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Daniel KirkDescribe your new book.
My newest book is called Library Mouse. It's about a little fellow named Sam with big ears, gray fur and a tail that lives in a hole beneath a library shelf. He spends every night reading books in the library, and though he never leaves the children's room, he discovers a world of adventure in books that thrills and fascinates him. Sam wonders what it would be like to write and illustrate books of his own. He begins making up stories, creating little mouse-sized books, then putting them on the library shelves. When the people in the library find his homemade books they want to know who Sam is, and how he makes such wonderful books. Sam is shy, yet he finds a way to encourage all the children to try making books of their own. Writing and drawing pictures can be a lot of fun!
I wrote and illustrated the story of Library Mouse. It took about six drafts to get the narrative right, and four months to paint the pictures. It was a pleasure to create my characters and tell my own story, meant to inspire people to be creative. Expressing myself creatively is one of the greatest joys in my life, and I think everyone has a creative side, just waiting to be explored.
In Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books, the two characters have a very special friendship. Frog and Toad are always thinking about each other, worrying about each other's feelings, finding fun things to do together, making the most of their experiences. There's an honesty, a spaciousness, a simple magic in their world and in their friendship that's really special to me. I wouldn't want to jump in between Frog and Toad, however. There's only room for two in that relationship!
Describe your most memorable teacher.
What was your favorite story as a child?
What do you do for relaxation?
I love reading, watching movies and going to museums, but I do everything with a part of my mind directed at how I can turn what I experience into something creative of my own. I also love to cook, because I love to eat, and I play guitar because I love writing songs. Being active, not passive, is very important to me.
What is your favorite literary first line?
Born at sea in the teeth of a gale, the sailor was a dog. Scuppers was his name.
I find these lines exhilarating for their construction and language. It's fun to imagine the teeth of a gale, and what they might look like. Accompanied by a great Garth Williams illustration, these lines are a super way to start a story!
Tell us about your pets.
After a week no one had called to report a missing rabbit, so the bunny moved out to New Jersey to live with us. We spent a long time thinking of names that would suit a large rabbit found in a park. Though she looks rather like a loaf of Italian Ciabatta bread when she is sitting by her food bowl, Ciabatta seemed a little complicated for a name. So we call our rabbit Bun Bun, and as long as we feed her cranberries and almonds with her carrots, she doesn't seem to mind that we haven't yet found a more imaginative name.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
... he had never forgotten, to this day, the way it felt to stand on the top of that small, neat hill of brown dirt, in the middle of a green field, holding onto a little piece of something that could fly.
In context, the ending of this sentence makes the reader look at a common baseball in a new way. An honorable achievement!
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?