Hello Readers! Here we are in November, after what was hopefully a happy Hallowe’en. Today on the Kid Lit Village blog, I’m happy to interview Laura Renauld, author of SQUIRREL’S SWEATER, illustrated by Jennie Poh, published by Beaming Books.
ABOUT SQUIRREL’S SWEATER
As Winter Warmup approaches, all but one of the woodland friends are bundled up for the snowy season ahead.
Bear, Porcupine, and Doe are all ready to hunker down for winter, but not Squirrel. When she discovers that the sweater her grandma knit for her has shrunk, she doesn’t know what to do! No amount of stretching or sewing or help from her friends seems to fix her favorite sweater. But perhaps it doesn’t need to stay a sweater to remind her of her grandma and her friends?
The colorful gang of woodland friends from Porcupine’s Pie and Bear’s Bicycle return to help Squirrel as she learns to navigate and accept change. A final spread features an activity that teaches young readers how to transform their own piece of clothing into something new.
LAURA RENAULD is a children’s author, moment miner, and imagination investor. When she is not writing books about porcupines, pirates, and pickles, Laura can be found at the library, in the woods, or sharing her love of reading and writing with children. She is also the founder of the Debut Review Challenge, where readers can review and win! The current challenge ends November 30th. Details at www.laurarenauld.com.
Welcome to the blog, Laura!
Thank you for having me, Cynthia!
Q. Let’s start out by hearing why you write books for children.
A. As a child, reading was my ticket to adventure, fantastical worlds, animal friends, and historical time periods. As a teacher, I noticed how my students engaged with read-alouds emotionally: gasping, giggling, and sighing. Books can entertain, educate, and encourage. They can teach empathy and inspire inclusion. I wanted to be a part of that. It is always a delight to share books that I’ve written with children. I hope that my stories spark a sense of wonder, are comforting companions, and stimulate a child’s own imagination.
I’m a teacher too; and I do love a good read-aloud and the experience of enjoying the children’s responses to the story.
Q. Tell us about the inspiration for your book and how it came to be.
A. SQUIRREL’S SWEATER is the third installment in the Woodland Friends series from Beaming Books. It follows PORCUPINE’S PIE (2018) and BEAR’S BICYCLE, which released in April of this year. Each book features the same four friends: Porcupine, Bear, Squirrel, and Doe, but each story focuses on a different main character and is set in a distinct season. After PORCUPINE’S PIE was published, a fall story about friendship and generosity, I realized that I had unintentionally set the stage for four seasonal stories. I started brainstorming titles with students during school visits. After a quick lesson on alliteration, I asked students to choose Bear, Squirrel, or Doe, as well as a season other than fall. Then they had to come up with an object to create a title. Doe’s Doughnuts was my favorite suggestion, but since I already have pie in one of the books, I’m going in a different direction for Doe’s story.
Oh Laura, what an adorable book series! It is so interesting to hear that it didn’t start out with that intention. Now that I’ve read SQUIRREL’S SWEATER, I’m so curious to know Doe’s story.
Q. Share a piece of advice for children’s writers.
A. Be patient and flexible. The publishing industry is a slow business. It takes time to develop your craft, find the right agent/editor to champion your story, and then move through the publication process. And there are always bumps along the way: editors move houses, publication dates get changed, a global pandemic hits… Focus on what you can control and be ready to roll with the rest.
Laura, I am so happy to hear your advice because patience and flexibility seem to come fairly naturally to me so hopefully those qualities will serve me well and aspiring writers out there too.
Q. What part of being a writer do you love most?
A. Writing allows me to express myself creatively, connect with other creators in the supportive Kidlit world, and, best of all, encourage kids to love books and reading. What could be better than that?
Thanks, Laura! It’s been a pleasure having you on Kid Lit Village.
You can connect with Laura here:
-website link https://laurarenauld.com
-twitter link https://twitter.com/laura_renauld
Did you know, I’ve written a couple of books too?
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