Category Archives: Interviews with Authors and Illustrators

Interview: Uma Krishnaswami on Citizenship, Culture, and Community

Today is the release day of Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, a middle grade historical novel about nine-year-old Maria Singh who longs to play softball. To celebrate, we interviewed author Uma Krishnaswami to find out more about her writing process and her inspiration behind Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh.

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Illustrator Elisa Chavarri Takes Us Behind the Art of Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris

Released last fall from LEE & LOW BOOKS, Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris is a beautiful story of recycling, conservation, and family tradition. Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel’s mother is too busy preparing her weavings for the market. Ixchel first tries weaving with a variety of materials, but then she  notices the colorful plastic bags littering her neighborhood and suddenly has an idea that ends up benefitting everyone.

We asked illustrator Elisa Chavarri to take us behind the scenes of her art process bringing Rainbow Weaver to life: Continue reading

Interview: Writing Haiku With Curtis Manley, Author of The Crane Girl

the crane girlThe Crane Girl, released last month, is an adaptation of a popular Japanese folktale about the power of friendship and kindness to transform lives. Told in both haiku and prose, The Crane Girl follows young Yasuhiro who rescues an injured crane in the woods one night. The next day, a mysterious girl appears at his door. She offers to weave silk for Yasuhiro and his father to help them with money, but eventually the father’s greed has a life-changing effect on them all.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we asked author Curtis Manley to take us through his writing process when it comes to haiku, poetry, and The Crane Girl. Continue reading

Interview: Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore on Collaboration

Prairie Dog Song cover imageWith Susan L. Roth’s signature collage illustrations and Cindy Trumbore and Roth’s detailed narrative, it’s clear that Roth and Trumbore’s styles are a perfect match. Their award-winning books, The Mangrove Tree, Parrots Over Puerto Rico, and Prairie Dog Song are a testament to their effortless collaboration style and their shared passion for conservation. In this interview, Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore discuss their writing process, their stylistic differences, and working together to create the perfect story.

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Interview: Richard Sobol on Coexistence, Travel, and Capturing the Perfect Moment

Growing Peace: A Story of Farming, Music, and Religious Harmony is about the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian families in a Ugandan village who created a Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative. In this uplifting photo-essay, we learn how families live and work together peacefully despite their religious differences. Author and photographer Richard Sobol takes readers on a journey to Namanyonyi through his beautiful photographs. And to learn more about his experience, we’ve asked him a few questions about his creative process.

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25 Books from 25 Years: Marisol McDonald and the Monster

LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.

Today, we are celebrating the latest installment of our extremely popular Marisol McDonald series, Marisol McDonald and the Monster/Marisol McDonald y el monstruo. In this endearing bilingual story, Marisol confronts her greatest fear: monsters!

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Interview: Author LaTisha Redding on Immigration, Grief, and the Healing Power of Art

In Calling the Water Drum, Henri and his parents leave their homeland, Haiti, after they receive an invitation from an uncle to come to New York City. As they attempt to flee Haiti in a boat, Henri loses his parents out at sea, and after his loss can only communicate with the outside world through playing his drum. In this interview, author LaTisha Redding discusses how she tackles heavy themes in children’s books and what inspired her to write Henri’s story.

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Interview: Donna Janell Bowman on the Amazing William “Doc” and Jim Key

Step Right Up cover imageStep Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness is a biography of William “Doc” Key, a formerly enslaved man and self-trained veterinarian who taught his horse, Jim, to read, write, and do math. Together they became a famous traveling performance act and proponents for the humane treatment of animals around the turn of the twentieth century. In this interview, author Donna Janell Bowman discusses the power of Doc and Jim Key’s message of kindness and what inspired her to write about one of the most famous performing duos in the country.

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25 Books from 25 Years: Tankborn

25 Year Anniversary posterLEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.

Today, we are celebrating Tankborn by Karen Sandler. First published in 2011, Tankborn was one of the original launch books for our Tu Books Imprint, which publishes diverse middle grade and young adult literature. Since its launch, Tu has published nearly 20 titles for older readers featuring diverse characters, stories, and worlds. Tu Books also established the New Visions Award, an annual writing contest for unpublished authors of color (and today is the deadline for submitting your manuscript!). Continue reading

Interview: Recognizing Mexican Contributions to WWII History

school the aztec eagles builtThe School the Aztec Eagles Built: A Tribute to Mexico’s World War II Air Fighters, which comes out in November, is the story of Mexico’s Air Fighter Squadron 201, also known as the Aztec Eagles. After two Mexican oil tankers were torpedoed by German U-boats, Mexican president Ávila Camacho sent the Aztec Eagles to the United States to help fight. One of the last requests of Squadron 201 crew member and former schoolteacher Ángel Bocanegra was to have a school built in his small hometown. Continue reading