Thank you Rebecca Kai Dotlich for sending us your books to review. All opinions are our own.
As parents and educators, The Knowing Book touched our hearts. It is one that will give you all the feels; love, happiness, sadness of time going by too fast, change and saying goodbyes. The perfect book for so many of life’s milestones, including the beginning of a new school year with it’s positive and uplifting message. A simply beautiful book in story and illustrations!
One Day, The End is a wonderful book with minimal words but so much story. Reading the book is a fantastic way to help facilitate language and looking closely at illustrations. After reading children will be inspired to write their own stories. We love the creativity of this book and all the children we have read it to have really enjoyed the short and simple words and the detailed illustrations which help to complete each mini story .
3 Questions about Your Books
What was your first experience with poetry and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of writing?
When I was young, my knowledge of poetry was in the lilting rhymes of golden books and song lyrics. A few lines from Jack and the Beanstalk captivated me: “Fee-fi-fo-fum/I smell the blood of an Englishman/be he alive or be he dead/I’ll grind his bones into my bread.” Shivers. And then there was The Gingerbread Man: “Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man.” I loved it. My brother played small, colorful plastic records, and from his room I heard (and sang along with) “Take me out to the ballgame/take me out to the crowd/buy me some peanuts and cra—ker—jacks/I don’t care if I ever come back …” and there were nursery rhymes that we sang (“Oh, do you know the Muffin Man?”) and I always felt very grown up and worldly by singing Frere Jacques. I didn’t even know of course that Dor mez vous meant Brother John; I assumed it meant something much more french-fascinating.
I didn’t know many true poems when I was young. I do remember reading one poem by Robert Louis Stevenson about going to bed in summer: “In winter I get up at night/and dress by yellow candlelight…”. My first real experience with poetry would have been in High School. Mrs. Bradford read poetry to us and I was drawn to the poetry of William Wordsworth, Edna St. Vincent Millay and others. When I decided I wanted to be a writer is a fuzzy line. I was writing poetry and stapling paper together to make little books, and even writing dedications when I was about 15. I started writing pretty bad poetry about love and war at about 16-17. In college I studied song lyrics and creative writing. When my children were babies I truly decided I wanted to write for these little amazing humans.
The Knowing Book is such a heartfelt and beautiful book, it’s one of those books that you want to gift for so many special occasions, what was challenging and what was easy about writing this one?
This is the only book I didn’t write in the traditional way (with a picture book text in mind.) It came from life and it was almost like a letter of comfort to myself and any child or grown up reader that might be struggling in their life. There were so many things I wanted to say about being sad and confused, about hope and love and choices and the universe.
What does your workplace look like?
Messy. Full of practical things like a printer and my computer and a laptop, and wonderful things like wall-to wall-bookshelves and the desk my father used years ago, and small things (I am obsessed with small things) like tiny globes, books, cars, toys, jars of marbles, keys (lots of keys) of all shapes and sizes, and clay castles and turtles that my children made when they were small. I have stacks of journals and notebooks and coffee cups with colored pens and cork boards with photos of my grandchildren and notes I’ve received from children … tiny white lights are strung up and around my bookshelves that hold lots and lots of poetry and picture books and books from when I was young.
3 Questions about You
If you weren’t a writer, what would you want to be and why?
I would say a song writer, photographer or artist. I’m happiest when I’m immersed in creativity, color, making things, fitting words together . . .I’ve always been fascinated with the mix of words and the creative visual experience.
What is one book that has stuck with you since you’ve read it?
Prince of Tides. Because of Pat Conroy’s poetic language.
And 1 more: The Glass Castle because Jeannette Walls was amazing at showing us her (broken & dysfunctional) family in fine detail.
What is one item in your refrigerator that tells us about you?
Leftover lasagna. Or would it be the plums.