Megan Harder is a writer of children’s nonfiction and a researcher for the University of Minnesota’s potato breeding lab. She loves to learn new things and share her knowledge with others. In her free time, Megan enjoys baking, thrifting, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
My favorite “book” was actually a series. I first read the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce in middle school. It’s about a girl, Alanna, who trades places with her twin brother and disguised herself as a boy so that she can train to become a knight. I loved her strength, courage, and tenacity in the face of great challenges. I still re-read the books sometimes, and continue to connect with Alanna in her journey from young girl to strong woman.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
Chapter 22 from Antoine de St. Exupéry’s The Little Prince has always resonated with me. The prince is asking a railroad signalman about train travelers, and wonders what their purpose is. The signalman says: “They are pursuing nothing at all[…] They sleep in there, or they yawn. Only the children press their noses against the window-panes.”
The little prince replies:
“Only the children know what they are looking for”
I remember this passage whenever I am traveling somewhere, or I feel like I’m becoming distracted from the world around me. To me, it underlines the importance of maintaining a sense of childlike wonder into adulthood. We can all benefit from paying more attention to the world around us and enjoying our journeys as much as our destinations.
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
This is a challenging question because I am an eclectic reader who rarely reads many works by the same author. I enjoy absurdist humor (I have my high school French teacher to thank for introducing me to this genre), so Kurt Vonnegut and Don DeLillo are high on my list. Also, Francesca Ekwuyasi’s debut novel Butter Honey Pig Bread is the best book I’ve read in the last five years. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
As a child I loved to read and write, so it seemed like a natural career choice. As an adult, I enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge with others. I think it’s terrific to get kids excited to learn and ask questions about the world. And it’s fun to learn new things that I never would have known if I hadn’t become a writer.
As a kid I wouldn’t have envisioned myself writing nonfiction, but as an adult I am thrilled to have that privilege.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Immerse yourself in learning new things. Do your research. Not only will you learn lots of fun trivia, but you will also be a better writer by having a deep understanding of your subject.