Interview: Adam Lehrhaupt on Hockey, Feathers, and Pie

Adam Lehrhaupt
Adam Lehrhaupt

Award-winning picture book author Adam Lehrhaupt writes about chickens, words, animals and more. So where does he come up with these stories? Enquiring minds — us — wanted to know…

Booking Biz: What does your average day look like?

Adam: Well, on a typical day, I get up at 6:30, wake the kids, and head down to the office. After putting on some coffee, I sit down at my desk to answer emails, respond to social media, and generally wander around the internet. I’ll even put in some time working on my website or preparing new school presentations.

Once the kids are off to school, I get down to the real work…catching up on last night’s TV.

Just kidding. After they leave, if I don’t have a Skype or school visit, I head over to my sofa and read.

I try to read every day. For at least an hour. Sometimes much longer. And I read everything. Picture books. Chapter books. Adult books. Magazines. Anything that might help me come up with an idea. Or spark some creativity.

After that, I move back to the desk to do some writing. Some days I work on edits. Others I start something new. But I typically write for a few hours each day.

Then the kids get back home and it’s time to help with homework.

Once homework is done, everyone piles in the car and we zip over to the rink for hockey practices. We spend a LOT of time at hockey rinks. I know…why haven’t I written a hockey book? Good question. I probably should. Let me know if you’ve got a good idea for one.

After hockey, it’s back home to get everyone ready for bed. Then I reward myself with a little TV, or another book. Depending on how the day went.

The next day, I get up and do it all again.

I Will Not Eat YouBooking Biz: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do best?

Adam: Ooh, this is a tough one. I enjoy so many things. Work wise, my favorite thing to do is visit schools. I get so much energy from the students! It gets me completely jazzed up and ready to write. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas after a visit.

Not work related, I’d have to say watching or playing hockey. I’ve only been playing for 10 years, about as long as my oldest son. But I really enjoy the game. It’s great fun to play, but also one of the best games to watch.

Booking Biz: Where do you get the inspiration for your books?

Adam: WOW! That’s a tough one. I get my ideas from all different places. Here’s a couple of examples:

I WILL NOT EAT YOU came to me during a long car ride. It was six hours. The kids sitting in the back. Punching each other. Screaming. Making a TON of noise.

All I wanted was some quiet.

And that’s when the idea came to me. What if there was a big, scary creature who desperately wanted it to be quiet? How would this creature react if animals kept bothering it with constant noise? Would it eat them?

For THIS IS A GOOD STORY, I was playing around with the idea of what things a story needs to be considered a ‘good story’. I came up with a pretty good list: a protagonist, maybe an antagonist, a setting, a little conflict to create plot, a big climax, and a satisfying ending. Then I challenged myself to write a book telling the reader how to use all of those things to write their own good story.

WordplayWith WORDPLAY, I was literally playing with words. I was playing with the idea of a character, Noun, who could BE anything he wanted. But he couldn’t DO anything. Then, I introduced Verb. And Verb couldn’t BE anything. But she could DO anything. The problem was, Verb really wanted to BE the center of attention.

I had SO much fun working on this story. I’m still amazed at what came from me just playing around with a few nouns and verbs.

Booking Biz: Did you always want to write books for children, or was there another career you wished for as a child?

Adam: I never really tried to push myself towards one thing or another. I love, LOVE what I do, but I have had some other pretty cool careers. I was a roadie for rock bands. I worked with David Copperfield. I even performed on Broadway. I guess I’ve been like the feather from Forrest Gump. I float where the winds take me and do my best to enjoy the ride.

All of that said, I couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out. I mean, I write books for children.

Seriously. That’s pretty cool.

Booking Biz: If you ruled the world, what would it look like?

Adam: If I ruled the world…

• Everyone would be able to eat their favorite foods, anytime they wanted, with no consequences.
• Kindness would be a necessity, not just a virtue.
• Evil would be eradicated.
• Books would be available to anyone, anywhere, whenever they needed one.
• TV and device use would be regulated based on societal contributions. Contribute more to gain more usage.
• I would be able to draw.
• And every Friday we’d all get pie.

If you wanted pie.

I wouldn’t force pie on anyone. But if you don’t like pie, any pie, you may want to reevaluate whether you want to be in a world ruled by me. I’m sure there are other worlds. You know what? I’d make another world just for no pie people. So they’d have a special place too. OK. Enough about pie.

Thanks for taking the time to hear what I have to say. Have a great day and dare to be creative!

Booking Biz: Mmmm. Pie! Thank you, Adam.

Learn more about Adam Lehrhaupt on his speaker page.

Winter Recommended Reads 2017

Happy Holidays from The Booking Biz!

No time of the year is bad for reading, but with winter weather outside and time off from work, the holidays are a great time to read new books and give books to others. Here are some of our best recommendations for wonderful holiday reading:

PICTURE BOOKS

It’s great to introduce kids to the wonder of reading early. This winter, spend time with your youngest family with these amazing books.

Penguin's Christmas WishAuthor/illustrator Salina Yoon‘s holiday board book with PENGUIN’S CHRISTMAS WISH, in which the beloved character Penguin finds Christmas magic in unlikely places.

Tis the season for kindness, and BE THE CHANGE written by Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi, illustrated by Evan Turkshares the kind wisdom of the Mahatma Gandhi. Such a great thing to be thinking about this time of year. You can reflect and be the change you wish to see in the new year.

MUDDY: THE STORY OF BLUES LEGEND MUDDY WATERS written by Michael Mahin and illustrated by Evan Turk celebrates the music that would inspire rock and roll.

Elf in the House

The excitement of Christmas Eve is the subject of the GHOST IN THE HOUSE follow-up ELF IN THE HOUSE, written by Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrated by Adam Record.

Story is at the heart of how we learn, grow and entertain, and in Adam Lehrhaupt‘s THIS IS A GOOD STORY, illustrated by Magali Le Huche, story is broken down so readers can build it back up.

Emily Arrow offers up kidlit tunes celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter in her new WINTERTIME SINGALONG CD (and kazoo!), with songs inspired by CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, THE POLAR EXPRESS and others.

CHAPTER BOOKS AND MIDDLE GRADE

Here are some of our winter favorites for kids of every age … including adults.

The WIsh List Book TwoEveryone wants wishes to come true, and Sarah Aronson‘s THE WISH LIST series from Scholastic is just that.

For an inspirational story encouraging girl empowerment, we love STEP UP TO THE PLATE, MARIA SINGH by Uma Krishnaswami.

Reading is fun during dark, spooky nights, and Janet Fox‘s THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE is an historical fiction adventure with ghosts and creepy characters.

Written by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee, MAYBE A FOX tells a beautiful, heart-warming tale that’s a great read by a roaring fire.

The Epic Fail of Arturo ZamoraPablo Cartaya‘s THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA is filled with familia, comida y amor!

Family and friendship come in all different configurations in Elaine Vickers‘ PAPER CHAINS and Melanie Crowder‘s THREE PENNIES.

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: IT’S ALIVE! by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson will keep budding scientists and nature lovers learning over the holiday.

Pet lovers will want to read Elana K. Arnold‘s A BOY CALLED BAT to review all that is involved with making a new friend.

If you’re hoping for good fortune in the new year, JASPER AND THE RIDDLE OF RILEY’S MINE by Caroline Starr Rose is a golden pick!

And for help keeping your New Year’s resolution, Molly B. Burnham‘s TEDDY MARS ALMOST A WORLD RECORD BREAKER gives readers the never-give-up attitude.

YOUNG ADULT 

Winter is always a good time to reflect on the world and our place in it, and how better than to read amazing YA books…

OverturnedThere’s nothing like a good thriller to keep your mind off the cold weather outside, and Lamar Giles‘ new book OVERTURNED is just that.

National Book Award finalist WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF by Elana K. Arnold is especially poignant right now as women speak up.

The highly acclaimed YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Miltali Perkins is on many best-of lists for a reason. It’s is currently on agent Sarah Ahzibo’s TBR list for the holidays.

Plus, a treat for the ears, the audiobook version of Kwame Alexander‘s SOLO includes the music created for the book by Randy Preston! What’s not to love?

Check out more books by our speakers.

Best Books & Cover Reveals

With end-of-year book celebrations being announced, our clients are getting lots of love for their books. And we’re got new books to look forward to.

LISTS AND AWARDS

Chicken In MittensFour books by our clients are on the Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2017 list! Congratulations to CHICKEN IN MITTENS written by Adam Lehrhaupt, BOB, NOT BOB written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA by Pablo Cartaya, and WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF by Elana K. Arnold. The Best of the Best lists represent their choices for the year’s most outstanding titles, books of exceptional quality for a diverse, city-wide readership.

Elana K. Arnold’s WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF and Mitali Perkins’ YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR are on the New York Public Library “Best Books for Teens” list!

Melanie Crowder’s THREE PENNIES and Pablo Cartaya’s THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA are on New York Public Library’s “Best Books for Kids” list!

MUDDY: THE STORY OF BLUES LEGEND MUDDY WATERS, written by Michael Mahin and illustrated by Evan Turk is on the Best Books of 2017 Lists for the New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature. It also received a Parents’ Choice Gold Award for 2017.

Teddy Mars Almost a World Record BreakerMolly B. Burnham’s TEDDY MARS: ALMOST A WORLD RECORD BREAKER and Elana K. Arnold’s A BOY CALLED BAT have been nominated for the 2019 Grand Canyon Reader Award through the Arizona Library Association!

COVER REVEALS

The popular blog Mr. Schu Reads has showcased the covers of a number of new books coming from our clients.

Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick wrote a guest post for the cover reveal of their new picture book DEAR SUBSTITUTE, which honors “the unsung of the unsung.”

For the cover reveal of TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE: HISTORIES AND MYSTERIESAmmi-Joan Paquette, who  co-authored book with Laurie Ann Thompson, finished Mr. Schu’s sentences, like:

The cover for Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries took my breath away! The whole Walden team have outdone themselves, and I love the perfect mix of factual, mysterious, and just plain silly…”

 

Kudos to Our Clients

What Girls Are Made OfWe’re honored to represent TWO authors recognized in the National Book AwardsElana K. Arnold‘s WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF was a finalist for Young People’s Literature and Mitali Perkins‘ YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR was on the longlist. They’ve both been busy getting lots of other awards attention—along with our other clients. Continue reading “Kudos to Our Clients”

New Clients: Adam Lehrhaupt and Kimberly Willis Holt

The Booking Biz has welcomed two more award-winning authors to our family, writers who will make you laugh and cry.

Kimberly Willis Holt
Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt has been writing books for children for more than 20 years. Her first book, MY LOUISIANA SKY, won a Boston Globe Hornbook Honor, and the movie version won a number of Emmy Awards. Her third book, WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, as well as placing on many state lists.

Kimberly has written many more books, from picture books for the youngest readers, to a fun chapter book series around the character Piper Reed, to numerous heart-warming middle-grade novels.

Blooming At the Texas Sunrise MotelHer most recent novel is the middle-grade BLOOMING AT THE TEXAS SUNRISE MOTEL, filled with fun, adventure and mystery.

Many of Kimberly’s books are set in the South and she considers herself a southerner. As a child, though, she lived all over the world, including in Paris and Guam. Today, her home is Texas, where she loves gardening and writing new stories.

She also spends time presenting at schools and writing workshops and conferences, teaching students young and older that revision is the key to making a great book.

Adam Lehrhaupt
Adam Lehrhaupt

If you like funny picture books, you probably already know the name Adam Lehrhaupt. Who doesn’t want to read a book that warns, DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK!? Or a book that sends a chicken to space?

Adam Lehrhaupt’s award-winning books are favorites with reviewers and readers—of all ages. Like I DON’T DRAW, I COLOR! and I WILL NOT EAT YOU.

Four more of his books are coming to shelves soon: the latest in his Chicken series CHICKEN IN SCHOOL on June 20, WORDPLAY in July, THIS IS A GOOD STORY in September and IDEA JAR next spring.

WordplayHis thrilling book ideas must come from his thrilling life.

Before he was a picture book writer, Adam Lehrhaupt worked on the lighting for tours of such bands as The Allman Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, Boys II Men and others. Later he worked as a ski instructor, then a brick layer, then he took off to help David Copperfield get ready for his Broadway show and continued to work on the magician’s shows around the world.

Now Adam lives in Philadelphia with his family, writing all the funny stories we love.

We’re thrilled to have Adam Lehrhaupt as a client at The Booking Biz. He does a variety of presentations for children, like showing children how to use their imagination, create new characters, build a good story, and more.

Learn more about Adam Lehrhaupt and Kimberly Willis Holt on their speaker pages.

2017 Summer Reading List

The sun is shining, birds are singing, and summer is almost here. So there’s only one question we’re trying answer: What are we going to read?

We at The Booking Biz are always looking for new books to read and recommend. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the books we’re most excited about this summer. Continue reading “2017 Summer Reading List”