Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on author David Ezra Stein. David is a Caldecott-Honor illustrator and author, and has written and illustrated over twenty children’s books, including INTERRUPTING CHICKEN, DINOSAUR KISSES, I’M MY OWN DOG, and many other award-winning picture books. His book LEAVES, is the winner of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer award.
Where can people find your work, David? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Wherever books are sold.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
David Ezra Stein FACEBOOK
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you do? What can readers expect from you next (Latest cover, book, comic, movie, etc?) or what is the last thing you worked on?
I write and illustrate warm and funny picture books for kids and adults to share! My latest (forthcoming) book is Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast, which comes out October 12 from Candlewick Press. It’s the third in the series of books about the little red chicken and her papa.
What was the inspiration for Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished piece of work?
I often write ideas for new Chicken stories in my sketchbook, and one day I came up with the idea that Chicken would be interrupting nursery rhymes by putting cookies in them. For example, Hickory hickory dock—I sure like cookies a lot! And Papa would be telling her that she couldn’t have cookies. This made me laugh, and I wanted to do it as a book.
What was the biggest challenge putting out Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast? How did you overcome that challenge?
The challenge was how to set up the funny nursery rhyme interruptions. What were Papa and Chicken doing together? Why couldn’t she have cookies? Finally I realized that it would be very early in the morning and she would be jumping into Papa’s bed. Too early for cookies!
How important has the New England setting been to your work?
I’ve vacationed in Cape Cod for most of my life. I absolutely love the landscape, the grasses, the pitch pines, the animals, the ponds, and the Bay. The setting has made its way into several of my books: Hush, Little Bunny has wild bunnies in a Cape Cod like landscape. My books Leaves and Honey are also set in a garden like setting that is inspired by the Cape. My book Tad and Dad is set in my favorite kettle pond.
What is/are your passions when you’re not creating your works? How do you make time for your non-art based hobbies/things you love?
I am really enjoying opera singing! I’ve been studying voice for 6 years now just for fun, and I’ve realized that opera is a lot like books in that it tells a story, and has great characters and lots of drama. Nowadays, with zoom lessons, I can just put down my brush and sing right in my art studio! But I do miss singing with others in person.
Artists very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your creations?
We have a rabbit named BunBun who is a white half-dwarf rabbit. He is a house rabbit, which means he gets to hop around our apartment. He loves to lie on the floor near me when I’m working. He has a fuzzy red blanket that he lies on all day! He’s most active in the morning and at night. He loves to be petted. When he’s really happy, he does a little dance move called a binkie. He’s very funny and cute.
David, thanks so much for taking the time out of your vacation to answer these questions for us!