I have found from my many years of teaching that children ask the best questions. They are open and honest and get right to the point. What follows are my answers to questions that children have asked during author visits to my classroom or they have asked me about my book. I hope you will enjoy this interview.
Title: Gertie Saves the Day
Author: Karen Patricia Nespoli
Grades: Pre-K – 3rd
Can you tell me about the book?
Gertie desperately wants to win the Groundhog Day Celebration Competition. It is a very important job to Gertie. Jeff declares that he is going to win the competition because Gertie is too short to have a shadow. At first she has her doubts, but Gertie is in it to win it! That’s when the real fun gets started. There are a number of twists and turns during the competition that adds fun and excitement to the story.
Why did you write this book?
As a child it was fun to find out what the groundhog predicted each Groundhog Day. Would there be more winter or early spring? I wrote this book to share my love of Groundhog Day with children. Historically, the groundhogs making predictions were and still are males. It was that fact that helped me decide that my lead character would be a female groundhog.
What inspired you to become an author?
My inspiration for becoming an author are picture books. I loved reading picture books as a child. I read picture books to my students, my daughters and even college students. I still love picture books and have them stashed all over my house. I wanted to be an author because I want to inspire children and encourage their creativity.
What did you learn when writing the book?
I learned that you need a lot of patience when writing a book. It is not just about writing the story. Authors need to think about the illustrations, the page layouts, the cover, and the book design. There are a bunch of decisions about printing that I also needed to learn.
What surprised you the most?
What surprised me the most was how long it takes to illustrate a picture book. There are different stages to illustrating a picture book from sketching the characters, sketching the scenes, adding color and final coloring all takes time.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer?
My advice is to find time to write every day. The more you write the stronger your writing skills will become. Good writers find time every day to write. Good writers set writing goals, Good writers join writing groups and share their writing. If you have a story, share it. The world needs to hear your stories.
What is the next story you are working on?
I would love to write another Gertie story. I love Gertie and Jeff and would like to tell more stories about their friendship. I have a few ideas that I keep in my writer’s notebook and when the time is right, I will write my next story.
If you want to learn more: https://miriamlaundry.com/spotlight-gertie-saves-the-day/