One might think that the life of a children’s book author and illustrator is so incredibly fascinating that I’d be constantly peppered with a wide variety of questions. But, big surprise, I am asked the same questions over and over again:
Q Are you from New York?
Q Really? You look like you are from New York. Are you sure?
A I’m positive. I was born in Los Angeles and I’ve lived here my whole life.
Q What are your books about?
A Babies, birthday cake, boxer shorts, boys, roller coasters, Santa Claus. I tackle serious topics on a regular basis.
Q Have I heard of any of your books?
A I doubt it.
Q I am going to write and illustrate children’s books as soon as I get a few days off from work.
A That’s not a question.
Q If I want to be a children’s book writer and illustrator, too, what should I do?
A Study the genre and the best books of the past. Check out what is being published today. Read all the time. Read everything you can. Be passionate and honest about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Love it. Tell stories that matter to you.
Q That sounds easy. Is that all I have to do?
Q Would you like a pastry with that?
A No, thanks. Just a non-fat, extra hot latte.
Q One last thing! Where can I buy a book?
A Go to your local independent bookseller and order it. It may take a few days to arrive. But how very quaint! If you don't have an independent bookstore near you, Vroman’s, Powell’s, and Indiebound are sustainable options that will protect the breath and depth of our literary culture.
Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book for The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author-illustrator of Roller Coaster, Walk On!, Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert, The Boss Baby, and Boot & Shoe, as well as the illustrator of many other books including The Seven Silly Eaters, Stars, the NYT bestselling Clementine series, and God Got a Dog. Marla has three grown sons, a Little Free Library in her front yard, and a studio in her back yard under an avocado tree.