Children are eager for books that validate and empower them. I passionately believe that positive, inclusive stories can inspire all readers, no matter their gender or orientation—but because girls crave books about smart, strong female protagonists, I’m happy to see my middle grade novel Star-Crossed in their hands.
Each month, we ask one distinguished author or illustrator to write an original post that reveals insights about their process and craft.
But when I walk into the studio to create art, there is a process (and steps to follow) to reach the result I desire. First, there’s the idea, which I turn into a manuscript. Next, I craft a book dummy book comprised of text and sketches.
It’s difficult, even for adults, to wrap one’s head around the fact that the elephant can weigh 22,000 pounds. So I included a simple infographic, a small silhouette of each animal, alongside another of an adult human (or a human hand, if the animal was small).
One of my favorite words is solipsistic: close your eyes and the world vanishes —there’s no reality outside of your own. We all start out thinking this way. I was in second grade before it hit me that there had been people on this planet before I got here. Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc […]
We didn’t all know each other on day one, but writing was the glue that made our friendship stick. We wrote quietly, set aside some critique time, and ended each day on the deck, wrapped in blankets and watching the sun set over Semiahmoo Bay.
Writing books is a very mysterious thing. At least it is for me. I’ve always enjoyed writing, maybe just as much as I’ve enjoyed drawing, but drawings are easier to gauge. When you create a drawing you like, you can look at it and immediately see the reasons why, and you can show it to […]
After creating three nonfiction books—Diego Rivera (2011), Separate Is Never Equal (2014), and Funny Bones (2015, all Abrams)—my editor and I both thought a fiction project might be interesting. We brainstormed and a suggestion that bubbled up was to take a well-known story, such as a fairy tale, and give it a twist.
I want my readers to see that they can be all kinds of people and that they aren’t limited to a version of themselves that someone else decided for them. They can be the popular girl, the smart girl, the mean girl, or the screw-up. “Asian American girl” doesn’t denote any one type of person.
I thought a lot about the impact of violence as I wrote Burn Baby Burn (Candlewick 2016). My protagonist Nora Lopez would have seen a lot that year, both inside her own family and in situations all around her.
My family listened to music in the morning as we prepared for the day, and at night as we cleaned the dinner dishes. I grew up on a steady diet of the R&B and soul music of the Jackson 5, Bobby Womack, and James Brown. Of Soul Train Saturday mornings and church service choir stands […]