Today we are talking to Newbery Honor author and New York Times Bestseller – Ann M. Martin. Ann has written so many wonderful books over the years and is best known for The Baby-Sitters Club books, The Doll People, and Rain Reign. I have to start off just saying that my wife is one of Ann’s biggest fans! She grew up reading all of the Baby-Sitter Club books and The Doll People is one of her favorite books of all time!
First off, it is an honor to be talking with you today. Can you start us off today by telling us a little bit about yourself and what made you want to become a children’s author?
I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, the daughter of a cartoonist and a preschool teacher. Reading was very important to my parents, and they read to my sister and me every day. Before I could read, I made up my own stories, which my mother would write down for me. As I got older, English and creative writing classes were my favorites, and I was fortunate after graduating from college to be able to work in the publishing field and be surrounded by books, authors, and editors.
Your parents were a cartoonist and a preschool teacher! You were made for being an author. Such creativity! Can you please tell us about your favorite book growing up?
It’s impossible for me to pick just one favorite because there are so many. Instead, I can say that I had two favorite genres – light fantasy, which included many of the books I loved as a child (e.g., the Wizard of Oz series, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Dr. Dolittle, Roald Dahl’s titles), and books about horses (Marguerite Henry was my favorite author).
I love the Wizard of Oz series. It is still one of my favorites. Please tell us about the importance of children’s literature and what it has meant to be a part of this industry?
Reading has played an important role in my life, and I’m grateful that I’ve been able to share this love of reading through my novels. I’m also proud to be a part of The Lisa Libraries, a foundation I created in 1990 with the primary goal of putting new books into the hands of undeserved kids.
So, if someone asked you for same wisdom about being a children’s author, what would you say to them?
I highly recommend the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (scbwi.org). SCBWI is a national organization devoted to assisting writers and illustrators in support of their craft. They host many regional meetings throughout the year which one can attend. My editor, Liz Szabla, always recommends working in a bookstore if you have the opportunity because of the exposure to so many authors and genres. Finally, it’s important to read!
Ann, you have written so many books, what is your latest one that you are working on?
My newest book is Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Sticky-Fingers Cure, a collection of stories about a magical woman living in an upside-down house who finds funny cures for children’s bad habits. The book is the third in the series based on the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle novels by Betty MacDonald. Betty’s great-granddaughter, Annie Parnell, wanted to bring the series back with stories that were more accessible for current readers. I was honored to be asked to be a part of the project since I adored the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books when I was growing up.
That is such a great honor to get to work on a series that you enjoyed when you were growing up!
Finally, our last question, and it is a very serious question – if you could be the character from any children’s book, who would you be??
Can I say Santa Claus? Hmm, if not, then I choose Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia, because I’m fascinated by the idea of going through a wardrobe and finding myself in a magical world.
Fantastic choice! Thank you so much Ann for talking with us today. Everyone, be sure to check out Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Sticky-Fingers Cue. You can get a copy at your local bookstore or online. Thanks everyone and remember to like this site to see more interesting interviews as we continue to ask Questions to Inspire!