Kari Cornell

Kari Cornell is a freelance writer and editor who lives in South Minneapolis with her husband and two young boys. When she’s not working or spending time with her family, she loves to cook, tinker in the garden, knit, or run. She feels fortunate that she’s been able to combine many of the activities she likes to do in her free time with her day job. Cornell is the author of several cookbooks for children, including Cooking the Turkish Way and Cooking the Indonesian Way. She is the co-author of Growing with Purpose: Forty Years of Seward Community Cooperative


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

As a very young child, I loved the book Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey. I never lived in a place where blueberries grew, but now I travel with my family to Canada for a week each August and we spend a good amount of time picking wild blueberries. This past summer we even saw a mama bear and two cubs on our way back to the cabin after picking berries. As an older child, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books and anything by Judy Blume.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”―Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

I really love the stories and illustrations of Jan Brett. I’m a big fan of the Frog and Toad stories by Arnold Lobel, and I love Kate DiCamillo. I also love Barbara Kingsolver, and the colorful, clever illustrations of Richard Scarey. My favorite books to read out loud? Anything by Dr. Suess. 

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I’ve always loved reading. As a young girl I spent entire summer days on a cozy chair in my room, reading all of my favorite books. I like the power of the written word and the way an enticing story can pull me in and make me forget about my own life for a couple of hours. I think being able to provide that experience to a reader is pretty special.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Do what you love and be persistent. Try not to be discouraged when a publisher turns down a proposal…that’s just a sign that you’ve not found the right place for your work.