Patricia Newman‘s books inspire young readers to seek connections to the real world. Her titles encourage readers to use their imaginations to solve real world problems and act on behalf of their communities. These books include Sibert Honor title Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem; Junior Library Guild Selection Eavesdropping on Elephants; Bank Street College Best Book Zoo Scientists to the Rescue; Booklist Editor’s Choice Ebola: Fears and Facts; and Green Earth Book Award winner Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Patricia frequently speaks at schools and conferences to share how children of any age can affect change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I loved mysteries — Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Harriet the Spy — anything with a puzzle to figure out. I don’t remember seeing a lot of exciting nonfiction as a child.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
For her understated wit, you can’t beat Jane Austen’s first line of Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
I can’t possibly choose. I have too many author and illustrator friends, all who write fabulous books.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I am a reader. Always have been. Through reading, I escape to other lives that I will never live. It breaks my heart to hear a child say s/he does not like to read. Reading is how children make sense of the world and broaden their perspective. To that end, I try to write books about cool stuff that will intrigue even the most reluctant reader to open the book and start turning pages.
Additionally, I did not like to write when I was a kid. My books and school visits are my way of showing how writing can be fun. My goal is to help every child share his/her view of the world through the written word.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Writing is the hardest job I have ever had. Persevere and take critique with an open mind. If you want to write for children, I suggest you join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org) for their industry information, the conferences, and the warm, nurturing tribe of like-minded writers and artists.