Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Q&A with Marcia Berneger




Marcia Berneger is the author of the new children's picture book Busy Feet. Her other books include A Dreidel in Time. Also a retired elementary school teacher, she lives in San Diego, California.


Q: What inspired you to write Busy Feet? Why did you decide to focus on feet?


A: To be honest, I think the words to the first verse danced in my head one day. The idea of writing a fun, fast-paced movement book for toddlers appealed to me, especially since I was soon to become a Grammy for the first time. Feet made sense because that's where all the movement centers for a toddler.


Q: What do you think Susanna Chapman's illustrations add to the story?


A: They add an electric vibrance to the story. The style is very different from other "typical" toddler books and I believe that is what will make Busy Feet stand out from the crowd.


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


A: I hope toddlers will rock to the beat of the story, moving their bodies as it is read to them. It's simply a fun book to enjoy and move to. It also helps show opposites in a fun way--an added bonus.


Q: How did you first get interested in creating children's books?


A: I've been writing since I was 10 years old, when I created my first full-length story. Jumping ahead 15 years, I woke up at 3 a.m. from a weird dream with a story idea that I stayed awake to get down on paper. (That turned into a chapter book.)


The next leap took me 10 more years to make. I wrote the text to a time-travel Hanukkah chapter book (which took me another 15 years or so to revisit and send into a publisher. A Dreidel in Time came out in 2019.).


I started writing picture books in 2005, but needed time to perfect my craft. Buster the Little Garbage Truck rolled into bookstores in 2015 and Busy Feet will scurry into stores on Valentine’s Day.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I've always got several stories percolating on front or back burners. Right now I'm working on a biography, a chapter book spy thriller, and one or two Jewish-themed nonfiction picture books.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: My current passion is seamlessly weaving diverse characters into my stories to normalize their presence in children's literature. I believe that is the key to normalizing diversity throughout the world.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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