Thursday, June 29, 2023

Q&A with Cathy Ballou Mealey




Cathy Ballou Mealey is the author of the new children's picture book Make More S'mores. Her other books include Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle. She lives north of Boston.


Q: What inspired you to write Make More S'mores?


A: I was inspired to try my hand at crafting a counting and mathematics book, since ONE toasted marshmallow plus TWO crispy graham crackers plus THREE sweet chocolate rectangles equals one perfectly proportioned, traditional s’more.


Feedback from my agent and editor led me to simplify the storyline to remove the math and enhance the broader themes of sharing, patience and generosity.


Q: What do you think Ariel Landy’s illustrations add to the story?


A: Ariel is so talented! Her work brought the hungry bears, a busy raccoon, and several sly squirrels to life in our story. She created an enchanting, flower-filled forest where furry friends cozy up and enjoy s’more after s’more on a beautiful dusky purple evening. And the squirrels really do steal the show – thanks entirely to Ariel!


Q: The Kirkus Review of the book says, in part, “One of the few things better than a gooey s’more—a warm, fuzzy friendship tale (about s’mores).” What do you think of that description?


A: I couldn’t be s’more excited! I’d like to invite the Kirkus Reviewer to come sit under the stars with me while I roast and toast endless crispy, chewy, gooey s’mores to thank them for their kind, thoughtful words.

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


A: It’s good to share with bears – if you are a raccoon! And I do hope the story reinforces the idea that we can all welcome others to join our fun, share our food, and make sweet memories together. Also, it is a good idea to ask for help when the party gets bigger than you had planned!


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am always juggling multiple picture book manuscripts in various stages of readiness, but I most recently polished a second story for Kids Can Press to follow Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle (2021), sending the two unlikely friends on another exciting, funny adventure.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: National S’mores Day is coming soon! It takes place annually on Aug. 10. Wouldn’t it be fun to plan an event full of roasted, toasted sweet treats and incorporate a reading of Make More S’mores? I’d love to hear stories and see photos if you do!


To find out more, or get in touch with Cathy:






--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Cathy Ballou Mealey.

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