Sunday, September 27, 2009

Time, Where Do You Go?

It happens to us all. We get busy. Really busy.

I'm honestly not sure where all the time went this week. I actually sat down on the couch last night and watched an entire half hour of Interview with a Vampire. As I sat there half watching the movie I realized I hadn't sat down to relax all week. I haven't watched tv, haven't read a book(for myself, lots to the little ones of course), have only glanced at my inbox, haven't twittered, facebooked, or blogged, and have not had time to *gasp* write.

Anyhow, it got me to thinking about how I've read so many times that writers have to write every day. I mean, I would love to write every day. Really write. Spend hours and hours at the computer dedicated to only my writing. Oh luxury!

I am always thinking about writing. I jot things down throughout the day, but really sitting down and writing doesn't always happen because, hey, there's only so much time in a day. Yes, you have to make time for the things you want to do. But, sometimes there are just too many other obligations in life. And I think that's okay. Writing is a big part of my life. A priority. But sometimes you have to take a break whether you want to or not. The writing is always there, waiting for you to come back to it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Unread - Interview with Mike Jung

Today for The Unread, for a mere moment in time, I've managed to corral the fun and crazy guy known as Mike Jung. Some of you may know Mike from Verla Kay's Blueboards where he's one of the great administrators, or from Facebook where he's bound to crack you up, or on Twitter where you can read his contributions to the wacky and disturbing tale of #flatulenteye. And if you don't know Mike, you should! His mixture of snark and humor have made me snort-laugh alone, in front of my computer more times than I care to admit. So why am I still talking? Let's get to Mike!

When did you start writing and why in the world would you want to do such a thing?

I’m sorely tempted to go into the usual “I started writing stories about butterflies and piglets in the womb and was born with a quill pen between my teeth” song and dance – both of those things are true, by the way – but I’ll just say I really started writing stories for children (as opposed to merely thinking about them) right after my daughter was born in the summer of 2006.

It is also true, however, that after my emergence into the world, rumpled butterfly & piglet tales in hand, quill pen clenched in my bicuspids, I embarked on a lifetime of varied writing activities purely for giggles and grins. An old and dear friend of mine still has a stack of nonsensical letters I wrote to her during college: no doubt she’ll spring them on a horrified world if I ever achieve fame and fortune, badly disillusioning my loyal readers.

In 1997 I got the notion in my head to write children’s books, partly because I was working with preschoolers and really loved reading to them, and partly because my own reading choices had by then resulted in quite a few years of “hey, isn’t that a book for kids?” questioning from random irritating people. In classic wrongheaded fashion I took a class in children’s book illustration at UC Berkeley extension, realized that I’m not even close to being a pro-caliber illustrator, and spent the next nine years idly dreaming about being a children’s writer while living my life in other ways. When my little girl was born I thought, “Oh, crap. Suddenly I have colossal reasons to NOT start writing for another 18 years. How badly do I want to do this?” I finally realized that I want to do this very, very, very badly. So I started doing it.

How do you make the time to write? Don’t you have other things to do?

Well, that whole “go to work and earn a paycheck” thing constantly gets in the way, and of course my family sits atop my priority ladder with a comfortable amount of space between them and the next step down. My daughter generates enough energy to power an entire advanced civilization, so I drag my aging carcass around after her as quickly as I’m able. There are also indispensable activities like writing snarky updates on Facebook, sending cryptic messages out to the world on Twitter, overreacting to posts on Verla Kay’s Blueboards, etc. The things I end up sacrificing the most in favor of writing are recreational activities, time with friends, and sleep.

I used to play music a lot and don’t really do it at all anymore, which is sad, but between writing and making music it’s clear which one is higher priority. Social time is important, of course, so I make sure and get my squinting countenance out there in the world and actually visit with people, but I’m a believer in the sanctity of my writing time. When push comes to shove writing wins out. I try to go easy on the loss of sleep because it screws up my ability to write, along with every other way I need to function during the day. When it’s necessary I can also do that peculiar fast-twitch kind of notepad writing while standing in line at Costco or sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office – the usefulness of the fast-twitch stuff really depends on how deeply in the writing groove I am overall, however.

There’s little glory for unpublished writers. What keeps you going?

What do you mean?? THAT GUY AT THE SEMINAR PROMISED ME ALL KINDS OF—oh wait, he was a little sleazy. This might be a sign of arrogance, hubris, delusion, what have you, but I think I actually have a little glory in my future. I know it’ll take as long as it takes, but I feel confident in my writing abilities and about my prospects for getting published, and if/when that happens, well, that would be pretty darned glorious, dontcha think? The writing is enjoyable and fulfilling for its own sake, but honestly, representation and publication are my next big goals. I love writing fiction and I want to do it in a professional capacity, with all the processes, frustrations, rewards and new horizons that entails.

What kinds of stories do you like to write? Are your books going to make us laugh?

Currently I like writing middle grade, and my focus is on stories that I think would have been cool or fun or interesting during my own middle grade years. Okay, that’s an incomplete truth – those stories would also be cool or fun or interesting to me NOW. So I write about 12-year-old kids, and superheroes, and aliens, and giant robots, and dashing interdimensional botanists. I’m not actually writing that last one yet, it’s just an idea. So is the one about the mad scientist and his family. Also the one about the boy whose father works for a supervillain containment facility. And there’s this goofy Twitter-inspired story idea called OWEN AND THE EYE OF FLATULENCE about an ancient, evil, sentient, gassy orifice and the young boy it seduces into doing its fetid bidding, but I’m sensing it would face some marketing challenges. Plus I’d have to give Lisha Cauthen, Ellen Oh and Cindy Pon partial credit, and don’t I have enough competition without these other aggravatingly talented writers getting all up in my business? And if you’re not already following me on Twitter you should be! Follow me on Twitter! Follow me! LOVE ME! I NEED LOVE…

Will my books make you laugh? Hmmm. I hesitate to answer this because humor is so subjective, and making these metacognitive statements about the laughter-inducing potential of my own work is—YES. YES, THEY WILL. Partly because if you don’t laugh, I will find you, and I will destroy you. Okay, I’m just kidding about that last part - I don’t have to find you, I CAN DESTROY YOU FROM A DISTANCE.

So, how many manuscripts have you written and what have you done with them? What are you working on now?

I’ve only written one full manuscript, which is still the one I’m focused on. It’s called THE CAPTAIN STUPENDOUS FAN CLUB. It’s a middle grade novel, 35k words or so, about a 12-year-old boy named Vincent Wu who discovers that the alter ego of his hometown’s legendary, muscle-bound, six-foot-five superhero is actually a girl. I’m about to send it out on submission. I also have the previously mentioned works-in-progress – botanists, mad scientist, villain containment – but they’re all in a very embryonic state.

Have you had any close calls?

I have had one close call so far, an agent at a pretty highfalutin’ house did my manuscript consultation at SCBWI LA in 2008 and requested the full. I actually hadn’t finished the manuscript at that point, so I churned out the rest of it in a raging panic, and ended up doing a round of revisions with this agent over a 6 month period. Ultimately she passed on the MS, but I was (and am) hugely grateful for that opportunity regardless of her final decision. It showed me that my writing ability is actually good enough to draw an agent’s attention, which was not something I’d even tried to do before then. When I walked out of that conference I no longer saw myself as a clueless wannabe: I was a WRITER, and one with new confidence. The agent revision process was a potent source of motivation, and it improved my manuscript by leaps and bounds. I think I would have loved being represented by this person, so it was disappointing to get the pass, but I made so much more progress than I would have on my own. I’ll always consider it a watershed experience.

What’s your submission strategy?

CAPTAIN STUPENDOUS is out to my beta readers right now. My plan is to look closely through their feedback, apply one last coat of gloss, and start querying agents in a crafty and deliberate manner within the next month or so. If there’s a general hue and cry about some catastrophically large element I’ll dig in and fix it, of course, but I think the book is in good shape, so I’m prepared for that but I don’t anticipate it happening. I have a list of about 8 agents who I think might be a good fit, including a couple of referrals that I’ve been lucky enough to snare along the way, and I think my query letter is strong. So I’ll ship it out, then I’ll hunker down for the next however many months and get back to one of those zygote WIPs in order to avoid going stark raving mad from impatience and curiosity.

How does your family feel about your writing?

The Facebook update that’s probably received the most positive comments was about something my wife said to me. (And are all of you my Facebook friends yet? No? Why not? Go friend me on Facebook now! DO IT NOW! AAAAAAHHHH…)

Err, sorry – anyway, my wife and I have read some of the same writing-related books, including Stephen King’s ON WRITING, and she referenced that book one day. She thought about the period in Stephen King’s life when he and his wife were both toiling away at day jobs, raising their kids, and how he would go write in his laundry room after the end of day. Then the moment arrived where the paperback rights to CARRIE were sold for a gigantic amount, making his wife burst out in tears and sending his career into the stratosphere. My wife said that’s how she thinks of this period in OUR lives. We’re working hard, raising our little girl, making ends meet, and it’s the time just before I publish my book, launch a successful writing career, and change our lives forever. I will never forget that, and I think it says everything there is to say about the support she gives me.

My daughter, on the other hand, is still too young to really grasp what I’m doing – everything I do on the computer is “checking email” to her.

What do you think is the hardest part about writing? What’s the easiest?

There are days when I think it’s all masochistic and impossible, but plotting is fiendishly hard for me. Like many writers I’m faaaabulous at coming up with random scenes with high entertainment potential, but stitching them together into a coherent narrative that propels the story forward in the right way is a challenge. And I suppose I’m an example of the classic “voice v. plot” dichotomy in writers, because voice is definitely the thing I’m best at. I can project personality, tone, emotion and rhythm very well, which I think comes from all those years of random, self-amused writing. I’m one of those dinosaurs who used to write honest-to-gosh ink-on-paper letters, and I’ve continued that practice with email, and now with all the social media technology we have there’s no end to the opportunities to write random things quickly and frequently, and I think quick, frequent practice is crucial for developing one’s voice.

How far would you go to get your book published?

I’ve already bribed you for this interview, haven’t I? I still think you demanded too much money… this “writing for kids” thing isn’t the fast track to millions, you know…

(Chocolate, Mike, it was chocolate. Must I keep reminding you!?!)

It seems like the writers I have at least a nodding acquaintance with all go pretty far with their efforts to get published. Blogging, tweeting, doing interviews, attending readings and publishing hootenannies, participating in online communities like the Blueboards and the Enchanted Inkpot, joining SCBWI, researching the industry… not to mention reading, and the actual writing! I’m doing most of those things, and I’m sure I will be doing all of them sooner rather than later. I have time and energy limitations, but I plan to do everything I’m able to do as long as it’s ethical, and not frowned on by industry pros. I know enough not to foist my manuscript on agents and editors as they’re headed for the bathroom, for example. Or to kidnap their pets and demand a multi-book deal as ransom. Or appear at a publishing conference wearing nothing but a sandwich board that says “PUBLISH MY BOOK, LOSERS!”

If you could live in any book which one would it be and why?

I don’t know that I’d want to! My life is pretty good as it is, and besides, why live inside the book when you could be the one who writes the book? I like being on this side of the equation. But since that makes me sound like a crabby misanthrope with no desire to play any reindeer games (that’s a fairly accurate description of me, by the way) I’ll take a swing at it: here’s a partial list. HARRY POTTER, of course, because who wouldn’t want to be a student at wizard school? THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, because the notion of an improbability drive appeals to me. THE TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY, because this is the year the Bigfield Fighting Koobish go all the way! THE CURIOUS GARDEN, or really any of Peter Brown’s picture books, because his flowers grows in such thick, silky bunches, and his sheep have those hilarious puffball bodies and stick legs. A CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE, because hearing “Lucia de Lammermoor” performed by a cricket would be mind-blowing. In the adult realm, WONDER BOYS by Michael Chabon, because I want to take just one class with Grady Tripp. WILLFUL CREATURES by Aimee Bender, because I want to meet the woman with the potato babies. SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE by Austin Grossman, because, you know, superheroes. THE EYRE AFFAIR by Jasper Fforde, because despite my low level of Austen literacy (heretical, I know) and my prefabricated notion that England’s weather would leave a permanent blot on my soul, I’d love to experience a world where art and literature are so totally interwoven into the fabric of life. Also, I could pursue a career in time travel.

Isn't Mike great! To snort laugh alone at your own computer, and to feed Mike's lovable yet ever-hungry ego, you can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Urban Animals

Alligators climbing columns. Elephants supporting flagpoles. Shimmering seahorses. Donkey’s protecting windows. These are the types of creatures one may find when hunting those elusive urban animals. In her wonderful new book, URBAN ANIMALS, Isabel Hill guides us through the city, on the prowl for concrete creatures in their natural habitats.

As with great architecture, the many different elements in URBAN ANIMALS work together to make one fantastic whole. Photographic images are paired with charming rhyme that tip us off to what animal it is we seek; for hunting through URBAN ANIMALS can be a game too. The first page of each rhyme is a zoomed out photo of the building the urban animal lives on. A cute little illustrated creature sits at the bottom of the page as a clue to help readers know what sort of animal they are looking for. On the opposite page we zoom in on the animal we seek.

Isabel Hill has smoothly written architectural words into each rhyme. Words like bracket, cornice, and medallion. In back, the Architectural Glossary gives us definitions to spur further discussion. A simply illustrated city map shows the types of buildings these urban animals live on. Plus there’s a list of Animal Habitats. We get to find out exactly where each animal lives, including the building’s name, address, and the year it was built.

My older kids loved this book for the cool architecture and were interested in the new vocabulary words they discovered in the rhymes. My little one had lots of fun trying to find the hidden animals. My librarian loved the book for all that it offers to children. We all wished we had such beautiful and fun architecture where we live. URBAN ANIMALS is a great book to use to introduce kids to the beauty of architecture. They're bound to start looking closely at the built world around them. And who knows what they may find?

Urban Animals by Isabel Hill is published by Star Bright Books.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Big Debate

Who Should Control The Virtual Library? This is a great interview with a Google representative on NPR's talk of the nation that I know will interest all my writer friends. Google wants to scan books and make them available online. They want writers to have to opt out. The interview is about 20 minutes long. I love the writer that called in.
Click here to go to the interview.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Adventure at the Post Office

I took my fresh, clean, nicely printed and packaged submission package to the post office today. As usual, they didn't quite get it. The post office really needs to be trained to work with authors. Don't get me wrong, I actually love my post office. The people that work there are really nice (except for that one person, and yes, all of us that go there know who that person is.)

Is it that strange that I need a stamp for the envelope that goes inside the manila envelope with enough postage to send all the papers back? Seems simple enough(although hard to explain sometimes!) Would it kill them to put the stamps on straight? I mean, really, it's not a big deal, right? RIGHT? I just spent time making sure the rest all looks nice. Who cares if the stamp looks like I let a two-year-old put it on.

I'm getting pretty used to it. Barely cringed when the stamp was slapped on the manila envelope too. But then... what the heck? I watched in horror as the postal worker flipped my manila envelope over and ripped off the clasp! She looked at me and said, "it costs more with the clasp because they have to put it through a different machine." Okay, well I would have paid more, if I was given the choice! As I looked at the near hole she had put on my envelope I was thankful she didn't rip through the entire thing. Then she tossed it into the pile and smiled.

I've tried to talk to the postal clerks about what I do and why I need to do things this way. Some of them care. Okay, one of them cares. The rest, well... they have a lot to do, I'm sure.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


You know how when you're a kid you always, at some point, want to be a juggler. Of course, I wanted to be other things, but juggling is so cool. At least it looks like it is when done well. Who doesn't want to throw numerous things up in the air and have them land and take flight at a neat, organized pace.

Man juggling his life

And who knew when I grew up I'd actually be a juggler? I didn't, because I still can't throw things up in the air and keep them going round and round in a high-flying show of gravity defiance. No, I do not juggle bean bags, bowling pins or chairs. I juggle--writing. Ta da!

Right now I am revising a story collection and a non-fiction series, I have a few new manuscripts to type up (yup, I'm old school. I dig the pen and paper), I'm researching and querying agents and thinking about doing the same with publishers, plus a friend and I really want to write a book together if we can swing it (she just found out she's pregnant though, so we'll see), plus my husband wants to start up the screenplay again as soon as the weather cools, which is soon. I will not even begin to talk about the stinkin' reality show proposal we wrote and should be doing submission research on. Then there's keeping up with the critiquing, twitter, facebook, jacketflap, linkedin, Verla Kay's chatroom, and such. I am supposed to be creating a new website. Hopefully I will get to that someday.

Oh, and this blog! So okay, I'm not the best juggler. Neat and organized I am not. I drop things a lot. I don't get them done in the time frame I always want. But, when the papers or the plans go flying, I just pick them up and keep on juggling. I bet you do too.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I've Got the Blues, The Daddy Longlegs Blues.

Even at first glance, I’m digging THE DADDY LONGLEGS BLUES, a groovy picture book written by Mike Ornstein and illustrated by Lisa Kopelke. On the front is an old school record covered with bugs and a laid-back Daddy Longlegs. I’m thinking most kids won’t even know what a record is, but this cover will give parents an opportunity to go old school and tell the little whippersnappers about the good old days. Makes me feel like digging out the old record player, blowing off the dust, and singing the blues.

This Daddy Longlegs, he’s got a reason for the blues, and boy does he play them. The multitalented Daddy plays a plethora of instruments and he never stops rambling. Lisa Kopelke’s fun illustrations keep us watching Daddy Longlegs, always on the move, playing a new instrument at every turn. He never loses his groove. It’s no wonder he’s a legend.

THE DADDY LONGLEGS BLUES, has a nice rhythm that keeps the flow bee-boppin along. Mike Ornstein’s fun humor may give you a giggle. Plus, he’s woven the fiction with facts in a way that isn’t intrusive or didactic, it’s just part of the fun. Did you know that daddy longlegs are opiliones? My little one does now.

The book also has a couple of great features after the story. There’s a glossary of blues terms defining words like funky and soul. The list of musical instruments played by Daddy Longlegs and their definitions is fun. Then there’s a page about “Daddy Longlegs and the Blues” which starts out, “Like many blues players, Daddy Longlegs are ramblers, wandering through life to their own funky rhythm.” Now that’s really bringing it all together.

THE DADDY LONGLEGS BLUES, written by Mark Ornstein and illustrated by Lisa Kopelke is published by Sterling Publishing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

For my picture book display at the library this week, I tried to go with a Labor Day theme. It proved to be a little difficult, but I managed to come up with a fun display. After all, there are lots of different kinds of workers in any given place. My people in the neighborhood list includes firefighters, postal workers, a garbage man, store clerks, a librarian, bakers, musicians, a principal, a Zamboni driver, and of course, a mad scientist. Here’s what I found:

TRASHY TOWN written by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clamesha, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. This is a classic story about the trash man with a great rhythm plus it encourages child participation, which is always fun. If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?

FIREFIGHTERS TO THE RESCUE by Kersten Hamilton and Rich Davis. A firefighter story. Kids love em.

PENGUIN POST by Debi Glori, about a little penguin who has to take over delivering the mail for his penguin parents—and ends up delivering himself a surprise.

BEBE GOES SHOPPING written by Susan Middletown Elya, illustrated by Steven Salerno. I know, I’m pushing it with this one, but there is a grocery store clerk in it, and he’s very nice.

NOTHING by John Agee. This story has a funny concept that challenges our way of thinking. Buying nothing? Absurd!

THE LIBRARY DRAGON by Carmen Agra Deedy. Hey, every librarian’s got to be a little bit of a dragon sometime, except for me, of course.

HAZEL NUTT: MAD SCIENTIST written by David Elliot and illustrated by True Kelley. Every town has a mad scientist, doesn’t it?

SUN BREAD by Elisa Kleven. Elisa’s books are always beautiful. And there’s a baker in this story that brings the whole town together.

MY FAMILY PLAYS MUSIC by Judy Cox, illustrated by Elbrite Brown. Where would we be without musicians?

SAM THE ZAMBONI MAN written by James Stevenson, illustrated by Harvey Stevenson. The Zamboni man is especially important around here. Lots of hockey lovers.

MR. TANNEN’S TIE TROUBLE by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. Mr. Tannen is one tie loving principal. I wish he would have been my principal when I was in school. He’s awesome.

I wanted to include police officers(Like OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA by Peggy Rathman), doctors, dentists, truck drivers, teachers, the list could go on and on. Any favorites out there I should keep in mind for my next people in the neighborhood display?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interview with Author/Illustrator Carin Berger

Have you ever seen a book cover and fallen in love with it? That's what happened the first time I looked at Carin Berger's picture book, OK GO. The bright, whimsical characters made me want to pore through the book and see what it was about. I wasn't disappointed.

Carin is an award winning illustrator, author, and designer. Her latest book, OK GO, was published by Greenwillow Books this spring. It is a beautiful book about going green, full of wonderful images made with recycled materials and inspiration for kids (and their grown-ups) to do their part to help take care of the environment. Carin has stopped by today to talk about her writing and her beautiful collage illustration style, and I am so happy to have her!

Which comes first for you, the story or the art?

The story or at least the idea for the story almost always comes first.

I love your quirky collage illustration style. How did you develop it?

When I first started playing around with illustrations for a set of poems that I had written [what was to become Not so True Stories and Unreasonable Rhymes], I thought that I would make paintings. But then a friend, who knew I had a passion for ephemera, gave me a box from an old barn that was brimming with a half century’s worth of old papers. It was an absolute treasure trove calling out to be used and it set me on the path to collage.

How does your process of collage work?

I start by making thumbnail sketches and then tiny dummies of the book. Once everything is working I do very tight full size final line drawings which look very different than the final collages. I then make each section of the collage and put it together almost like a puzzle. I might cut five different cars out before I have the one in the color and gradation that I’m happy with. The materials that I use are very pedestrian. In addition to the ephemera [which might be something old but could also be the receipt from the dry cleaner with great printed numbers on it], I use old magazines and catalogs. [Clothing catalogs are a great source for buttons!] I also use plain white glue and scissors and my trusty x-acto knife. Sometimes I add a bit of paint to the background.

Are there any artists whose work inspires you?

Oh yes! There are so many it’s hard to know where to start. I look at absolutely everything for inspiration. Paintings, textiles, furniture design, architecture, folk art, photography, old scientific inventions…

I love the work of Hilary Knight, Charley Harper, Bill Peet, Jonny Hannah, Calef Brown, Lane Smith, Sara Fanelli, Maurice Sendak, Mary Blair, Takei Takeo, and Helene Guertik, to name a few favorites.

About how long does the process of writing and illustrating a book take you?

It varies. Ideally I like to have 5-6 months for a project.

You illustrated BEHOLD THE BOLD UMBRELLAPHANT by Jack Prelutsky. Can you give us some insight on how illustrators are paired with manuscripts?

That’s a bit of a mystery to me. The art director at a publishing company is responsible for making those decisions.

When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator? What drew you to children’s books?

I’ve always been smitten with children’s books. I love how the words and pictures work in tandem to tell a story. I made my first picture book for my cousin when I was 10. And I started collecting them back then as well.

Have you had any artistic training? Any training for writing?

I studied graphic design and illustration at college, and I have worked as a designer in London, New York City and San Francisco. For the last decade or so I have designed book jackets, which I still enjoy doing along with making picture books. Writing is something that I have always done for my own amusement.

What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?

I think it’s important to do what you love, and to allow yourself to experiment and to find your own “voice”.

Your first picture book, NOT SO TRUE STORIES AND UNREASONABLE RHYMES, was published by Chronicle Books in 2004. How did you break in to the market?

I was tremendously lucky. I had a set of poems that I wrote and illustrations that I made to go with them, but I didn’t really know what to do next. A writer friend suggested that I send them to an agent that he knew. She generously took the project on, and, miraculously, managed to sell it. That became my first book, Not so True Stories and Unreasonable Rhymes, Chronicle Books, 2004. It was a very fluid process, and, I now realize, atypical and extremely fortunate.

What inspired you to write your latest book, OK GO?

Remember “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute” from the 70s? I do. That early message to be responsible for the environment somehow resonated deeply for me. I think that kids have a very strong moral compass and an intuitive connection to nature. It’s great to reinforce that. Plant the environmental message early!

What are you hoping readers will get out of the story?

First, fun.

Second, the opportunity to start a discussion about taking care of the planet, and, hopefully, some passionate young green advocates!

What are you doing to support the publication of your book? Where can we find you?

I find visiting schools and doing readings very rewarding.

Also, I have a website:

and a fan page on facebook: Carin Berger

and I’ve met all sorts of interesting people on twitter:

What’s next for you?

I do have a new picture book coming out early in the new year that I am excited about. It’s called Forever Friends and it’s about enduring friendship. It’s kind of a companion book to The Little Yellow Leaf. [Hint: look at the front and back covers of The Little Yellow Leaf and you will find the two friends in Forever Friends!]

That's exciting news, Carin. You have a definite Little Yellow Leaf fan here at my house. My little guy loves tracing the path of the yellow leaf and his friend as they dance through the sky. We'll be waiting for Forever Friends.

Want to know what else Carin is up to? Stop by her blog: