Monday, October 15, 2018

Preschool, Passion, and Prickly Porcupines with Laura Renauld

An Interview with Picture Book Author, Laura Renauld

I recently had the opportunity to interview Laura Renauld about her debut picture book, Porcupine's Pie! Here's your High Five, Laura!

Title: Porcupine's Pie
Author: Laura Renauld
Illustrator: Jennie Poh
Publisher: Beaming Books
Publication Date: October 2018
Word count: About 428
Short summary:

Porcupine can't wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition.

An Author's Favorite Picture Books

What are three of your favorite picture books? Just three mind you.

You must know this is a nearly impossible question to answer! These are the three that popped into my head just now. (My favorites are subject to change at any time )
  1. Lyrical, tugs at the heart-strings, and always makes me cry:
    All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan and Mike Wimmer
  2. New 2018 release filled with quirky wit that made me laugh out loud:
    Potato Pants! by Laurie Keller
  3. Expert mentor text for language-precision, tension-building, and focusing on a small moment:
    Come On, Rain! by Karen Hesse and Jon J. Muth

What It's Like Writing For Children

What is your biggest challenge in parenting? Do you read picture books to your own children?

Sometimes the biggest challenge is slowing down enough to enjoy the company of my children. Making dinner, homework, music lessons, and play dates all take time. I relish story time at the end of the day. Right now, I am reading aloud the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, but we still share picture books together. There is something magical about an illustrated story and the snuggle-time that ensues during the sharing of it.

Teaching with Picture Books in the Classroom

How might teachers use your book in the classroom?

Porcupine’s Pie takes place in the fall and centers around the themes of friendship and generosity. It would make a good read-aloud for community building when the school year begins and for Thanksgiving since the characters are preparing for Fall Feast Day. There is also a recipe for Friendship Pie at the end. Using that in a fractions unit would be fun!

All Roads Lead to Publication

What was your road to publication like?

It’s been twelve years since I started dabbling in kidlit, seven years since I joined SCBWI, four years since I wrote my first draft of Porcupine’s Pie, two years since I won the Beaming Books Picture Book Writing Contest and learned it would be published, and one week since Porcupine’s Pie released. It been a long journey, but one filled with learning, joy, new friends, and now, a book to share with kids! And that’s what it’s all about.

Writing Tips From a Published Author

What are your top three writing tips you can offer to writers seeking publication?
  1. Writing is (usually) a solo activity, but your life as a writer doesn’t have to be. Seek out your tribe by joining SCBWI, find a critique group, participate in online conversations about kidlit, and have coffee regularly with a writing friend who can share your ups and downs.
  2. Read. A lot. Take advantage of your library’s hold service and request books that have been newly acquired. Use their suggestion service to recommend books that you want to read. Dig deeper and study the format: what works, what doesn’t. Steep yourself in recently published books and you will begin to internalize the genre you are writing.
  3. If you are passionate about writing, make it a priority. That will look different for each person, but for me, when I started taking writing for children seriously, that meant using 45 minutes – 1 hour of my kids’ 3-hour preschool class for writing. Laundry, groceries, etc. could wait. It wasn’t a ton of time, but the consistency paid off. My craft improved and I felt like a serious writer because I made time for something that was important to me.

LAURA RENAULD is a former third grade teacher who now spends her days imagining and creating. When she is not writing picture books about porcupines, pirates, and pickles, Laura can be found on a trail, at the library, or in the kitchen. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and their two story-telling sons. Porcupine’s Pie is her debut picture book. Look for her forthcoming picture book biography Fred’s Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers in Fall 2019. Find out more at, where you can also subscribe to her newsletter and blog.

You might also like: Porcupine's Pie, also by Laura Renauld.

Please join me in congratulating Laura Renauld on her debut book! Share your HIGH FIVE in the comments below!

How to Analyze a Picture Book with a Story Board

Read more Picture Book Author Interviews and give them a big virtual high five!

Keep on keepin' on...


1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to reading this one! Yay! Congratulations!


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