I’m very excited to introduce you all to my good friend from college and fellow MeeGenius author Kerry Kennett. Be sure to check out her adorable picture book app To the Lady Upstairs, Sincerely, The Centipede. Welcome, Kerry!
What inspired you to write To The Lady Upstairs, Sincerely, The Centipede?
We had bug traps set up to catch spiders in our basement. Or so I thought! I went down one summer day to put a load of wash on, and I see a CENTIPEDE squiggling off! I ran in the other direction (like the “lady” in my story). But then I got to thinking, “Hm! What if bugs DID try to be helfpul?” Then I thought about the bug traps in our house, and how there is a slight separation between the stairs. A centipede can really crawl around and squeeze through tiny spaces- something not all bugs do. I kept thinking about it and decided that it was pretty silly and might make a cute story. As I wrote, more and more ideas came to me!
What books had the most influence on you while growing up?
When I was very young my favorite books were, “Are You My Mother?” and “Bedtime For Frances.” I absolutely love both the illustrations and words. There’s this great page in “Bedtime For Frances” where the little girl badger goes in to see her parents and her dad opens one eye. It so perfectly captures that aspect of childhood when kids could care less about sleep and parents are dreading getting out of bed in the middle of the night! When I hit middle school and high school, I was really into poetry, especially anything written by E.E. Cummings. I love his creativity!
At what moment did you truly begin to feel like an author?
While I have been substituting in 2014, I’ve gotten to show my book to a handful of classes at the end of the school day as a “surprise”! It has been so great to see the kids interested in the story! They laugh at the lady with her broom, or just at the bug “talking.” They wince when he loses a few legs on the bug trap. It’s so amazing to share the story with my wonderful students!
How has your work as a librarian and teacher influenced your work as a writer?
I am blessed to have enjoyed such a wide variety of books from my work as a librarian and teacher (in both my coursework and through on-the-job experience)! I think I most enjoy seeing how kids react to the world around them, how they solve their problems, and the stories they make up! Students that I work with are always inspiring me to think of new ideas. Or, sometimes, they mention books that they would like to read, that we cannot find no matter how hard we search, and then I get ideas for what there might be a “need” for out there!
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would definitely be teleportation, with none of that dissipating business. Almost like on “Bewitched” when she twitches her nose and makes something happen- I would want to snap my fingers and end up wherever I chose! Can you imagine going to the beach for 5 hours a day every day, and then snapping your fingers a half an hour before work? No more TRAFFIC or commuting ever! I could work or visit wherever I choose!
What is something funny/weird/exceptional about yourself that you don’t normally share with others in an interview?
I have freckles everywhere! One freckle is even on the bottom of my left foot!
I really love pizza. I know most people like pizza, but, I really think I could eat it every day. I like that it is so versatile!
What is next for you in your writing career?
I am working on many other picture books at this time. I hope that my next book is published in a hardcover and / or paperback version so that I could hold it in my hands, autograph it, etc. I am excited to share my book with children through school and library visits as well!
Down the line, I would love to try my hand at MG or YA fiction, as I have some great ideas in mind but not a full blown story mapped out for any of them yet!
Thanks for the great interview, Katie!
In addition to being an author, Kerry has worked as a Middle School English Teacher for sixth grade, a Special Education Collaborative Team Teacher for grades K-3, and has also had the pleasure of working for one year as a grades K-2 Librarian in a Primary Elementary School. She has taught in Rockland County, in NYC in the borough of the Bronx, and in Dutchess County- all in the great state of New York. She absolutely love vacations that involve a beach! The better the snorkeling is, the better the vacation is! She believes the most beautiful sunsets and calm moments are experienced on a beach! For more about Kerry and her book visit her website at kerrykennett.com.
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