Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Jan Brett, both the author and the artist behind the New York Times bestselling children’s favorites, The Hat, The Mitten, and Snowy Nap, as well as many other classics. She is actually a Massachusetts native, living on the South Shore.
Thanks so much for being with us, Jan. Our first question for you today is:
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out your books?
How did you overcome that challenge?
Since I was six I wanted to illustrate children’s books. But I had to wait until I was 29 years old to see my name on a book jacket. It took much longer than I thought it would. I went to college and then to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. Have you ever wanted something so much that you were willing to work extra hard for it? That’s what happened with my books. The thing that spurred me on was the idea that I could balance my story with just the right pictures. The pictures that I created myself.
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I’ve always loved to draw. It’s always been a challenge to try to describe the world in pictures. I hope all of the children who write to me will keep their drawings. It’s been fun for me to look back at my old drawings. I find out things about myself I didn’t even know! That’s why working on my artwork is never boring and I’m always eager to get back to my art table.
Are there any groups, clubs, or organizations that you would recommend to other writers that have helped you in your career?
Here is some information on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Their address is: 8271 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90048. I am a member of the Society and feel that they can be very helpful. They have numerous booklets on children’s publishing, as well as many active local groups. Their dues are quite low, around $50.00 per year. The booklets can answers many questions, and the best part is the Society often offer workshops where you can have your writing or art portfolio evaluated.
Jan, thanks for taking time out of your very busy schedule to answer our questions!