Barbara deRubertis recently retired after 31 years of teaching elementary and middle school classes. She has written more than 50 books for children that have been published by Kane Press. Barbara and her husband live in Cashmere, Washington.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
When I was very young, I particularly loved a box of Uncle Wiggily storybooks that I was given as a third birthday present. I remember poring over them on long train rides to visit relatives who lived on farms in Missouri and Illinois.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
From Sukndiata, Lion King of Mali, retold by by David Wisniewski: “Alas, queen,” the witches reported, “our magic cannot hurt a heart full of kindness. You can do nothing against him.”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Patricia Polacco, Kevin Henkes, and John Steptoe. They write with great technical skill, wonderful humor, genuine compassion, and a remarkable understanding of children. (I could continue listing another 100 authors whose books I also love and admire!)
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I have always been an avid reader and lover of books! In high school, an English teacher encouraged me to become a writer, but I didn’t begin to write professionally until after I had taught reading and writing at both the elementary and middle school level…and had worked as an elementary school teacher-librarian. An opportunity came my way twenty years ago, and I’ve been writing children’s books ever since!
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Write because you love writing and you love children! There are many informal ways to indulge in the joys of writing, even if you never have a book formally published. But if you are adamant about wanting to be a published writer, be persistent, patient, and open to the suggestions of agents, editors, trusted expert-friends, and the marketplace!