Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Larry Swartz

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Ten Questions with Larry Swartz

OBT:

Tell us about your latest book, The Picture Book Experience.

LS:

This flip book is the third in a trilogy. I had completed The Novel Experience and The Poetry Experience (with Sheree Fitch), so it made sense to celebrate another important Children’s Literature format – the picture book.

OBT:

Can you describe some of the research that you did for this book?

LS:

Actually, much of my research entails keeping up to date with picture books. I visit book stores and websites, read reviews from journals, have conversations with like-minded colleagues in an attempt to keep current.

OBT:

What Canadian picture books would you recommend?

LS:

Three recent titles include:

1. M is for Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet by Charles Pachter
2. The Sweetest One of All by Jean Little; Illustrations by Marisol Sarrazin
3. Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt

OBT:

The Picture Book Experience is the second book that you've published with Pembroke Publishers within a year. In September 2008, Good Books Matter was published. What is it about?

LS:

Good Books Matter – written with Shelley Stagg Peterson – offers teachers guidance on selecting and using good books for young readers framed in a variety of genres: traditional literature, picture books, novels, nonfiction, poetry and multicultural texts. We provide extensive book lists; descriptions of a wide range of recommended books from classics to graphic novels; mini-profiles on authors to consider when choosing texts. Another feature of this book is suggested activities (including reproducible pages) designed to promote personal response, reading and writing skills, awareness of literary elements and critical reading and writing.

OBT:

What's the best way to get children interested in reading?

LS:

There is no single best way, but my advice to get children interested in reading is to show them that you are interested in reading (all sorts of texts). To respect what children choose to read, offer them choices in what they choose to read, and to
offer them a wide range of books to choose from will help stretch young readers.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

LS:

Sitting in my office (when it’s quiet) with my book shelves to keep me company keeps me going as a writer.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

LS:

I was part of a three-member team – along with David Booth and Meguido Zola – to write Choosing Children’s Books. I suppose using Children’s Literature has always been at the heart of my writing for teachers.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

LS:

1. Images of Nature edited by David Booth
2. O Canada by Ted Harrison
3. The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

LS:

If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again.

OBT:

What is your next project?

LS:

Reading the books that have piled up on my bedside table.

For more information about Larry Swartz’s The Picture Book Experience, please visit the Pembroke Publishers website at www.pembrokepublishers.com.

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