An Interview with Every Day Birds author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater . . . by my chickens

An Interview with Every Day Birds author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater . . . by my chickens

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Happy Poetry Friday! Heidi is hosting at My Juicy Little Universe!

Look! Spotted in the wild, EVERY DAY BIRDS at Book People in Austin, TX!!

BOOKPEOPLE

I’m thrilled to have Amy on the farm today, but have been so busy I delegated the interview to my chickens. (Please don’t tell them both an owl and a hawk are featured in the book!)

Text from Every Day Birds written by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. Illustrations copyright 2016 by Dylan Metrano. Used with permission from Orchard Books/Scholastic.
Text from Every Day Birds written by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. Illustrations copyright 2016 by Dylan Metrano. Used with permission from Orchard Books/Scholastic.

Their words are in blue. Amy’s lovely (and patient) responses follow. My girls are a bit self-centered!

Amy! We are delighted to have you pull up a perch on the farm today. 

We’re excited to hear your favorite bird is a chicken.

Oh? NOT a chicken?

blackwhite

A chick-aDEEEEEEE, well that’s a bird of a different feather altogether. We’re a bit more, Rubenesque around here, shall we say?

Let’s talk about EVERY DAY BIRDS, published by Orchard/Scholastic. Why did you want to write a book about birds without including chickens?

Oh, sweet girls!  Not everything a lass writes and thinks about can be related to chickens.  This book is about wild birds, not domesticated beauties like you.  But even though this particular book does not include a chicken, I have written a rhyming poem about chicks,

peep

a found poem about chickens, and an essay about backyard chickens.  Too, I’ve drawn a metal chicken, and we have chickens here at home.  I love many chicken books including INTERRUPTING CHICKEN by David Ezra Stein, THE PLOT CHICKENS by Mary Jane and Herm Auch, and HENNY by Elizabeth Rose Stanton.

We enjoy Chicks & Salsa, by Aaron Reynolds & Paulette Bogan! And of course, The Little Red Hen!

How did you decide which birds to include in this book?

I started with the birds my husband has taught me about, birds we see around here in Western New York.  Then I thought about birds near the shore, birds near the city…  Because I could only include a few (20) birds in this short book, I chose wild birds that young children would be most likely to see in their daily lives.

Could it be that *everyone* doesn't see chickens every day?! SHOCKING!
Did she say there are people who don’t see chickens every day?! SHOCKING! Poor dears!

Did you first write a poem and then think it would make a good picture book, or vice versa?

I wrote this poem imagining it as a picture book, a picture book I wish I had owned when our children were just wee chicks themselves.

Have you ever thought about writing a book about chickens?

I have not.  But now I am thinking about it.  Thank you, ladies!

What was your favorite part of the publication process? Was it anything like laying an egg?

Well, as I have never laid an egg before, I cannot be sure.  However, there is certainly a bit of pain in the growing of a book and a great feeling of accomplishment when a book hatches.  My favorite part is often seeing artwork.  I adore Dylan Metrano’s magnificent papercut illustrations in EVERY DAY BIRDS.

Did you like poetry when you were a little chick, that is, girl?

Why yes, I did!  This was my favorite poetry book back in the nest.

A photo from Amy of the very book she loved as a little chick.
A photo from Amy of the very book she loved as a little girl, crayon marks included.

What was the most surprising thing you learned during the process of creating EVERY DAY BIRDS?

I am not sure, but I know that the more I write, the more I want to learn.  I am still reading bird books, more aware than ever how very little I know.  I could read bird books from now until the day I die, and I would still have so much to learn.  Writing this book, I also discovered how generous the birding community is with sharing knowledge.

How do you turn the chicken scratch of ideas into finished projects? How do you know when they’re done?

Well, one thing I do is keep notebooks.  These notebooks of mine are very – no offense – chicken-scratchy, but they are the coops for my new ideas. 

As for knowing when a project is completed, one of my favorite quotes about writing is by Paul Valéry – “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”  I often keep tinkering with pieces on my own, even after they are published.  But if I never let them go, there would be no books, no readers, no cool visits with literary chickens such as this.

What else are you hatching these days?

My next egg-book is READ! READ! READ!, a collection of poems about reading, to be illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke and published by by WordSong/Boyds Mills Press.  I hope to see some sketches next month and cannot wait!

Will there be a sequel, such as “Every Day Birds: In the Rainforest”? Or other habitats? So many birds, so little time. 

Gosh, I don’t know, girls.  I have considered EVERY DAY INSECTS, but there is nothing in the works to make EVERY DAY… a series at this time.  Perhaps you should write EVERY DAY CHICKENS.  You know, those animals in Doreen Cronin’s CLICK CLACK MOO did some mighty fine writing.

Much gratitude to you, Collins Lewis Chickens, for spending time with me today.  Our family’s chickens say “Bawk! Bawk!” to you, and I ask that you please give a warm feathery hug to wonderful Keri.  xo

Amy's chickens (and a ROOSTER!) at her farm.
Amy’s chickens (and a ROOSTER!) at her farm.

A special thanks to Amy for her enthusiasm for being interviewed by our chickens, who have now formed a book club, and to Brooke Shearouse, gracious publicity coordinator with Scholastic Inc.

32 Replies to “An Interview with Every Day Birds author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater . . . by my chickens”

    1. Thanks for being such a joy to work with! The girls say you can come back anytime . . . just bring that rooster! 😉

  1. Well, to continuing laughing, I’m sorry that the chickens felt left out, yet there is something to be said for birds of a feather flocking together, even if it’s in a blog post about a beautiful book about birds, just not chickens. Thanks for more insight, I love Amy’s new book, and am excited to hear there will be a book about books coming. Thanks Keri for supporting the chickens’ need to ask about this book! Love the pictures.

  2. Keri, what a hoot this post is. There is so much humor from both you and Amy, that I just needed to keep reading to see what antics the chickens would get into. (a side note that I have your digital poem for Winter Wanderings in my sneak peek video in my Poetry Friday post)

  3. I’m glad the chickens have formed a book club. They did a great job with this interview! I can almost imagine them having their own talk show. I love that photo of the chickens checking out Amy’s book 🙂

  4. This is the best. No offense to Michelle or any other human interviewer, but your chickens (and at the top of the post I thought you meant your *children*; literal chicken were a great surprise!) brought out a tone in Amy that I’ve not heard before. They should definitely have a series of interviews if not a book!

    Have they read The Hoboken Chicken Emergency? Not to be missed!

    1. We love book recommendations and will have to check this one out immediately! You are kind to want more of our bird-brained humor. Thank you, Heidi!

  5. Best author interview I’ve read in a hen’s age,wings down! Keri and Amy, great interplay and humor. A masterpiece among author’s interviews.

  6. Keri,
    Loved your chickens and their interview of Amy VanDerwater’s new book Every Day Birds.
    Everyone needs to fly to Kauai to see our wild chickens. They are a hoot–the girls would love all the roosters.
    Thanks for all the humor and a great interview.

  7. Love those chicks! Unlike some wannabee comics, they never laid an egg. So perfect, too, for Easter weekend; though dark chocolate eggs are my fav. Hope this dynamic duo will do more eggs-ellent interviews soon. God bless!

  8. My favorite part of this funny, feathered interchange:
    What was your favorite part of the publication process? Was it anything like laying an egg?

    Well, as I have never laid an egg before, I cannot be sure. However, there is certainly a bit of pain in the growing of a book and a great feeling of accomplishment when a book hatches.

    So, so true, Amy (and Keri’s “kids”).

    Thanks for making my morning a little sunnier ~

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