Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Q&A with Leah Henderson





Leah Henderson is the author of the new children's picture book Your Voice, Your Vote. Her other books include The Magic in Changing Your Stars. She is based in Washington, D.C.


Q: What inspired you to write Your Voice, Your Vote, and how did you create your character Quetta?


A: While Quetta, her mom and grandma are definitely in my heart now, the idea started with my wonderful editor at HarperCollins, Carolina Ortiz. Sometimes you just need a kernel or a spark and you take off running, especially on such an important topic.


Quetta popped up fully formed in my mind—with the right amount of sass, curiosity, and love for her family and community.


Q: What do you think Keisha Morris’s illustrations add to the story?


A: Keisha did a wonderful job with the illustrations. They truly help a reader/listener settle into the story. I feel like I know the blocks and people she created, don’t you?

Q: The Kirkus Review of the book says, in part, “Henderson’s story of a loving family working hard to vote puts this civic duty into greater historical context.” What do you think of that description?


A: For me, it was not only important to depict present-day hurdles when it comes to voting, but also to highlight the history of voting in certain communities.


So yes, I was trying to put “this civic duty into greater historical context,” and I hope I was able to make it accessible for some of our youngest listeners.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?


A: Like with anything I write, I hope it will be a springboard to ask questions. I want young readers and listeners to be curious like Quetta and ask questions about voting, its history, and how some people try and limit other people’s access to exercising their right to vote.  


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Something is always whirling in my brain. Often it is more than one something. J Right now I am trying my best to figure out a new novel and a few picture books, but I feel like there will be many sunrises and sunsets before I figure them all out!


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: There is ALWAYS something else we should know! But for now, I will just say, thank you for sharing my work with your audience and I hope you have a safe, healthy, and magical holiday season.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Leah Henderson.

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