One of biggest perks of membership in Picture the Books has been getting to know one another. Bonding with fellow picture book authors and illustrators has been so much fun – and may be one of the few things keeping us all sane as our debut book release dates approach!
We want to share the fun with all of you, so we’re starting a series of Two Debut Interviews in which team members interview one another. For our first in the series, Anna Forrester chats with Camille Andros.
Camille Andros’s debut, CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED, releases next week on March 14 (illustrated by Brianne Farley; HMHKids/Clarion). Charlotte is a serious scientist who solves important problems using the scientific method. In CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED she tries to solve the problem of not having enough space to conduct her experiments and being squished by her many brothers and sisters (she is a rabbit, after all). This funny, satisfying story is a playful introduction to the scientific method and perfect for sparking an interest in STEM subjects.
AF: I can’t wait to talk about CHARLOTTE THE SCIENTIST IS SQUISHED — but for starters, how about some quick ice breaker questions… If you could choose to live in the world of any picture book, which world would it be – and why?
CA: THE LITTLE HOUSE by Virginia Lee Burton. I love the idea of living simply out in the country where it is peaceful and quiet….but I think I’d like to keep a penthouse in NYC too;)
AF: You get to pick a pen name – what is it?
CA: Hmmm, maybe some cool ambiguous initials with a famous scientific sounding last name…
AF: If you could take credit for ANY other published PB out there, which one would you choose?
CA: This is hard. There are so many wonderful picture books. THE LITTLE HOUSE would be at the top of the list. It’s the book that made me want to write my own.
AF: How many siblings do you have and where do you fall in the birth order – and did it matter?
CA: I am the oldest of seven kids. I think Charlotte is a bit of an autobiography in that sense 😉
AF: Tell me about the pet/s you had growing up.
CA: No pets, but when I was eight years old I did catch and keep a tarantula in a big mason jar from the vacant lot next door to my house, but when my dad had to go out of town on business, my mom made me get rid of it.
AF: And… what’s the funnest or funniest job you’ve had, besides author/illustrator?
CA: I once scrubbed cheese vats at a dairy when I was in college.
AF: You had a brush with arachnology in the form of that tarantula, and with microbiology in the form of cheese cultures. But that happened a long time ago! How did you get the idea for a book about the scientific method?
CA: The idea evolved over time and many revisions, but I always loved the idea of showing a kid (or bunny 😉 who loves science and makes it look fun and interesting. I want the kids who read CHARLOTTE to be able to see themselves as scientists and know that being a scientist can look like a lot of different things.
AF: On your website you mention that you were one of seven kids and now have six of your own! You probably don’t have a re-purposed, carrot-like rocket ship writing studio in YOUR back yard — how DO you find the space and time to write?
CA: I sneak it in when I can. For a long time it meant lots of early mornings and late nights and that still happens too, but now almost all the kids are in school and my youngest is in preschool for half days now, so I try and be as productive as I can during those short preschool hours.
AF: Brianne Farley’s illustrations for CHARLOTTE do such a great job of keeping Charlotte’s scientific work warm and homey. What grabbed you most when you first saw the illustrations?
CA: Brianne did an incredible job bringing Charlotte and her huge bunny family to life. I love all the little details she adds like the portraits of famous scientists on the walls. The end papers are amazing and filled with such fun details – I can stare at those for a LONG time -and I love how each bunny in the family has a distinct personality that plays out through the book.
AF: It’s a delightful book, Camille – and is sure to inspire budding scientists of both the human and bunny variety. Congratulations!
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Camille Andros loves asking questions and won first place in the school science fair when she was in Kindergarten. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with her husband and six children who know a little something about being squished. Visit Camille online at www.camilleandros.com on Twitter @camdros, and Instagram @camilleandros.
Pre-order CHARLOTTE here!
Anna Forrester’s debut, BAT COUNT, illustrated by Susan Detwiler (Arbordale) released in February 2017. BAT COUNT features bats, citizen science and Jojo — another STEM-savvy girl.