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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller

3 Question Interview - ANNETTE BAY PIMENTEL

I'm delighted to interview Annette Bay Pimentel and I look forward to reading her new book, Girl Running. I'm inspired by her thoughts about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection.

STORIES – Discuss what inspires your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.

I write picture book biographies and am especially drawn to the stories of people from the edges of history—ones you’ve probably never heard of—who gave the world a nudge that helped spin it in a new direction.

In 1966 Bobbi Gibb tried to register to run the Boston Marathon. She received a rejection letter which told her that women weren’t “physiologically able” to run that far and shouldn’t try to run farther than 1 ½ miles. She knew this was nonsense and decided to sneak into the race to show what women can do.

I love Gibb’s passion and verve! And I thought kids, who have grown up with co-ed soccer teams, ought to know about one of the people who courageously helped create the world they live in today. So I wrote about her experience in a picture book biography .

CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?

I love the challenge of telling nonfiction stories, where I don’t get to make up details. It reminds me of patchwork quilting. I may know what I wish I could use, but I’m limited to true details, like a stack of fabric swatches, with very specific colors and patterns and textures. The challenge is to sift through them all and find the ones that work together as a harmonious whole.

CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?

School and bookstore visits feel like air under my wings. I love hearing what resonates with my young readers and getting to puzzle over some of their trickier questions. If I can’t go in person, I’m happy to do Skype visits. But my very favorite way to connect with young readers is to do writing workshops with them, where I share my writing and get to read theirs, too.

I love the community I have found through in-person critique groups. Writing for publication can be dispiriting and isolating. I have been buoyed and taught both craft and business know-how by the wonderful critique groups I’ve been part of. I still connect electronically with my Florida critique group, though I moved away five years ago, and when I moved here to Moscow, Idaho, I was lucky enough to find a vibrant kid lit community that welcomed my suggestion of starting a critique group. Every other Tuesday we meet in our local bookstore and share books, our writing, and our lives. What would I do without all of you?


Annette Bay Pimentel writes nonfiction picture books in Moscow, Idaho. Her book, Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service (Charlesbridge: 2016) was awarded the 2017 Carter G. Woodson Award by the National Council of Social Studies. Girl Running (Nancy Paulsen: 2018) hits bookstores this month.


Twitter @AnnettePimentel



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