‘This one is for you’: Award-winning local children’s writer/illustrator Grace Lin to launch podcast answering kids’ questions on writing

  • Grace Lin, standing, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to Hazel Lin, 7, clockwise from front, Tilly Trindade, 8, Alona Fleisher, 8, Maddie Weil, 7, and Claire Danaher, 8, before recording them for her podcast, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at her home in Florence. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Grace Lin, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to her daughter, Hazel Lin, 7, before recording her for her podcast, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at her home in Florence. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Grace Lin, standing, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to Alona Fleisher, 8, from left, Maddie Weil, 7, Claire Danaher, 8, and her daughter, Hazel Lin, 7, before recording them for her podcast, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at her home in Florence. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Grace Lin, standing, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to Alona Fleisher, 8, from left, Maddie Weil, 7, and Claire Danaher, 8, after recording them for her podcast, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at her home in Florence. Her daughter, Hazel Lin, 7, behind her, was also recorded. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Grace Lin, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to Alona Fleisher, 8, before recording her for her podcast, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at her home in Florence. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Grace Lin, standing, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to her daughter, Hazel Lin, 7, before recording her for her podcast at her home in Florence. Above, Lin talks to Alona Fleisher, 8, from left, Maddie Weil, 7, and Claire Danaher, 8, after recording them for her podcast. STAFF PHOTOS/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Grace Lin, who is a children's book author and illustrator, talks to Maddie Weil, 7, before recording her for her podcast, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at her home in Florence. Tilly Trindade, 8, waits her turn. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 2/12/2020 8:01:31 AM

When children’s book author and illustrator Grace Lin visits schools, she often gets a lot of questions from students.

“The one thing I always notice is there are always a lot of questions and never enough time to answer them all.” Often, answering questions and interacting with students is the most fun part, she said. “I thought, I’d love to answer them all.”

Now, she’s gearing up to do just that. The Caldecott Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist is working on a new podcast, “Kids Ask Authors,” that she hopes to release next month.

The weekly five- to 10-minute podcast will take on a listener question — which can be submitted online or by leaving a voicemail — with a guest author.

“I’ve been collecting questions from kids, and then I take those questions and I go to my author friends and we answer them.”

She and her author guests take on questions such as: “How do you get your brain ready to write?” and “What inspires you to write new books?”

“My favorite one,” Lin said, is “what is your writing superpower?”

Then there are the kids’ questions that are less writing-related. “We have a lot like, do you have a pet? Even questions like that are fun,” Lin said. “The authors take that and say ‘yes, and I used this pet in my book.’”

At the end of each episode, Lin plans to have a short book review by a kid. “I’m also saying kids can also leave a joke,” she said with a laugh. “I’m even thinking it might be fun if kids want to read a little story they wrote.”

In Kids Ask Authors, Lin talks with many authors from the Valley but also those from elsewhere. Local authors including Mike Curato, Lisa Yee, Jarrett Krosoczka, Mo Willems and Jane Yolen. “Its all the local celebrities,” Lin said. She’s also recorded episodes with Don Tate and Shadra Strickland.

The plethora of children’s book writers and illustrators in the Valley makes it a good place to start the show, said Yolen, who has written hundreds of books and recorded an episode of the podcast with her daughter Heidi Stemple. “She’s perfectly poised to start this podcast here in the Valley,” Yolen said. “Here in the Valley, we may have the largest per capita number of children’s book authors and illustrators, or people in the children’s book industry, than anywhere in America.

One motivation is to make authors available to kids. “Not all schools can get authors in their classrooms in their schools; not everyone has the budget, time or support to do that. I feel like doing this podcast is a way to get kids who may not get to hear an author in the classroom.”

Lin hopes the podcast will help kids who may dream of becoming authors. “And to help parents help kids on their creative journey,” she added.

She is hoping teachers and librarians will use it. “It’s going to be short and once a week. Maybe Mondays they put it on for five minutes before they start their writing lesson,” she said.

“I think it would be kind of fun because it can be their lesson — they write their story and then they can send it to us and maybe we can play it.”

Kids in the Valley can participate in the podcast in an event on Friday, Feb. 14, at High Five Books. Lin will be recording kids’ questions and book reviews at the Florence bookstore from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“If kids have their questions, their jokes, their stories, whatever they want to bring, and I’ll have a recording session there and I’ll sign books too.”

Lin has previous experience hosting podcasts. “My first podcast was Kidlit Women*, where I talked about the inequities in the children’s book community … It’s a very niche audience but a very important thing for us to talk about.” The show ended this year after 101 episodes to give Lin more time for Kids Ask Authors.

Currently, Lin hosts Book Friends Forever with her childhood friend and current editor Alvina Ling, who is the editor-in-chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. “My Book Friends Forever podcast is for adults. When kids heard about that one, they wanted to listen to it, and they were quickly bored. So I wanted to do one for kids — this one is for you.”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy