Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on children’s book author Kevin Henkes. As usual, we first ask our authors to tell us about themselves and their writing. Kevin’s wonderful response was this:
I’ve wanted to be an artist my entire life. Also, I’ve been a lover of books for as long as I can remember. Books feed my soul. When I was nineteen years old I traveled to New York from Wisconsin to look for a publisher. I was lucky. Susan Hirschman, founder and publisher of Greenwillow Books, offered me a contract for my first book, All Alone. I’ve been with Greenwillow for forty years and I’ve written and/or illustrated nearly sixty books including, board books, picture books, books for beginning readers, and novels.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
You can check out my website: www.kevinhenkes,com.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your latest book?
My newest book is called Sun Flower Lion. It is a picture book for a very young child. It is a simple story about a small journey that ends with bedtime in the safety and comfort of home. It has a limited palette (yellow and black), a fairly large trim-size (10in x 10in), and six chapters (very short).
The older I get, the more I’m drawn to books for the youngest. Trying to keep things as simple as possible, with nothing extra, can be a challenge, but it is a challenge I love.
Also new is Lilly & Friends. It is a treasury which includes my nine mouse picture books. I wrote an afterward for it and did new art for the jacket.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
The most challenging part of the writing process is worrying about not having another idea. This has been a concern since I began writing and illustrating books forty years ago. Luckily, I’ve always eventually come up with the next idea.
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?
My favorite part about being a writer and illustrator is that I get to work at home and design the shape of my days. I’m lucky. This is the only real job I’ve ever had. I cannot imagine any other type of work that would have been more fulfilling or better suited to me and how I wanted to live my life.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
These are the books you can expect from me in the near future:
Billy Miller Makes a Wish April 2021 (a middle-grade novel, a companion to The Year of Billy Miller)
A House October 2021 (a picture book for a very young child).
Thank you so much, Kevin, for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing all your new books!