ANNETTE WHIPPLE: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway



Plate of Cookies






Can we have a show of hands for people who enjoyed watching Little House on the Prairie over the past almost 50 years? I would have watched it no matter who the actors and actresses were…but ever since Bonanza, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Michael Landon – and as Charles Ingalls, he was at his best. Many of the episodes were written and directed by him…and as the seasons unfolded, I often wished he had been my dad. So, when I heard that author Annette Whipple had a new book coming out entitled: THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER COMPANION…I knew I’d want to ask her to stop by to talk with us about it.

Annette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder in young readers while exciting them about science and history. She’s the author of eight fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press), Whooo Knew? The Truth about Owls (Reycraft Books), and The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press). Annette is a fact-loving, chocolate chip cookie-baking children’s nonfiction author from Pennsylvania. Get to know her and learn about her presentations at or connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

companion cover

ME: Welcome to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Annette. Thanks so much for visiting and for agreeing to do a Q&A with us. Why don’t we get started because I know you have a lot to share.

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

ANNETTE: As a young child, we didn’t have a lot of books at home (or a library in town) so I don’t have many memories of being read to at home, but I know we had The Monster at the End of This Book. It cracked me up! In school, Mrs. Schoonover introduced me to Anne of Green Gables and Old Yeller. By 4th grade or so I began reading Ann M. Martin’s the Baby-sitters Club series and even owned some of them. I appreciated Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine’s creepy mysteries a bit later. I wasn’t a strong reader, but I loved my school’s library. It was there that I first met Laura Ingalls Wilder. As a child, I wondered if she exaggerated The Long Winter. It wasn’t until I was an adult researching for my own book that I learned the answer. (And readers of The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion will know the answer, too!)

ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

ANNETTE: I’m pretty sure this question wasn’t supposed to make me laugh, but it did. And you know what? That’s appropriate because I think one of the most important things to remember when writing for children is to make it fun—especially nonfiction if it’s an appropriate topic! It took me a while to figure this out, but now I try to add more humor to my writing.

cover wright brothers

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

ANNETTE: I need quiet to write, and I prefer to write inside. Though I don’t have an office, I do have a desk. I use a laptop connected to a larger monitor for most of my writing. When I really need to focus—such as on just the first lines of a book or revisions—I prefer to use pen and paper. (Pentel’s EnerGel Needle Tip pens are my favorite. And they’re refillable!)

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

ANNETTE: Um…is it fair to say when my family doesn’t need me? It really depends on the time of year. If my children are in school (and at school), I don’t get started until mid-morning. But during the summer my mornings tend to start early. If I’m well rested, I might be at my desk by 5:30. Other days I might get up close to 7 and exercise, eat, and shower before starting. It just depends on the day. Exercise may cut into my writing time, but if I’m going to sit at my desk for hours each day, I need to get my muscles moving.

ME: Why do you write for children?

ANNETTE: I love to inspire and encourage children through my words. Facts are fun, and I want kids to celebrate their curiosity. I love that my words can teach kids though a bit differently now than when I was a classroom teacher.

author assembly

ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. 

 ANNETTE: Aspiring writers must be persistent. Take the time to study the publishing world. Consider yourself a life-long learner of the craft of writing. Learn how to use mentor texts and spend a lot of time reading recently-published books in your genre. And find a critique partner (or two) or a critique group for writers in your genre. You will learn so much as you study their manuscripts, and they’ll help you improve your own.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide was inspired by another book. I had the idea for The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion in 2014 when I was reading the Chronicles of Narnia with my own children and going through a companion guide which they loved! I knew I could write a book like Roar! A Christian Family’s Guide to Narnia. I didn’t even know what a mentor text was, but I studied the book and used it as a model. The next summer I attended my first writing conference (though I’d already taken online classes and been published in magazines). Though this was my first book idea, it will be my 7th book published. Writing takes a lot of persistence and patience! BUT if you have a dream, keep at it.

I know The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion is a better book because of my wait. The publisher and I waited two years from their offer to the contract (because of rights and permissions). During that time I spent lots more time reading children’s books and learned the wonder of sidebars. My sample manuscript didn’t include sidebars, but the final version of ‘The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion is full of them along with lots of history, thoughtful questions, pioneer terms, and 75 activities for fans of the Little House books.

ME: And I absolutely LOVE the sidebars, Annette…and so will parents and teachers…and kids! But we’re not done yet because I know you have a double-header sweet treat for us. Take it away, Annette!

Annette: I love chocolate chip cookies! It took me years and years to find a recipe that I LOVED that didn’t require a special ingredient. But when my friend made me her cookies, I asked for the recipe…and it actually worked for me! The key is to add more flour for some extra fluff and goodness. Here’s my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Can I share a second favorite cookie-related recipe, too? Chocolate chip cookie pie is my favorite pie to make. It’s quick and delicious. Other than the pie crust, it only takes a few minutes to get it in the oven. (Sometimes I cheat and make my pat-in-the-pan pie crust so it’s still in the oven in a matter of minutes.) And here’s the chocolate chip cookie pie recipe!

ME and every single one of my readers: Can you share a second favorite cookie-related recipe? You bet! And I love the idea of a chocolate chip cookie PIE! Last week, Carrie Finison shared a doughnut cookie recipe to celebrate her new book, DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS…and now you are sharing a chocolate chip cookie PIE recipe to celebrate the launch of your new book, THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER COMPANION

Annette at Almanzo

I know everyone joins me in thanking Annette for sharing some of her writing journey and insights with us. And please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of a copy of her wonderful new book, THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER COMPANION…why not tell us your favorite TV series when you were growing up.

I’m wishing everyone a safe and happy weekend. My days are a whirlwind of sorting/purging/packing…my house is sold and the closing is August 31. And one of the perks of all of this is that I am finding scraps of paper and old PiBoIdMo (Storystorm) notebooks filled with story ideas.

25 thoughts on “ANNETTE WHIPPLE: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

  1. Congratulations Annett! The book sounds fantastic. I loved the Little House TV series. I even wrote a petition to my parents to stay up past my bed time so I could watch full episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow. I must have this book. I loved Little House. It was definitely one of my favorites. But my main favorite tv show as a kid was V, which yes was too old for me and my mother kept saying “These kids are going to have nightmares!” But my father (and I) loved it and HAD to watch, nightmares or not. So…V and Little House: my heart has room for both. Congratulations, Annette, on what looks like an awesome book! I know my girls and I will love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Best of luck, Annette, on your new book, and good luck Vivian on the move. It sound like you might be over the hump. (I loved Bonanza too, but also sitcoms like the Dick Van Dyke show–apparently, I’m not afraid to show my age!)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Congratulations, Annette! I loved watching Little House on the Prairie. I also loved the Brady Bunch. You book sounds wonderful, and the cookies delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Annette, what a great idea you had! Like you, I grew up in a small town with no library. Most of the books we had at home were Little Golden Books. But, a kind auntie sent me a couple of series books: Cherry Ames Student Nurse and Nancy Drew–which I devoured. One of my favorite TV shows was Bonanza; another favorite was the Mickey Mouse Club (I’m a bit older than you!).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would bet Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza contributed to many of our ideas of history as children. It was an engaging way to learn, though probably not always very representative of reality. But it shows that making characters from the past come alive is pretty irresistible. Congratulations, Annette!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow Vivian! Congratulations on your move and finding useful writing ideas in the process. Thank you for bringing Annette’s interview to us. I didn’t read Little House until i was teaching (70s) and was SO excited when the show came out. My favorite series as a kid were Sky King, Fury, Lone Ranger and Micky Mouse Club’s Spin and Marty. i loved that Little House had a FEMALE star! I’m excited to read the Companion. I might try the recipes, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Annette, your book is a sure seller as. I spread the news near Laura’s “Little Town.” I grew up just 25 miles from De Smet, and have her stories in my veins. And I know the answer to your Long Winter question! Vivian, thanks for another great interview, congrats on your home selling, and best wishes in all things!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So happy for your new books, Annette! I wish I had this one when I was homeschooling my kids. I know it would have added to their passion for Laura Ingalls Wider’s books. As a child, I remember our whole family gathering to watch The Wonderful World Of Disney on Sunday nights. Now Disney has channels!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember watching Little House and it brings back such fond memories. We we lived in the UP of Michigan, we only got one channel on TV and as soon as I heard the theme song from Little House, I was filled with joy and rushed to the tiny TV and didn’t even mind the staticky reception.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations! I loved Little House and still watch the reruns. My favorites as a kid were Bonanza and Walt Disney. I also watched the original Little House when I was older and the Waltons. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll have to try them.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations Annette! I loved Michael Landon and followed him from Bonanza to Little House on the Prairie as well! One of my favorites! I loved reading the books as a teenager and would have liked this companion back then! Love love love Chocolate chip cookies, so Thank you for the recipe and also for the pie!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great photos! It’s been many years, but on our way to WA state from Missouri, we stopped at Laura and Almanzo’s home. It amazed me how tiny they both were! Can’t wait to read and learn more. 🙂 Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.