Kathy ShoemakerHow did you get started in children’s books?

Good fortune and hard work — that’s the simple answer but of course it is far more than that. For most of my life I wanted to create books. From an early age I met children’s book writers and illustrators at book stores, libraries and book fairs so I was able to ask questions about how to get started. Those encounters made me believe I could do it. As well I was blessed with teachers who encouraged me to pursue my dream as did my parents.

What (or who) inspires your writing or art?

Great writing, great art, and the thousands of unexpected poetic moments in life.

What was your favourite book as a child? Why?

It’s difficult to select only one. I would have to mention  one or two for each year. I was very fortunate in having had teachers who read out loud to the class. From those experiences, I loved Mary Poppins, Swiss Family Robinson, Twenty-one Balloons, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Black Beauty, The Tale of Mrs. TiggyWinkle.

The first novels I read by myself were Little House on the Prairie and Little Women. Also I loved reading collections of fairy tales. Another favourite was Miss Hickory.

How can teachers use your books in the classroom?

First of all by reading them out loud to their students. The books I’ve illustrated are for many ages. Some of them at first glance may appear to be for the youngest children, 2-5, but those books have something a teacher can use in high school English classes to view how visuals and words interact and support each other and for teaching and learning key features of visual literacy.

What are you looking forward to most during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week?

Since I’ve never been to the Eastern Townships it will be a great travel adventure. Talking about books is my favourite topic. So talking with people about them and how to make them is a great treat.

Author/Illustrator Profile