Thursday, April 2, 2009

Interview with Children's Book Author Kim Hutmacher

Today is International Children's Book Day.

Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, April 2nd, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books.

I interviewed children's book author, Kimberly Hutmacher for you.
According to the Sylvan Dell website (I LOVE THEIR BOOKS!),
Mrs. Hutmacher is a homeschooling Mom from Illinois.She has written numerous pieces of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children’s magazines and anthologies. She has also written three eBooks for the educational website “A to Z Kid’s Stuff” and served as poetry editor for Wee Ones Magazine for two years. Her new book,
Paws,Claws,Hands and Feet is recommended for ages 3-7.
It is a lively rhyming book that your preschooler will enjoy.
As with all Sylvan Dell picture books, free online resources and support for the book is available on the Sylvan Dell Publishing website. All information in the book was verified by a Curator of Education at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas.
We also liked that it had a couple of pages of activities in the back of the book.
Mrs.Hutmacher, let me first say congratulations on getting your children's book published. I am looking forward to reading it to my daughter. I appreciate your taking a few moments today to talk to me and I look forward to sharing it with my readers.
Please, call me Kim. Thanks for having me, Kate. I hope that you, your child and your readers enjoy reading my book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Can you tell me about your book, Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet?
Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet is a rhyming picture book about how animals use their appendages. It also includes a For Creative Minds section at the end with fun activities to extend the topic even further.
What made you want to write a children's book?
I’ve been writing for publication for seven years. Prior to this first picture book, I sold many pieces of fiction, nonfiction and poetry to magazines and anthologies. Writing, in general, has always been a great love of mine, but the reason I wrote this particular book started with a home school unit study on animals. I wanted to find a book that introduced animal appendages and how they helped each individual animal. I found a few books that identified animal parts, but they were written in a bit of a dry, just-the-facts manner. I wanted something lively and engaging for my preschoolers and early elementary age children. The seed was planted, and I wrote a book that my children love!
More importantly, how did you find time?
That’s the million-dollar question. How do we homeschool moms find the time to do anything outside of taking care of our families and educating our kiddos? I can usually squeeze in a few hours a week of writing time. My children are old enough now that I can send them to their rooms to play quietly while Mama has her own quiet time. It’s not a lot of time, but it is enough to write a first draft or work on a revision or even just play around with a new idea.
I know you are a homeschooling Mom, how did this influence your subject choice, if at all?
Instead of using textbooks, we use trade picture books and chapter books for most of our science and history studies. We enjoy books that explain concepts through lively and engaging stories. So, when I couldn't find a book like that on this particular topic, it didn’t mean we gave up on the topic or settled for the boring, dry stuff. I researched and wrote a book for us.
When trying to write this book, did you sneak off to work on your own, or did you find a way to incorporate it into your schooling? Any tips or hints you would like to share with my readers?
I can multitask quite a bit, but I really need my surroundings as quiet as possible when I’m trying to write. When my kiddos were younger, my husband would take them out for a few hours on Saturday mornings to give me this time. As I mentioned above, now that they are older, they can understand that Mommy needs her quiet time, and they are very good about letting me have that time.
How did it feel to hear it would be published?
I was beyond thrilled! It’s a nice feeling to write something that both you and your family enjoy, but knowing that so many other people are going to get the chance to read the story, and hopefully enjoy it too, really takes it to a whole new level. I received the news just a few days before Thanksgiving in November 2007. Needless to say, I had an extra blessing to be grateful for that year.
How did your family react?
As I note in my book dedication, my husband and children are my biggest fans! They have been so supportive, and they can’t wait to accompany me on the book signings that I have scheduled. I owe so much of this opportunity to the support and love they have given me.
Will you be following up with another book?
I have written other books, and some are being considered by editors as we speak, but I haven’t received ‘yes or no’ responses from them yet. For any of your readers who might be considering a writing career, I have to say that much time is spent waiting on responses from editors. It can some times take a year or more for a response. Editors receive literally thousands of submissions each year for just a handful of book slots. In order to give each manuscript the time and attention it deserves, we writers must wait and wait and wait. My advice is to spend that time writing lots of new material and honing your craft. Like anything else, when we keep busy, time flies!
If yes, can you give us a hint about the topic?
I don’t like to get too specific about books that I haven’t sold yet. I guess I’m a bit superstitious that way, but I will tell you that, like Paws, Claws, Hands and Feet, they are nature related rhyming picture books.
Now, on a slightly more personal note, I really have to ask you what type of books do you prefer to read to your children? Do you have a favorite?
As far as picture books go, we really enjoy rhyming picture books. Classic titles we enjoy include Madeline, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and Green Eggs and Ham. More modern titles that we have enjoyed include Bear Snores On and Mrs. Biddlebox. Our favorite non-rhymers include Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny.
Do you have a favorite children's author? What was your favorite book as a child?
My favorite rhyming authors are the late great Linda Smith, Karma Wilson, Lisa Wheeler and Verla Kay. We also enjoy poetry collections, such as Come to My Party by Heidi B. Roemer and Lemonade Sun by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. My favorite book as a child was The Little Engine That Could.
How much does literature play a part in your home school?
It’s huge! Literature plays a large part in our science and history studies, and it also touches on our geography, grammar and math at times. I can’t imagine us truly enjoying our education without the constant of great literature.
Thank you for taking time to visit our little corner of the Garden State today, and I wish you great success with your book.
Thanks again for having me!
I hope you all enjoyed this author interview and if you'd like
to learn more about Kim Hutmacher and her writing,
check her out here, and


8)(8 said...

That was cool, Kate. You did a great job.

sarah said...

Great interview! That must have been fun to do :-)

Tara said...

This is a nice treat for your book post Kate!!

Great interview and the book looks interesting and fun! I guess patience is key in the world of publishing...

Wendy Hawksley said...

Awesome job! You should be on assignment for one of the homeschool mags! LOL

Knowing about secular, educational children's books written by fellow homeschoolers is wonderful. I know that I'll be looking for this one.

Marinela said...

The book looks interesting and fun!!!

Rockin' Moroccan Mama said...

Way to go Kate, You did an amazing interview. Loved it!!!!! I'll have to check her out.

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My homeschool buddies and I are all posting pics of our "home schools" as part of our idea sharing.

Plato said...

Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. Therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to discover the child's natural bent .