Laura Purdie Salas

Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 130 books for kids, including If You Were the Moon, Water Can Be . . ., and Bookspeak! Poems about Books. Poetry and rhyming nonfiction books are her favorite things to write. Laura loves to do author visits, writing workshops, and teacher inservices. Read more about Laura and her work at laurasalas.com.

Interview

What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I read the classic Raggedy Ann and Andy stories over and over. When I was a little older, I adored A Wrinkle in Time and then Flowers for Algernon. And the All Creatures Great and Small series. And all of John Bellairs’s books. And The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. As you can see, narrowing things down is not my strong suit! I read my way through our public and school libraries over and over again, and I loved most of the books I read.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

Wow, you know how to hurt a reader! One favorite line? Impossible. But here’s the text from one spread of one of my favorite picture books, God Bless the Gargoyles, by Dav Pilkey (Harcourt, 1996):

“god bless the rain, and the stormclouds that bring it.
god bless the music, and the voices that sing it.
god bless the ones who sing everything wrong.
god bless all creatures who do not belong”

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Because I love poetry so much, I’m going to name a few of my favorite contemporary kids’ poets in no particular order: Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Joyce Sidman, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and J. Patrick Lewis. It hurts to stop there, but I will or else I’ll get to a list of 20 in no time!

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I was such a voracious reader as a kid, but being a writer never occurred to me. I didn’t really know that real people wrote books! Then I started college. I planned to be a veterinarian. But I took a creative writing class and discovered that that was what I wanted to do. I’ve been writing ever since then.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read a ton. Write a ton. Take risks. Write stuff that is so honest it hurts. Write more stuff that is so outlandish and weird that you think it’s never been done before. And write more stuff that you would like to read if someone else had written it. Eventually, you’ll figure out what you want to write and what you’re meant to write. I also recommend any of Ralph Fletcher’s writing books for young people. And Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspirations for Young Poets, by Paul B. Janeczko.