3 Question Interview - ERIN DEALEY
I'm so happy to feature my #2020BookLook friend Erin Dealey on my blog today! Her beautiful new picture book, DEAR EARTH . . . FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN ROOM 5, releases on December 1 (tomorrow!). I love how a classroom of children become pen pals with the Earth in this clever story written through letters. Read on for Erin's inspiration, and her thoughts about stories . . . creativity . . . and connection.
STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.
The first spark of the idea for my upcoming picture book, DEAR EARTH…FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN ROOM 5 (Dec. 1, 2020/ Harper Collins/ Illustrated by Luisa Uribe) came from a friend’s illustration. It made me wonder what a child might say to the Earth these days. This became a story about the Room 5 kids who write a letter to Earth and when Earth writes back they become the most unlikely pen pals.
I’ve always wanted to write a story through letters. I love the DEAR MRS. LARUE books by Mark Teague, and one of my all-time favorites is THE JOLLY POSTMAN by Allan & Janet Ahlberg, so it was fun to figure out what Room 5 and Earth would say to each other. That led to creating a monthly exchange of ways to help Earth all year long and become Earth Heroes. Wait until you see DEAR EARTH’s book jacket, which reverses to become a poster - How to be an Earth Hero! I’m also so thrilled that Luisa Uribe’s art for DEAR EARTH has been accepted into the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show.
As for ideas—they are everywhere: from crazy random phrases that pop into my head (PETER EASTER FROG—coming next year from Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Illus. by G. Brian Karas.); to plays I’ve directed (“Into the Woods” was the start of GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX & LITTLE BO PEEP CAN’T GET TO SLEEP) and even school visits (K IS FOR KINDERGARTEN). I wrote SNOW GLOBE WISHES because I felt like the world needed a hug—and so did I.
CREATIVITY -- How do you showcase your creative side through writing/illustrating and other pursuits?
When I’m not working on a manuscript (which I do pretty much every day), I interview other #kidlit authors and illustrators on my blog. It’s a fun way to get to know my colleagues better and help support their work.
In the summer, I head the Theater Dept. of a fine arts camp here in California, so not only do I get to work with 40+ theater kids each week (ages 10-18), we create material for them to perform, and I get to work with my amazingly talented staff and students who love the arts and both inspire me and exhaust me—haha. This summer, camp was virtual, and I think we were all surprised how much we needed it, no matter what.
CONNECTION -- How do you connect to your young readers through your writing/illustrating, and how do you stay connected to the KidLit community?
First of all, thank you Melissa, for inviting me to connect with our #kidlit community through your wonderful blog.
My favorite way to connect with kids is thru Author Visits. During COVID, however, I’ve switched to virtual meet-ups, which are truly the next best thing. I put on my writing project/credentialed teacher/author hat and meet with classes around the world. I LOVE popping in to write with the class, teach a writing workshop, and talk about the writing process. These FREE sessions are my way of helping the amazing teachers who have stepped up during such crazy times.
Another excellent connection these days is through virtual book launches and professional sessions. How cool is it that I can attend Lauren Kerstein’s launch in Colorado, or record a read-aloud session for Children’s Environmental Health Day with Susan Eaddy in Tennessee—without leaving California? I am also hooked on Mr. Schu’s Book Joy Live and the wonderful workshops available through SCBWI. We are lucky to be a part of such a postitive community.
Erin Dealey is the author of 16 picture books & board books (so far), many in rhyme. She is currently revising a middle grade novel which will not go away. And then there were those angsty poems she wrote in college. Dealey's original career goal was Olympic Gold Medal tetherball player. When that didn't pan out, she became a teacher, theater director, actor, mom, and author--and welcomes any opportunity to visit schools around the world. She lives in northern California with her husband and a very energetic Golden Retriever.
CONNECT WITH ERIN:
Preorder links for DEAR EARTH: