to make both adults and kids chuckle. I had a great time thinking of ways to add potato-related words and puns to the story.

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What is your all-time favorite picture book?

CREEPY CARROTS by Aaron Reynolds. It is told so well. It is fun, clever, imaginative…everything great storytelling should be. There are many books that tie for my second favorite picture book, but CREEPY CARROTS tops the chart. I also love SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE by Mac Barnett– the page turns are brilliant. MOTHER BRUCE by Ryan Higgins is hysterical. THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Swartz shows rhyme at its best. THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen is another favorite, and I also adore all of Kelly DiPucchio’s books.

What is your favorite thing about writing?

I love coming up with a fun idea that I think will make readers smile and laugh. I let my mind think of silly things: What if a hippopotamus went to the moon? What if a bear gets a new haircut? What if a moose tries to play hide-and-seek? I think of something and ask myself: what if, what if, what if? My mind does this every day until something takes up residence in my brain and I can’t stop thinking about it. My favorite part of writing is when I get a complete draft written and then I can delve into revising. Revising is my favorite part of writing.

If you could be any book character, who would you be?

I’d probably pick Clementine by Sara Pennypacker or Ramona by Beverly Cleary for their spunk and imagination.   They both make me laugh. I also wouldn’t mind being Hermione Granger for her intelligence, bravery, and loyalty to her friends.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me online at the following places:

Twitter:  @CathyBreisacher

Facebook:  Cathy Breisacher

website:  www.cathybreisacher.com


Thanks so much for joining us, Cathy!!

Storytime: Letter G

Welcome Song:

            (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at Storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

Introduce Letter:

  • Show kids a flashcard of the letter G.
  • Sing “The G says ggg, the G says ggg, every letter makes a sound, the G says ggg.”

Book 1: Goodnight Gorilla

Activity: “If You’re Grateful and You Know it, Clap Your Hands!”

            If you’re grateful and you know it, clap your hands!

            If you’re grateful and you know it, clap your hands!

            If you’re grateful and you know it, then you’re face will really show it,

            If you’re grateful and you know it, clap your hands!

            (stomp your feet, shout hooray)

Book 2: Giraffes Can’t Dance

Activity: Go! Stop!

  • I made “go” and “stop” signs and gave the kids shakers. When I held up GO, they had to shake. When I held up STOP, they had to freeze.

Book 3: The Thank You Book (we talked about gratitude)

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

Craft: Letter G giraffe

Storytime: Letter I

Welcome Song:

            (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)

            We clap and sing hello,

            We clap and sing hello,

            With our friends at Storytime,

            We clap and sing hello!

            (wave, stomp, march, wiggle, blink, waddle)

Alphabet Song: Use shakers while singing!

Introduce Letter:

  •  Show kids a flashcard of the letter I.
  •  Sing “The I says iii, the I says iii, every letter makes a sound, the I says iii.”

Book 1: Du Iz Tak?

Activity: I Spy an Insect

  • I brought some plastic insects and hid them around the room. I gave the kids clues about the insects by color and had the kids find them.

Book 2: Charlie Harper’s Animal Alphabet

Activity: “Hokey Pokey”

  •             We sang the Hokey Pokey and emphasized putting hands and feet In

Book 3: Inside Freight Train

Review: Show letter flashcard and say the sound again

Craft: Letter I ice cream sundae