Update: Congrats to Jeff K. for winning this month’s book! Watch out next month for another great book giveaway!
I am so super excited to kick off this month’s book giveaway! It is the wonderful picture book, Rodzilla, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Dan Santat. I am fortunate enough to have met Rob Sanders at a few writing conferences here in Florida, so I couldn’t wait to pick this one up. I actually did a quick review of it last month, which you can see here.
My whole family really enjoyed Sander’s eye-witness account of the rampaging dinosaur toddler. We have a toddler of our own who is just starting to crawl and get into all sorts of mischief, so this was perfect.
Every time I have seen Rob in person, I am always so impressed by his willingness to help fellow writers on the journey. He really is just a great guy. I was able to ask him a few questions recently which he was kind enough to answer below for your reading pleasure.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post! The contest runs from Saturday, August 12th at midnight EST to Saturday August 19th at midnight.
An Interview with Rob Sanders
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be everything I saw on TV. Now keep in mind, I was a child of the 60s and 70s so I wanted to be (in no particular order) a cowboy, an astronaut, Johnny Quest’s brother, or a singer and dancer (like on The Carol Burnett Show and other variety programs). I also loved art, and thought I might be an artist. By the time I was in high school, my interests had switched to music—especially opera and musical theater. Ultimately, in college (and through volunteer work I was doing), my interests changed again and I switched my major from music performance to elementary education. During graduate school I began writing religious education curriculum materials and within six years was working for that publishing company. Another switch!
What do you think makes a good story?
Stakes. Tension. Pay off. Something has to be at stake for the main character—a problem, a situation, something. Then the action (or tension) must rise to keep the reader turning the pages. And there must be a pay off—an emotional impact, a satisfying ending, and a reason to want to read the book again and again and again.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I had (and still have) tons of Little Golden Books that were read to me again and again when I was young. My favorite elementary teacher (and current Facebook friend), Mrs. Janet Henley, read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series to us, one chapter a day. She also took us on a field trip to Laura’s home in Mansfield, Missouri. Of course, I loved those books. Another favorite, which I still have, was a nonfiction book entitled Illustrated Minute Biographies: 150 Life-Stories of Famous People.
What book(s) are you reading right now?
I’m getting ready for a new school year to begin, so I’m reading lots of teacher-ly things. However, some of my favorite picture books that I will use to begin the school year (besides my books, of course), are: The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade (Roberts/Robinson), School’s First Day of School (Rex/Robinson), Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White (Sweet), The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (Bryant/Sweet), I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark (Levy/Baddeley), She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World (Clinton/Boiger).
BOOKS BY ROB SANDERS
Cowboy Christmas (Golden Books/Random House)
Outer Space Bedtime Race (Random House)
Ruby Rose—Off to School She Goes (HarperCollins)
Rodzilla (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Ruby Rose—Big Bravos (HarperCollins, August 2017)
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag (Random House, 2018)
Stonewall: The Uprising for Gay Rights (Random House, 2019)
Ball and Balloon (Simon & Shuster, 2019)