Thank you for joining me for KidLit Coffee Talk. My guest today is the incredibly talented Lisa Amstutz. I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa last summer at the WOW Retreat in Georgia. She was an inspiring presenter, and I’ve since been a huge fan of her work. Recently, Lisa and I sat down over a virtual cup of coffee and chatted about her newest picture book, Applesauce Day. Applesauce Day was released earlier this month from Albert Whitman & Company and was illustrated by Talitha Shipman.
I’m drinking my usual Dunkin Donuts cold brew iced coffee. What kind of coffee (or tea) do you like to drink?
I love the smell of coffee, but the taste – not so much. I’m a big tea drinker: black tea in the morning and herbal at night. There’s a local farm that grows and sells mint teas, so we drink a lot of that.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your writing journey.
I started writing for adults about 12 years ago. I began by writing magazine and newspaper articles, then co-wrote a book on local foods that was purchased by a small trade publisher. My interest in writing a book on that topic for kids was what led me to children’s writing—and I’ve been doing it ever since! Thanks to connections I made at an SCBWI event, I started writing for the educational market in 2010, and have now written around 80 books for Capstone Press and other educational publishers. I signed with my agent in 2015. She sold Applesauce Day and another forthcoming picture book, Today We Go Birding, to Albert Whitman & Company, and we’re working on a number of other submissions.
Wow, that is impressive! Tell me about Applesauce Day.
Applesauce Day is based on a family tradition of making applesauce each year. We would buy bushels of Transparent apples in the summer and in one day, make enough sauce to last the year. It’s been fun to pass that tradition on to my own kids and create memories with them! The book celebrates this family tradition with a look back at past generations and at the future, using an old applesauce pot as a symbol of that continuity.
What are you working on now?
Nothing I can share publicly right now, but I have several picture book biographies, a few more lyrical pieces, and a middle-grade work-for-hire project in progress right now.
I can’t wait to hear more about these projects. Can you give me the name of a picture book you loved when you were little and a recent one you love now?
One of my childhood favorites was Ezra Jack Keats’ Snowy Day. Now, wow – it’s too hard to pick just one. Owl Moon, Miss Rumphius, Goodnight Moon… the list goes on.
Those are some of my favorites, as well. Currently, I’m reading The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. What are you reading right now?
At the moment, I am alternating between The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, The Curious Naturalist by Sy Montgomery, and A Distant View of Everything by Alexander McCall Smith.
Thanks for inviting me to stop by!
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to chat with me!
To learn more about Lisa, visit her website at http://www.lisaamstutz.com.
Connect with Lisa on social media:
Facebook – Lisa Amstutz
Twitter – @LJAmstutz