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Blog: This Writing Life


  • Writer's pictureMelissa Stoller


I'm delighted to interview author Kari Ann Gonzalez on the blog today. Kari's debut picture book, HOW TO HATCH A READER, illustrated by Rachel Suzanne, released in August 2023 from Gnome Road Publishing. Kari shares about how her own chickens helped inspire this adorable book, and she chats about stories, creativity, and connection. Welcome, Kari!

STORIES – Discuss the inspiration for your ideas and stories, and share the process about your latest projects.

I mine story ideas from everyday moments to news stories and everything in between. I’m also a mommy to two amazing kids who help me keep my imagination very active. The story idea for my debut picture book HOW TO HATCH A READER hatched after spending the summer reading outdoors. Our chickens would always gather around as if they were listening in on the stories and wanted to learn to read themselves. Sometimes story ideas come to me very literally, and sometimes figuratively, but story ideas are everywhere. The art is paying attention- and for me writing them down before I forget them.

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

I love showcasing my creativity through crafting witty humor or lyrical language with unusual settings or points of view. The beautiful thing about your creative endeavors is- your imagination knows no limit. So, I follow it and see where it will lead me! I follow my creative pursuits outside of writing as well. Cake decorating, drawing, restoring a desk. There are so many artistic opportunities to learn, grow and create!

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

I research! I take notes from my kids about the books that they don't want to put down and why. I analyze picture book structure, plot, and opening and closing lines on best selling books and award winners. Then, I try to pair high-interest topics and humor or lyrical language to create engaging story ideas and plant a twist or curiosity at the end of my stories for re-readability. These components help me create engaging stories that young readers will connect with. I can’t wait to continue furthering these connections in school visits and read alouds when my debut launches in August.

I am so grateful to be a part of the amazing kidlit community! It is such an encouraging and supportive place to lift one another up and cheer each other on. I stay actively connected by engaging through social media channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and through writing communities such as the 12x12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. I also love the networking opportunities that arise from attending kidlit classes, webinars and conferences. There are so many opportunities to connect, even virtually.


Kari Gonzalez is a writer of children’s books and the author of HOW TO HATCH A READER and three forthcoming picture books. She loves writing funny and lyrical picture books and also writes middle-grade and young adult novels-in-verse. Four plucky chickens are kind enough to share their home with Kari, her husband, and their two little girls. When she is not regaling her family with tall tales or creating colorful characters for her stories, you will find Kari reading voraciously or stuffing her double-decker little free library full of books.



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