Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to author Kate Messner speak TWICE!! Once in the afternoon at my school and again in the evening at the local independent bookstore.
Kate is a gifted author of children’s books for many reasons. First, she writes for all ages. The Over and Under picture books are listed for ages 1 and up on her website and are perfect for scientists of all ages! Elementary age students love her Ranger in Times series. Since she can’t have a dog due to allergies, she created the perfect pet to write about – Ranger. Her website describes him as a “time-traveling golden retriever who has a nose for trouble . . . and always saves the day!”
However, Kate was in my neighborhood on Monday to tell us about her newest book, Chirp. She explained to the audience how she read a report about United Nations report on food sustainability (which frankly sounded to me like a very boring report) but not Kate. This report discussed different kinds of food sources, such as crickets. This led her to visit cricket farms (yep, that’s a real thing) and then she decided to make a cricket farm be the setting for Chirp.
The thing I admire most about Kate is how she believes kids can handle real problems. Just last week she explained this so well as a guest blogger on the Nerdy Book Club blog . She wrote a powerful explanantion of why she writes “books for real kids” and how important it is for her to tell the truth through her stories. She states, “Books about sensitive topics don’t harm kids. They empower them. ”
During the Q & A at the evening event, a child asked Kate which book she likes the most that she has written. I groaned a bit inside upon hearing this questions as authors tend to say, “I can’t choose. I like them all equally” like a parent would say about their children. But not Kate. I loved her answer! First she asked, “If you are a writer, raise your hand.” Then she asked, “Writers, do you think you write better this year compared to last year?” All agreed, sure they write better today. She then said, “Chirp is her favorite book because to her it is her very best written book.” She went on to say, “Know that when you ask me next year, I’m going to say the book I just wrote in 2021 will be my favorite.” Kate knows by writing, a writer gets better at writing so each next book she writes, it her very best writing.
Lucky for us, Kate has 38 books published and 12 more books coming out in 2020. And lucky for us, she has plans to keep writing for real kids and will never shy away from sensitive topics. Kate believes kids deserve the truth in books.