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Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids Paperback – Illustrated, June 26, 2018

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 ratings

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"There Was an Old Mummy Who Swallowed a Spider" by Jennifer Ward
From the creators of the bestselling There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog comes a spooky rendition of the popular “Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” song. | Learn more
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  • Our Story Begins: Your Favorite Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Twenty-six notable authors and illustrators of children's books—including the book's editor—introduce themselves via their childhood memories.The short, straightforward introduction begins with the editor sharing her inspiration for the book.... Two years of interviewing, collecting, and collating produced the accessible, enjoyable text that follows. Each creator shares a childhood photograph, a brief memoir, a short biography, and a photographed sample of a creative work from childhood.... The art and writing samples from childhood are occasionally exciting but more often typical of the age represented—and thus encouraging rather than intimidating to young creatives. The memoirs—all (unsurprisingly) engaging—range from humorous to serious, and some slip in good advice, both about the tools of the craft and about self-marketing. There is a wide diversity of ages and backgrounds, from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor to Alex Gino, from Eric Rohmann to Rita Williams-Garcia. Thanhhà Lai is especially memorable; as a Vietnamese refugee, she had no box of writings: "But it turns out, I don't need tangible objects. I have my memories." Her recollection of an oral prose poem from age 8 is one that stands out because it is indeed remarkable for one so young. Good for aspiring writers and artists.", Kirkus Reviews, May 2017

"Firsthand accounts from 26 children’s authors and illustrators describe how their earliest writing or drawing experiences resulted in a career in kid lit.... An attractive cover, glossy pages, and writing tips will make this a great addition to collective biography or career sections. VERDICT: An authentic, generous, and inspiring selection for tweens who wonder where their doodling or journaling might take them.", School Library Journal, May 2017

"The best authors and artists make their work seem so effortless that it’s easy to assume they’re all preternaturally gifted; it’s easy to forget the inevitable time and labor that went into their work, and this collection is the perfect remedy to that misapprehension. In short sections, children’s literature luminaries offer short essays about their early artistic efforts and snippets of their early work...the main takeaway, of course, is that hard work and practice, as well as a lot of inevitable failure, is always part of honing a craft. A sweet, inspirational anthology for any kid who dreams of one day having their own name on the cover of a book.", Booklist, June 2017

"This collection offers a lively glimpse of the artistic starts of twenty-six writers and illustrators for youth, with notable contributors such as Kwame Alexander, Dan Santat, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and Linda Sue Park . . . The snapshots of the artists as young men and women are engaging and irreverent . . . There are a lot of shoutouts to influential teachers, a lot of early imitation (rightly recognized as a valid exercise), and a clear message throughout that this early work counts, whether you finish it, whether it’s completely original, whether it wins you the regard you hoped… this has curricular use written all over it (there’s even tips for young writers at the end) and the encouragement is strong and valuable. Plenty of young readers will salivate at the notion of living the dream described by Jarrett J. Krosoczka: 'What I do now for my job is exactly what I did for fun when I was a kid.'" -- BCCB, July/August 2017

"Twenty-six children’s book creators reflect on the stories and art they produced in their youth. Each section includes a brief essay by the author or illustrator, images of the work in its (often handwritten) original form, and a bio that shows what came out of that work in the contributor’s adulthood. Many entries are amusingly self-effacing: Dan Santat remembers a tantrum at age five because he couldn’t draw as well as Norman Rockwell, and Candace Fleming recalls transferring the Newbery sticker from The Witch of Blackbird Pond to her own short story. Young aspiring writers and artists should find reassurance in the early foibles of those now successful in the field. But the volume also shows examples of developing talent—check out teenaged Ashley Bryan’s drawings!"
 , The Horn Book Magazine, November/December 2017

About the Author

Elissa Brent Weissman is the author of The Short SellerNerd Camp, Nerd Camp 2.0, Standing for Socks, The Trouble with Mark Hopper, and the editor of Our Story Begins. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit her at EBWeissman.com.

Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man SwampMaybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows and Max Attacks. She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband. Visit her at KathiAppelt.com.

Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he was recently named a Newbery Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He has also been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; has been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer; a Coretta Scott King Award winner; and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Freedom Over MeSail AwayBeautiful BlackbirdBeat the Story-Drum, Pum PumLet It ShineAshley Bryan’s Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

Tim Federle is “a prolific scribe whose breezy wit isn’t bound to a single genre” (Huffington Post). Tim’s award-winning novels include The New York Times Notable Books The Great American Whatever and the Nate series—which Lin-Manuel Miranda called “a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid.” Tim cowrote both the Tony-nominated Broadway musical Tuck Everlasting, and the Golden Globe and Oscar–nominated Best Animated Feature Ferdinand, starring John Cena and Kate McKinnon. A native of San Francisco who grew up in Pittsburgh, Tim now divides his time between New York and the internet (@TimFederle).

Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; Gabriella’s Song; and When Agnes Caws; all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 930L
  • Grade Level : 3 - 7
  • Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
  • Paperback : 208 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1481472097
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1481472098
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Reading level : 8 - 12 years
  • Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint Edition (June 26, 2018)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 13 ratings

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