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October Guest Guru: Author Poet Laura Sassi

1. What do you LOVE about children’s books?

I love the special ability of picture books to engage all ages, serving as a wonderful introduction to the magic of story and the joy that is found in connecting with others through shared reading. All my writing life, I’ve also been fascinated by how text and illustration work together to tell a rich story, all within a 32-page format using a sparsity of words.

2. What brought you to children’s books? I’m often asked if I always wanted to write for children. But actually, when I was little what I really wanted to be was Wonder Woman. I had her twirl perfected and everything. I loved imaginary play and spent hours with friends, or sometimes alone, creating fantastic make-believe scenarios – which, come to think of it, is a lot like I do now as an author. When I learned to read, I also fell in love with books and spent hours each week reading. One thing led to another and soon I was writing my own stories and poems. A few years ago my parents sent me a box full of journals and papers from my elementary school years. Included in the rather musty collection are limericks, riddles, and silly rhyming snippets – all proof that I not only liked to write, but that I also loved to rhyme, even as a child. So I even though never dreamed I’d grow up to be an author (I grew up to be a teacher first, instead), my love of imagination and playing with words has deep roots.

3. Please share a submission tip with our Members.

Although I am not an editor or an agent, I have been submitting pieces for years and years and I have learned a few things along the way. Here’s my top tip: Don’t submit your work to an editor or agent too soon. You have only one shot to show it off to that particular agent, so make sure it’s been through an ample number of revisions and also, hopefully, through a round or two of feedback from a trusted group of critique buddies.

4. Please share a revision Tip for our Members: Don’t let the rhyme drive the story! To assure this isn’t happening, stop and ask yourself at each rhyme point, what would I want to happen if this didn’t have to rhyme. Then revise from this perspective.

5. Share a fun fact about YOU!

I wasn’t aware of this until my mortified children pointed it out, but apparently, I make clicking and mumbling sounds when I write. This is because I’m working on things like meter and word play. I’m guessing, though, that I probably click and mumble at the coffee shop and library as well which, if my children discover, they will find triple mortifying. You won’t tell, will you?

Laura Sassi has a passion for telling stories in prose and rhyme. She is the author of five picture books including the best-selling Goodnight, Ark, which was a 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist; Goodnight, Manger; Diva Delores and the Opera House Mouse, which won First Honor Book for the 2019 Best in Rhyme Award and is a 2022 Iowa Goldfinch Award Nominee; Love Is Kind, which was a 2020 Anna Dewdney Read Together Award Honor Book; and Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep. Her next book, Bunny Finds Easter, will release in 2022. In addition to books, she’s published over one hundred poems, stories, crafts, and articles in various children’s publications.

A graduate of Princeton University and UCLA, Sassi had a successful teaching career before becoming a children’s author. She’s been a homeschool mom, children’s ministry director, historic museum interpreter, and more. She writes daily from her home in New Jersey and finds special joy in sharing her love of reading and writing with the next generation at school visits and other book events.

Laura Sassi Children's book author and poet GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, August ’14) GOODNIGHT, MANGER (Zonderkidz, October ’15) DIVA DELORES AND THE OPERA HOUSE MOUSE (Sterling, Spring ’18) LOVE IS KIND (Zonderkidz, Fall ’18) EL AMOR ES BONDADOSO (Vida Zondervan, Fall ’19) LITTLE EWE: THE STORY OF ONE LOST SHEEP (Beaming Books, Spring ’21) BUNNY FINDS EASTER (Zonderkidz, Spring ’22)


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