Author Samantha R. Vamos

I'm thankful that every Friday an author, an illustrator  or an educator drops by my blog to finish my sentences. Today's special guest is picture book author Samantha R. Vamos. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Samantha! 

My newest picture book is a rhyming, alphabet book about 26 different trucks from A to Z.  Alphabet Trucks is truckloads of fun to read and was really interesting to research.  The inspiration for Alphabet Trucks was the letter “Z” truck that I spotted on a highway.  (Hint: it’s not a Zamboni.)  There are a lot of unusual trucks in this book that will surprise readers.

Ryan O'Rourke’s illustrations… are absolutely ideal for this book.  His oil and acrylic illustrations are colorful and warm.  He’s created trucks that kids would not only want for their own collections, but are also so inviting that a massive, 200 ton ore truck seems adorable.  One thing I adore is that every scene incorporates multiple letters.  It’s fun to spot the three letter “i” ice cream cones; the letter “M’s” spilling out of the cement mixer; the lowercase “t’s” creating the tow truck chain, and so many more examples. 

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred follows from one morning when I was hoping to make pancakes and discovered I did not have eggs or milk.  Thinking how easy it would be if I lived on a farm and could simply gather eggs, I imagined myself a farm maiden and my story grew from there!  The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred is about a farmer, farm maiden, and five farm animals that together create a surprise recipe in a pot (la cazuela). It’s a festive, bilingual, cumulative tale like the “The House That Jack Built” so as the action builds, keywords repeat.

Rafael López received the 2012 Pura Belpré 
Illustrator Honor for The Cazuela That The FarmMaiden Stirred.  His work is stunning.  It’s saturated with color and detail, and his illustrations infuse each character with personality (one of my favorite examples is the donkey (burro) wearing stylish boots).  Rafael uses acrylic paints on wood that he hand-cuts and sands.  When painted, the wood grain emerges, adding texture to each scene.   

After receiving the Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor, Rafael, along with the other 2012 ALA medal recipients, created a short video for the ALA’s YouTube channel. Rafael “illustrated” his gratitude.  It’s a great video.  

Before You Were Here, Mi Amor is a bilingual picture book that was inspired by the pregnancy of my sister’s first child.  Before You Were Here, Mi Amor describes all the things that one extended family – mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, grandparents, and even the family puppy – does to welcome a new child into the world.  Of course, my nephew (who is now in high school) took 9 months to birth and my book took almost 11 years!  

Reading is on par with dark chocolate for me.  (My eight-year old son just volunteered that I love chocolate as much as Geronimo Stilton loves cheese!)  I still receive an incredible charge when I enter a library or bookstore – the idea of endless books to read and discover is exciting.

Picture books are my favorite genre to write.  I love the concept of marrying illustration to text to tell a story.  Even if I wasn’t a picture book author or a parent, I would still love picture books because they’re for all ages, are often works of art, and introduce the concept of visualizing and imagining written words.

Visit Samantha's website

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about Alphabet Trains, the companion book to Alphabet Trucks and my next children’s picture book.  Alphabet Trains features 26 different trains from A to Z and includes some of the most fascinating and famous trains from around the world.  Alphabet Trains arrives at a station near you in 2015!  

I am giving away a copy of Alphabet Trucks

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 9/20 to 11:59 P.M. on 9/22. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 


  1. Thank you, Mr. Schu, for a terrific interview! Loved being part of Watch. Connect. Read. All best, Samantha


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