An Interview with Author Jesse Klausmeier

I'm thrilled author Jesse Klausmeier stopped by Watch. Connect. Read. to chat with me about her debut picture book, Open This Little Book. Before you read the interview, please watch this delightful book trailer. 

Mr. Schu: I can name few books that I felt compelled to read to every homeroom in my school. I’ve read Open This Little Book to fifteen classes. My students hung on every word, fawned over each illustration, and clapped before I had a chance to say, “And that’s the story of Open This Little Book. Let’s give it a huge round of applause.”

Jesse: That’s fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing my book with your students.

What does it feel like to have kids and adults reacting so positively to your debut picture book?

Getting such positive reactions has been absolutely amazing. Every time someone shares a photo or story about their child or students reading Open This Little Book I feel glowy and warm inside. It’s like drinking the perfect cup of hot chocolate (with 4 big marshmallows) on a snowy winter day. The support the book has received from teachers, librarians and the publishing community has been incredible.

Mr. Schu: Why did you dedicate Open This Little Book to LeVar Burton?

Jesse: I grew up watching Reading Rainbow, and it is still one of my favorite TV programs of all time. When I was a kid, I used to pretend that I was on the show and present my own book reviews for the segment that started with Levar saying, “but you don’t have to take my word for it.” Levar Burton’s commitment to literacy and sharing the joys of reading is infectious and absolutely contributed to my love of books and the desire to create them.

Mr. Schu: Holy moly! Suzy Lee’s illustrations are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. What ran through your head when you saw the final illustrations?

Jesse: I have been a HUGE fan of Suzy Lee ever since her book, Wave. When I got the final illustrations for Open This Little Book I cried tears of joy. I thought, Holy smokes! Our book is real! I poured over the illustrations, flipped back and forth between the beginning and the end of each “little book” and savored all the details in the tree library. I would have loved this book as a child, and I absolutely adore it now. (Also, I’ll admit that when I got my advance copy of the book, I hugged it and stroked the embossing on the cover.)

Mr. Schu: Please tell us about these photographs:


Jesse: These are a few pictures of my first draft of Open This Little Book. I wrote this version at my grandparent’s house when I was five years old. I was always trying to get in one more book at bedtime, and would cram smaller books inside of a big book when my parents would tell me to pick out one last book. The idea of multiple books inside of a big book seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, (specifically to postpone bedtime) so I decided to make that book. Each “chapter” was named after a different colored book, and told a different story. The idea of colorful books inside of books stuck with me, and I’m so happy it did! I hope your students keep the wonderful stories they write because who knows, they might get published, too!

Mr. Schu: Please share four of your favorite books about books.

Jesse: Only four? Okay, in no particular order...

   Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein 

 Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illus. by Adam Rex

 The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks, ilus. by George Hallensleben

Mr. Schu: Please complete these sentence starters:

Picture books are delicious.

Reading is always having a friend.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the time I was made into a cartoon for the TV show, The Fairly Odd Parents.

I am giving away a SIGNED copy of Open This Little Book

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 2/3 to 11:59 P.M. on 2/6. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Please click here to enter the Giveaway. 


  1. WOW. What a trailer and what a book! I am wholly in love with the fact that the first draft was written when Jesse was five.


  2. I love this interview! I can't wait to share it with my first grade authors. Thank you!

  3. Ditto what Audrey said...Wow!

    What a LOT of love for the LITTLE book. :-)

  4. My son absolutely loved Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow- so touching that you dedicated the book to him.

  5. I keep buying this book for myself, and then giving it to someone who has a baby born into their family because I think it's the perfect gift! If I win the signed copy, I'm keeping it!!

  6. Clever and charming and all the good things a child's book should be!

  7. Can't wait to share with my 2nd graders!


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