Questions with April Pulley Sayre author of If You’re Hoppy and Rah, Rah, Radishes
1. What are some of your favorite books or authors?
Well, among authors for adults some I've enjoyed are Diane Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, Gerard Manley Hopkins. My choices are based on a love of luscious language. As a young girl, I used to mark special passages in the books of Thomas Wolfe, for instance. I'd reread those just for joy. Occasionally I am carried away by story; I loved the autobiography of Wangari Maathai's Unbowed. So inspirational.
Among children's book authors, I grew up loving Madeleine L'engle and I also like her autobiographical books for adults. Among more recent authors, I've enjoyed mostly fantasy authors such as Suzanne Collins for her Gregor books. But I love whenever I see an author stepping out, risking, putting something on the line as David Small did in his memoir, Stitches.
2.You started a love of nature and animals early in life...Did they inspire you to write or did you feel the need to?
I wrote a lot as a child. Mostly poetry. I must have dozens of poems about icicles penned while curled up in the back of my parent's car on the way up a snowy road for a ski trip.
3. Do you have any writing rituals that keep you writing or get you started?
Writing rituals? A lot of my ideas do come first thing in the morning if I don't have a rough schedule that day and can wait even five minutes to get out of bed. Things I dreamed start to sort out and become coherent enough to write. Quite a few of my books start from that sleepy haze unfolding. If I can just write down the idea quickly before I dash off for a school visit or whatever, then I can come back later and work on it. (Sometimes that work occurs years later, or not at all.)
4. Most of your book are non-fiction what inspires you to write an imaginative fiction book such as The Noodle Man or semi- fictional If You’re Hoppy?
Oh, I have a very humorous, goofy side that surprises people when they meet me in person. So, sometimes that moves into the fiction realm. I am all about play. Lately I've started allowing that side to translate onto paper a bit more. I actually do write longer fiction, as well. I'm just not as skilled in that genre as in nonfiction so you won't see much of it in libraries—yet!
Thank you April for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions!
Next up for me is ALA this summer where I'll be presenting Sunday morning with a great group of nonfiction authors for the Nonfiction Book Blast.
I'll be premiering Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant (Beach Lane/S&S/June 16, 2011), which is illustrated entirely with my photographs. Right now I am putting finishing details on Go, Go, Grapes: a Fruit Chant, which will be out next year. I've been doing photography all my life; I'm rarely seen without my Canon long lenses, macro lenses, wide angle lenses, and the like. I've always used my photos and videos of rain forests in my school talks and teacher in services. Finally, I can begin to use a bit more of this photo love in my books, too.
I would love to hear from educators about what they're doing. I post lots of teacher resources on my website, www.aprilsayre.com