|Maggie Fischer and Courtney Acampora|
Maggie Fischer and Courtney Acampora are the authors of the Wild Bios board books for kids. The first two in the series are William Sheepspeare and Frida Catlo.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for William Sheepspeare and Frida Catlo?
Courtney: I saw a cute illustration of a cat wearing a flower crown. It reminded me of the artist Frida Kahlo, and the pun hit me—Frida Catlo! I shared this with Maggie, and she and I came up with the concept of short bios of historical figures as animals with “punny” names. We launched Frida Catlo first, then decided to include a famous writer, so William Shakespeare became William Sheepspeare!
Q: What kind of research did you do to create the books?
Maggie: The Wild Bios series involves a surprising amount of research, considering the tongue-in-cheek concept. Although the books are meant to be funny, it is still very important to us to retell each historical figure’s life as accurately as possible. So we make sure to study their lives chronologically, sitting down together and using each figure’s biography as the framework for each story. Then, the puns are sprinkled in for some added fun.
Q: Who do you see as the audience for the books, and what do you hope they take away from reading them?
Courtney: The books were intended for really young children, around 10 months to 2 years of age. But the Wild Bios series is really a great way for an even wider age range of kids to learn about historical figures in a new and unique way.
We want this series to really serve as a jumping off point for children so they are inspired to learn even more about each historical figure. We had been learning about these figures in school for years, and still came away with things we didn’t know before. We also hope parents enjoy these books and get a laugh out of them as well—so the audience is pretty unlimited!
Q: Will the series continue?
Maggie: Yes! We have two more Wild Bios books releasing this year: Amelia Harehart and Neil Armswan. We are having a lot of fun with this series and hope it will continue beyond these two as well.
Q: What are you working on now?
Maggie: We have a handful of different projects on our plates at the moment, because we both write original and licensed titles. It’s too early in the development process to go into detail about those, but Wild Bios won’t be our last project as co-authors—we like working together!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb