"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."
Elissa Brent Weissman is the author of The Short Seller, Nerd 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.
Other contributors include Kwame Alexander, Tom Angleberger, Kathi Appelt, Ashley Bryan, Tim Federle, Candace Fleming, Marla Frazee, Chris Gall, Alex Gino, Chris Grabenstein, Gordon Korman, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Thanhhà Lai, Peter Lerangis, Gail Carson Levine, Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, R.J. Palacio, Linda Sue Park, Eric Rohmann, Dan Santat, Brian Selznick, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Rita Williams-Garcia.