Hello Readers and welcome to Kid Lit Village and my series of picture book author and illustrator interviews! This week we have Debra Shumaker, author of FREAKY FUNKY FISH: Odd Facts about Fascinating Fish, a non-fiction picture book illustrated by Claire Powell, published by Running Press Kids.

Cover Art by Claire Powell

BOOK SYNOPSIS: Fish have fins and gills and tails. All fish swim and most have scales. . . but not all fish are alike. From zapping, stinging, even singing, to playing dead or a see-through head, discover the freaky and funky ways fish look and act to survive in the waters they live in.

Debra, welcome to the Kid Lit Village blog and thank you for taking time for an interview!

Image by Yanka Photography

Please share a piece of advice for children’s writers.

If you’re a picture book writer like I am, type up the text of picture books you love, especially recent ones. Get the words away from the art so you can see how the author created the story without the pictures. And label the page spreads as you type. You will learn so much about writing a story and pacing by doing this. I’ve typed up more than 200 in the last ten years.

What part of being a writer do you love most?

Getting lost in the research and the story. Research is so much fun—I’m sure I bore my family at the dinner table with tales of my subject matter when I’m in the thick of it! And when I write, I have a love/hate relationship with the revision process. Usually, I feel like I’m pulling teeth trying to put a story together. I often hit a point where I dislike my story and put it away for a few days or weeks, sometimes months. But when/if I hit the sweet spot where the story flows and comes together, I feel like I’m walking on air. It’s the best feeling ever.

What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I hope readers realize how incredibly awesome nature is! There are more than 32,000 species of fish and they are not all alike. So many have adapted in seriously cool ways to survive in the environments that they live in. One kind of fish has a see-through head while other fish coat themselves in snot at night! How can you not want to know more?!

Debra, I think nature is super interesting too! In fact, this book would be loved by the children in my nature preschool class, I’m sure of it! My group is so curious about the natural world. Thanks so much for sharing your book with us!

Debra’s social media links:

Readers: Thanks for stopping by Kid Lit Village blog; I hope you’ll be back next week to discover another new book release from the amazing Kid Lit Community!

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