Andy Duback Photography
Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder, too. Her titles include award-winning picture books, easy readers, chapter books, nonfiction, and novels. A former teacher, Kate lives in upstate New York with her family and is trying to summit all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in between book deadlines.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“It’s not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” –Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
I only get to choose three?! Impossible! I have so many favorites, including Tracey Baptiste, Christina Soontornvat, and Grace Lin.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I’ve always loved telling stories, and I’ve always been curious. Also, when I see something beautiful or amazing or weird, the first thing I want to do is show everyone else. I’ve been known to go door to door in my neighborhood to tell people about double rainbows or meteor showers, and for me, writing books is similar. It’s a way to say, “Hey, look at this fascinating thing!” and invite others to share that curiosity.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
There are two things I always suggest for future authors and illustrators. The first is to read. Read and read and read, as many books as you can, because reading makes us stronger writers. The second piece of advice is to keep a notebook or sketchbook. It’s a great place to collect ideas, and keeping a notebook also teaches you how to observe, to pay attention, and to wonder. That’s important for writers and artists, and it’s also just a lovely way to go through life.