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FIVE ON FRIDAY with Kirby Larson

This week our FIVE ON FRIDAY guest is Kirby Larson, author of the Newbery Honor Book, Hattie Big Sky. She is also the co-author of the recently released TWO BOBBIES: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival. You can visit Kirby at her website,

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

I’ve been a bookworm since I could read and have always written for fun but didn’t take the leap to a writing career until I read a picture book written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, called Ming Lo Moves the Mountain. That very day, I began the long process of learning to write for children. And I have a file cabinet full of wretched manuscripts to prove it!

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

In addition to Arnold Lobel (see above), I would have to say Betsy Byars, Patricia Reilly Giff, Jamie Gilson and Katherine Paterson were my inspirations early on. Now, of course, the list of writers who inspire me is longer than Lincoln’s left leg, but in the early days it was those women who kept my fires fed.

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

Chains and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Orwell’s Luck by Richard Jennings

The Farwalker’s Quest by Joni Sensel

Seven Times Nine Equals Trouble by Claudia Mills

The Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Amy Laura Schlitz

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Philbrick Rodman

Inside Out by Terry Trueman. . . I could keep going or you could simply join GoodReads to read about the rest of my recommendations!

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

May I offer two? Read, read, read. Revise, revise, revise.

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

My second book co-authored with dear friend, Mary Nethery, will be out in the fall. Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle is the story of an Iraqi dog befriended by a US Marine and we are very proud of it. Also, I am in the almost-final revision of another historical novel, based on an incident that occurred in 1927; title and pub date TBD. Thanks for asking, Michael!

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