WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
FOR WRITERS, ILLUSTRATORS, PARENTS, TEACHERS, LIBRARIANS, AND BOOK LOVERS EVERYWHERE
I feel so blessed because every day I get to connect with amazing authors and illustrators. And sometimes I am doubly blessed, and the persons is both an author AND an illustrator, all rolled into one! I’m talking about none other than today’s amazing Will Write for Cookies guest, Benson Shum. I know you’ll agree when I share some of the inside spreads of his NEW BOOK, ANZU, THE GREAT KAIJU, THAT JUST LAUNCHED ON JANUARY 11th!!!
Benson Shum is a children’s book Author/Illustrator and Disney Animator. He uses watercolor, ink and digital tools to create his illustrations. Aside from writing and illustrating, Benson is also an Animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he was a part of such films as Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Frozen 2, Raya & the Last Dragon and Encanto. Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Benson now lives in Los Angeles, California.
You can find him on his website::http://bensonshum.com/
And on social media:
ME: And right now, you can find him right here, on Picture Books Help Kids Soar! Welcome, Benson! Thank you so much for stopping by. It’s a thrill to meet you – I absolutely love your books! And I also want to thank you for the generous giveaway – a copy of ANZU, some stickers and an art print! I know everyone is going to make sure to leave a comment and share this post so they will be entered to win. But right now, we want to find out more about you and your path to publication.
ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?
BENSON: My favorite authors/illustrators as a child were Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, and Alice and Martin Provensen. I remember laughing and giggling through all their books. The play of the illustration with the text was amazing. They fit perfectly. I think that has influenced a lot of my work. Quentin Blake’s work says so much in just a few lines.
ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
BENSON: I wish I read more back then. I may have started writing earlier. There are lots of rules when it comes to story, but we don’t have to be confined to those walls. It’s good to have that structure, but it’s also ok to break them as well.
ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outisdie, special room, laptop, pen and paper?
BENSON: I like to write where there is a bit of noise, like coffee shops, the park, the living room with the tv on. I usually like to write with music to get in the mood. If I’m writing something dramatic or sad, I will try to find music that has that emotional beat to it. When I’m illustrating, I’m usually at my desk because all my tools are there. I always sketch with pen and paper first, then transfer the work digitally and continue to refine. But once I go into final art, I work traditionally with watercolor and ink.
ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?
BENSON: I usually write during the day. I’m a morning person, so writing and illustrating in the morning is where I get the most done. Once the afternoon hits, I tend to get distracted. Haha! Also I tend to jot down a lots of notes on my phone when an idea sparks. Whether I do something with those ideas or not, it’s a good idea to write them out.
ME: Why do you write for children?
BENSON: I write for children because I love telling stories. I love to hear stories from my nieces and nephews or friends and listen to how their imaginations are so vast. It’s inspiring. I want to capture that in my books. I also want to make books where kids can see themselves. That my nieces and nephews can say, hey, that’s me
ME: Benson, do you have any other thoughts or advice for writers, parents, educators, librarians, or kids?
BENSON: My thoughts and advice would be to read a lot. Read in all genres. Learn to observe things around you. Anything from a tree, to a chair, to how people move and gesture. Keep asking yourself “why” and stay curious. I hope whether you are a kid, parent, educator, writer and or librarians that we look at how the text and the illustrations can sometimes tell a different story. Or give the story more depth. Sometimes a character’s expression can say 10 times the meaning with a single word. That’s why I love kids books, they’re not only for children, they’re also meaningful for grown up kids as well.
Thank you so much Vivian for having me on your wonderful blog. This was so fun, and thank you to the readers for taking the time to listen to me ramble. 🙂
ME: We are the ones who need to be thanking you, Benson! We are grateful for everything you’ve shared…and I know you have one more very special item to share – a favorite treat recipe of yours.
BENSON: Here’s where I got the recipe from: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/17165/big-soft-ginger-cookies/
Ginger Cookie recipe:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup molasses
Preheat oven 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
In large bowl, mix together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in water and molasses. Gradually add in the sifted ingredients. Shape dough into small sized balls and roll them lightly in sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press gently to flatten slightly.
Back for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookie to cool for 5 minutes before removing from oven.
WOW…Ginger cookies are one of my favorites, too. This looks like a need-to-make-this-soon recipe! Thank you, Benson, for your insights and recipe and for the giveaway!!
Hey everyone…please make sure you leave a comment to be entered! And also, please make sure you order a copy of Benson book from your local indie, review it after you read it, tell friends about it, and ask your local library to purchase copies for their collection. These are the things that really help our favorite authors and illustrators – and encourage publishers to make more awesome books!
Please have a safe and healthy weekend, dear friends! Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – let’s join hands and work together to engineer kindness and compassion and equality for all.