Author website/social media: www.joshfunkbooks.com @joshfunkbooks on Twitter & Instagram
Tell me a little about yourself: I’m a software engineer who also writes silly picture books and has somehow tricked publishers into publishing them. I’ve written books like the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, How to Code a Sandcastle, Dear Dragon, Albie Newton, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, and more!
- When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
No, not all that much. Occasionally I’d find a book or a series that I loved (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Westing Game, and The Chronicles of Pyrdain come to mind), but I wouldn’t always find the next book and would have large dry spells where I didn’t read much at all.
It wasn’t until I grew up and spent a great deal of time reading to my own kids that I became a reader.
- What was your favorite story?
Despite not being a huge reader, I did have a lot of favorite books as a kid. I loved Morris the Moose, Caps for Sale, Corduroy, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Cam Jansen, The Chocolate Touch, & Matilda.
- How do you get your ideas? Like why turn food into lead characters?
I am not a visual artist. I can’t draw or paint or sculpt or … well, you get the picture (or maybe you don’t, cause I can’t draw it).
But I do have lots of silly ideas in my head that I think would be cool to see someone else draw. And so I just write down what I think would be cool to see a really talented artist draw – like a pancake and French toast racing through the fridge causing culinary chaos. Or a pirate-dinosaur. Or a boy and a dragon who are pen pals. Or a girl and her robot building a sandcastle.
If it’s something that will entertain me, hopefully it will entertain others!
- What author do you really like right now?
Wow. That’s a really hard question. I just discovered a couple of picture books at the library recently by Thao Lam. She wrote and illustrated Skunk on a String and Wallpaper. They’re both super cool stories and I love the cut paper art. You and your readers should definitely check her books out!
- Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
Here are just a few debut authors and illustrators I’d suggest keeping an eye on:
- Iver & Ellsworth by Casey Robinson & Melissa Larson is great story about an old man and a blow-up polar bear – and is the first book for each of them.
- 100 Bugs! A Counting book is Kate Narita’s debut picture book, illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Suzanne Kaufman.
- The Field by Baptiste Paul and Jacqueline Alcantara – a debut for both – is a lovely lyrical book about the love of futbol.
- Twilight Chant by Holly Thompson is Jen Betton’s debut as an illustrator (she also just had her debut as an author/illustrator in Hedgehog Needs a Hug).
- I Love You for Miles and Miles is Alison Goldberg’s debut, adorably illustrated by Mike Yamada.
- Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible ALVIN is Michelle Cusolito’s debut picture book, illustrated by the talented Nicole Wong.
- The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul is one of my favorites – and it’s her first of several books out this year!
- What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
There are only TWO things you need to know if you want to be an author:
- The Alphabet
- How to Tell a Good Story
So once you’ve mastered your ABC’s, how does one learn to tell a good story?
My best advice is to read a lot. The more good stories you read, the more you’ll learn about how to make up your own.
And then write a lot. And have fun with it. Share your writing with your friends and family. See what they like and what they think could be better, funnier, scarier, more emotional.
And then write some more. Just like playing sports or an instrument, writing takes practice. And the more practice you get at writing stories, the better each story will be.
- As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
Because of social media, I do get to hear from my readers (or at least their parents and teachers … and big sisters). And connecting with readers is the best part of the job. After all, that’s why I write – to entertain kids (and the adults that read to them).
- If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
Definitely Corduroy. I’d love to spend the night in a department store jumping all over the mattresses. I mean, who wouldn’t? That would be the Best. Night. Ever.
Thanks so much for inviting me to chat, Bridget! Say hi to your little bro for me!