Today I’m sharing a cover reveal for Julie Segal Walters’s debut picture book, THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK, illustrated by Brian Biggs (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books). The book hits the shelves on October 17, 2017. As a special pre-sale promotion, all books purchased in advance through Julie’s local bookstore, Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., will be signed by both Julie and Brian.
Julie answers my 5 interview questions below, and check out Mr. Schu’s interview with Brian Biggs on his site.
- Can you tell us a little bit about THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK?
As Brian Biggs masterfully illustrated on the jacket and case covers, the book is a meta-fiction power struggle between an author and illustrator over how to draw the animals in the book — a mammal, bird, amphibian, invertebrate, reptile, and fish. The author-illustrator conflict reaches its peak when the illustrator refuses to draw the author’s choice of fish. The story is based on a Yiddish proverb, and is a behind the scenes look at the picture book creation process, the importance of collaboration and compromise in the face of different opinions, and the beauty of both words and art. With a sprinkle of snark. (4)
2) What is the best part about being an author?
The best part about being a children’s book author is ALL THE THINGS! The books that were important to me as a child remain the most important books in my life, and I’ve rarely if ever had a relationship with a book the same way as an adult. It is a blessing to have the opportunity to create something with the goal that it will find a special place in a child’s life. Whether it’s sharing fun facts, or making kids laugh, or helping them feel connected or seen in the world, everything I write is with an eye toward whether the story will be important to a child. I have a life-long passion for children’s literature, and am grateful for the opportunity to live my passion and to work with a community of writers, artists, editors, agents, teachers, librarians, book sellers, and parents who all share a commitment to meaningful books for children. (5)
3) What is the hardest part about being an author?
I’m very social and love walking outside, so the hardest part for me is the amount of time I spend alone and sitting still at my desk. That and the waiting, because publishing requires so much waiting! (2)
4) If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?
Today, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, so I could be in Dumbledore’s Army. (1)
5) What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?
My son is also a third grader so I’m regularly awed by the curiosity and creativity of 8 and 9 year old kids. My advice to your students is to read, read, read, read, read! Being a reader is essential to being a writer, and, if you read, you’ll find that books will be your friends for life. (3)