Monday, May 20, 2024

Q&A with Kari Ann Gonzalez




Kari Ann Gonzalez is the author of the new children's picture book How to Hatch a Reader


Q: What inspired you to write How to Hatch a Reader?


A: This story was inspired by my two emerging readers. As I looked for creative ways to help my daughters learn to read during the pandemic, we began taking our books outside for a bit of fresh air.


Amazingly, our six chickens always flocked to be near the action of my daughters reading aloud and often perched in their laps listening to the stories and looking at the pages. I could swear every time our chickens bokked, they were begging for more “B-B-B-book, books.”


Q: What do you think Rachel Suzanne’s illustrations add to the book?


A: I adore Rachel’s illustration style. The colors are warm, rich, and inviting and the characters she developed are far beyond anything I could have envisioned. Happy coincidence - the farmer in the book looks just like a mix of my two daughters!


Rachel planted so many lovely Easter eggs to discover in the book, like what the fox is up to and the funky feel of the disco ball scene. I had a vision for the text, but as a picture book author, so much of the story is told through the illustrations and she did a phenomenal job bringing our book to life.

Q: The School Library Journal review of the book says, “While the story is suited to a read-aloud and young children will enjoy the bright animated farmyard full of chickens learning to read, parents and guardians may find the most delight and support from the practical guidance this book offers about teaching emerging readers.” What do you think of that description?


A: Great question! I am a strong believer that picture books are made to be enjoyed by everyone, so my books will always have nods to kids and adults for that very reason. Creating a book to help encourage and support emerging readers and their caregivers is exactly what I set out to do, so I am thrilled to receive this great review acknowledging it and even more thrilled when I won the Northern Lights Picture Book Award for humor!


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


A: I would love for kids to take away that learning to read takes practice and they should celebrate every milestone and success along the way, preferably with a funky chicken dance party!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m always working on a new picture book or two. This time, a book about my recent travel on a family vacation to Florida. So much inspiration! I’m also working through edits on a middle grade and I’m currently writing a young adult novel as well.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I adore puns and idioms and had such an egg-cellent time crafting every word of this story. I hope you enjoy it!


Also, be sure to check out the free educator guide and printable activities, they are a great pairing for the book on my website


I have five books coming out in the next few years, including How To Hatch A Writer, so keep an eye out for new books hatching soon. Happy reading!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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