Friday, June 21, 2013

Author Linda Ashman

Every Friday, an author/illustrator/educator visits this space to finish my sentences. We chat about books (surprise, surprise), school visits, reading, writing, and whatever else pops into my head. 

Today's guest is Linda Ashman!  She's a children's book author, a poet, a writing instructor, and an animal lover. I wrote the words in red, and Linda wrote the words in black. Thank you! 

Peace, Baby! is a book about common emotions—anger, annoyance, frustration, sadness, etc.—and how we deal with them. It’s geared toward the preschool set, and is meant to be fun rather than preachy. I hope it gives kids and their grown-ups a chance to talk about their feelings and ways to work things out peacefully.

Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s illustrations capture the natural sweetness and naughtiness of children. She can do bratty, mischievous, sad, tender and loving equally well. Joanne is kind of amazing, by the way. In addition to illustrating picture books and parenting young children, she brings babies into the world as a doula. Truly a lovely person, inside and out.

Rain! is the perfect picture book for opening a conversation about how our moods and energy affect others. Every day we have the opportunity to spread irritability, impatience, pessimism and hostility wherever we go—or we can spread kindness, joy, optimism and understanding. Believe me, I do plenty of the former, but I like to imagine a world where we do more of the latter.  It’s also the perfect picture book for those who enjoy fabulous art—I love Christian Robinson’s illustrations!

School visits make me nervous. So many uncertainties! Will I find the place? (Eventually.) Will my laptop communicate with their projector? (Yes, but not without a few nerve-racking glitches.) Will the teachers know I’m coming? (Not always.) Will they have a vegetarian lunch option? (Maybe not, so I bring my own.) Will the students be welcoming and enthusiastic? (Always!)  They’re both energizing and exhausting.

Poetry is music.  Well-written verse, in particular, has a musical quality to it that makes it so much fun to read aloud.

Picture books are truly amazing in their variety. I love that so many stories and interesting subjects can be shared in this simple 32-page format (typically), and that children and adults have the opportunity to see fantastically varied—innovative, beautiful, charming, edgy, hilarious, you name it—artwork simply by checking out books from the library.  They are also among the great pleasures of parenting. I miss the days when my son was little and we’d go to the library each week, then snuggle up together with a stack of picture books.    


Reading is one of the greatest joys I know. Most nights, you’ll find my husband, son, and me sprawled out together reading—till I get sleepy and call for lights out (otherwise they’d probably stay up all night).

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about what I’ve been working on for the last few months. The working title is The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, and it will be available very soon, I hope. Please visit my website if you’re interested!

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 6/21 to 11:59 P.M. on 6/23. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Please borrow Linda Ashman's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

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