WILL WRITE AND ILLUSTRATE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
FOR WRITERS, ILLUSTRATORS, PARENTS, TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS,
AND BOOK LOVERS EVERYWHERE
Sometimes a publisher or publicist reaches out to ask if I’d like to help spread the word about an upcoming book. I can’t always say yes, but when the book is a wonderful SEL story like ANGRY ME, I definitely want to tell everyone about it and the people who created it. And when author Sandra V. Feder said she’d be willing to chat with us about her writing journey, I was thrilled!
ME: Welcome, Sandra! We’re so glad you could be here. I know everyone would like to find out more about you – and so would I.
Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
SANDRA: I loved the work of Robert McCloskey. His Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal are both classics of storytelling and illustration. And I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I love how the child in the story draws what’s in his
imagination, including finding his way back to his bed.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
SANDRA: I wish I had known to listen more. I’ve always been a writer — first a newspaper reporter and later in my life a children’s book author. I’ve loved playing with words and thinking about text. Now that I’m more experienced, I better understand that for all types of
writing it helps to have a good ear. I have learned to listen more to the world — to
dialects, words, cadences, and lyricism. Now, how the words sound together, is as
important to me as anything else. Listening also helps me to hear when something is
working and when it’s not.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
SANDRA: I learned early in life to compose on a computer and that’s still what I do. I do both my composing and editing on my laptop. I usually work in one of my grown daughter’s
bedrooms, that’s now become an office. I have it decorated with framed illustrations from
my picture books. Being reminded of how talented illustrators brought my words to life is
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
SANDRA: I’m definitely a “when-the-muse-strikes” type of writer. I will often walk around
with an idea for a book in my head for a week or two, before putting anything into
writing. Sometimes I’ll have an idea but not the story. I carry the idea with me and
then see what other things I encounter that fit into or become part of that idea.
For me, it’s a bit like a puzzle. Here’s the idea I want to explore. What are the
supporting story, characters, setting, metaphors that I need? Sometimes those
come to me in bits and pieces.
ME: Why do you write for children?
SANDRA: I write for children because I think there’s something sacred about helping children discover the world of reading and storytelling. I loved stories when I was a child —
losing myself in an imaginary world. I thought it would be wonderful to try to providethat for children. I also love being a mother and loved seeing my own daughters discover
new characters and new ideas through books. As a mother, I know it can be challenging
for both parents and children to navigate childhood fears, emotions, and worries. I hope
my books can help prompt good conversations at home, in the classroom, or in the
ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear.
SANDRA: For aspiring writers:
Find a good critique group — preferably with people a little more experienced
than you are. Learn the craft and gather your writing peers and those who will
champion your work. Being a writer involves lots of ups and downs, many of
them solitary. Finding people who can go through it with you is very helpful.
For parents, educators, librarians:
Thank you for all you do to honor our children’s emotional intelligence and to help them navigate childhood by reading to and with them!
What fabulous advice, Sandra! You are certainly celebrating children and acknowledging who they are with all of your books. And I know you have a special recipe to share with us that is a celebration in itself…one of my favs…CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE!!!!
SANDRA: I used to make this chocolate chip cake for my children’s birthdays. We’d always
decorate it in fun ways. It became so popular with them and their friends that soon I was
being asked to make it for other kids’ birthday celebrations as well. It’s an easy recipe
and has no butter or eggs. Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip Cake
(A Feder Family Favorite)
1 ½ cups white flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup cold water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a
separate bowl, stir together the oil, vanilla, vinegar and water. Mix and pour the liquid
over the dry ingredients. Stir well to combine.
Pour the batter into a greased 8-by-8-inch pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the
top. Bake for 35 minutes.
Optional: Frost with your favorite frosting.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! If you are at a library, please request ANGRY ME and other wonderful books that we feature here on Picture Books Help Kids Soar. Requesting a book at a library is one way to support your favorite authors and illustrators. Other ways are to purchase the book, review the book, and tell friends about it. And please don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to WIN a copy of this wonderful SEL book thanks to the generous publisher, Groundwood Books.