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FIVE ON FRIDAY with Joan Holub

This week’s FIVE ON FRIDAY guest is celebrated author Joan Holub. Joan is the author of so many books it makes me tired just looking at all of them. Seriously, go to her website and look at all of her books. I’ll wait….. see? Doesn’t it make you sleepy just thinking of how hard she works? Great. Now I feel like a slacker… thanks a lot Joan.

Joan Holub is the author of Shampoodle, Groundhog Weather School, Twinkle, Star of the Week, and Athena the Brain (Goddess Girls series). Joan is the author and/or illustrator of over 125 books for children and writes board/novelty books, early readers, picture books, and chapter books.

When did you know that you first wanted to be a writer/illustrator?

Probably in college. I made some attempts back then, but I wasn’t going into bookstores and sitting down with children’s books to see what they were all about.  I was writing in a vacuum. My work took off when I began critically studying children’s books to figure out what I liked and what I had to say. In my twenties, I moved to New York City to work at Scholastic, where I learned how books are put together and got to work with some great people. Grace Maccarone, Claire Counihan, and Jean Feiwel were in the department and were all lovely, amazing, and inspiring!

What book or writer/artist do you feel influenced you the most?

Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight was one of my early inspirations. I loved that quirky, precocious girl Eloise. When I was a girl, a friend and I memorized the lines in the book and used them all the time. I tried to copy some of the drawings to hang on my wall. Since then, I’ve found many other authors and artists to admire—Lucy Cousins, Brian Karas, Laurie Keller–the list goes on and on. It’s both daunting and fabulous that there are so many greats working out there today!

What book or books are you currently reading or have recently read that you’d recommend to others?

Leslie Patricelli’s Higher, Higher; Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy; Sally Lloyd-Jones’ How To Get Married; and Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama. I love quirky books with humor and universal appeal.

If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring writers (or illustrators), what would it be?

Don’t give up, keep writing, and don’t rewrite the same book over and over—keep writing new stories.  That’s three pieces for the price of one!

Can you share with us your next project or any information about the next book you’re working on?

I have three books pubbing soon: Shampoodle (Random House, pre-K to grade 1 early reader) just released in October with adorable art by Tim Bowers. The gray poodle with the bubbles on his head on the cover is just so great. (Thank you, Tim!) Groundhog Weather School (Putnam picture book) releases in December. Twinkle, Star of the Week (Albert Whitman & Co picture book) pubs this spring with glitter on the cover! I’ve never had a picture book with glitter on the cover before, and the art in this book is sooo cute!

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