With Children’s Author, Laura Purdie Salas
The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all.
My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.
Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!
Who’s playing the ABC Game today? Laura Purdie Salas! She’s written more than 125 books for kids and offers books and courses for writers through Mentors for Rent. One of my favorite of her series is the ‘CAN BE’ series.
Below is a list of Laura’s categories from A – Z and her answers off the top of her head.
AIRLINE: Aerlingus – great prices and accents!
CHEESE: Super sharp cheddar (but I love pretty much ANYTHING cheesy)
DOCTOR: James Herriot (veterinarian is close enough, right?)
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Blue whale
GRAIN: Quinoa? Is that a grain?
HAT: Sun hat
KALEIDOSCOPE COLOR: Turquoise
NATURAL DISASTER: Avalanche
OCEAN: North Atlantic
Q NAME: Quasimodo
RECYCLE IT: Idea
SYNONYM FOR GREAT: Amazing
UTILITY: Gas (fireplace)
WIND: Yes, please
X WORD (word with ‘x’ in it): Fox/vixen (twofer Tuesday) [Tuesday is the day Laura filled this sheet out]
YOGA POSE: Half moon
ME: First, you wondered about two of your answers so let’s clear those up. Quinoa is a super seed of the Goosefoot Plant. It is argued both ways about it being a grain and not being one. I say close enough. Second, a veterinarian is indeed a kind of doctor so you are correct there as well.
LPS: Excellent! I made myself answer very quickly so that I wouldn’t get caught up in judging my answers, so you got my top-of-the-head wonderings:>)
ME: From your answer, I assume it is safe to say you have been to Ireland. What specifically do you enjoy about Ireland? (Besides their wonderful dialect).
LPS: I’ve been just once, though I’ve flown Aerlingus a few times. The sheep and the landscapes (Cliffs of Moher!) and the greenness of Ireland are astonishing. And all the gorgeous knitted things because of all those sheep. And the history.
ME: I have not been there but I understand your awe of it! They have horses too but not as common a sight as the sheep. Do you ride horses? Do you own a horse? If so, what is your horse’s name and what kind is it? If not, if you had a horse, what would you name it and why?
LPS: No and no, sadly. I always wanted to own a horse and I was a horse-obsessed kid for sure. Luckily, I had a friend who had a horse, and I got to go riding with her every once in a while. If I had a horse today, I would name it…hmmm…names and titles are a bit of a problem for me! I’m going to go with Apollo, god of poetry. Apollo also makes me think of space exploration and of power and curiosity. Yep, today, at least. Apollo would be my horse’s name.
ME: Apollo is a fantastic name for a horse. Maybe one day you will have that horse!
Lake Superior is superiorly cold, even in summer. But it is beautiful. Do you believe it feels superior to the other Great Lakes and why or why not?
LPS: With a name like Superior, it probably does! When I see kids named Princess and Goddess and King and Perfect, I think, “People, what are you doing to your kid?” Names are important. They shape us. Still, though Lake Superior is the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes, I like to think that it feels equal to the other Lakes, not superior to them.
ME: You are all brave going in that cold water!
How often do you recycle ideas while creating? This can be writing or outside the writing box.
LPS: I recycle ideas ALL the time! A picture book manuscript falls apart, but I can use the short story version for educational materials. A particular structure I try doesn’t work, but I save it to try again later. A poem is dreck, but I pluck out one jewel of a phrase to use with something else. My knitting that doesn’t work just gets tossed. It’s not salvageable.
ME: Love your ‘Q’ name…Quasimodo. That character had the kindest heart and was taken advantage of just because of how he looked. What is the kindest act you have ever witnessed?
LPS: The kindest act I’ve ever witnessed? That’s like asking my favorite book! Our younger daughter has given up creature comforts to live overseas trying to help refugees. That amazes and inspires me! But I love witnessing small kindnesses, too, like one child comforting another, someone rescuing stranded ducklings, or even just people holding doors open for strangers. Small kindnesses matter in big ways, too.
ME: I am in awe and inspired! Your daughter does have a kind heart. I wish her the best. © The smallest acts of kindness are huge in so many ways. I feel they are all equal. Good answer Laura!
You listed Half Moon as a yoga pose. I am just learning yoga. Do you practice it and if so, what is the hardest yoga pose for you to do? If not, and you could name a new yoga pose, what would you call it?
LPS: I only do yoga in short bits now at home, because I have crappy wrists. I’m very flexible, so I’m good at most of the basic poses, but Camel Pose kills me. I feel like I’m going to break in half when I do it. Ooh, if I could name my own yoga pose, I would call it Caramel Midnight Pose. I might have to invent it right now!
ME: Ooooo, I like that pose name! Once you invent it, let us know and I will add it to this post at a later date. 😊 You hold the Half Moon pose well!
LPS: That’s actually Dancer Pose, not Half Moon. The only yoga pic I have of me.
ME: I am terrible with remembering yoga pose names. I think there should be a blue whale pose, that would be easy to remember. And blue whales are amazing! And they are one of the top animals children are consistently wondering about. Will you share with us, any poems or special facts about them that you know or wrote? And, will you also share with us any special projects you are working on now?
LPS: I love that children are wondering about them—they are astonishing creatures! A blue whale will appear in one of my 2019 picture books, but only as one of many animals. Here’s a poem I wrote about a blue whale.
A BLUE WHALE’S LAMENT
I am gentle.
I’m not meant to be mean.
But I must capture you with my stubbly baleen.
I drink in the ocean.
Leave no place to hide.
I blow out the water. I trap you inside
With my bristly filter.
I wistfully kill
You all by the mouthful. I love you, dear krill.
Note: The blue whale is the largest animal on Earth, and it eats the smallest creatures, zooplankton. When blue whales fill their mouth with ocean water and then exhale, the water goes out but the tiny sea animals are trapped in their baleen plates.
That’s from my book A Need to Feed: Poems About Predators and Prey. (http://amzn.to/2GU7K14)
There’s also a gorgeous, sad song called “Ode to Big Blue,” by Gordon Lightfoot (https://youtu.be/WIt2yZUT9P8).
‘His mouth was as large as a tunnel so they say
His hide was thick as leather and his eyes quick and small
And his back was all scarred by the times he got away
And he knew the smell of whalers did Big Blue’]
Right now, I’m preparing for the launch of my newest picture book, Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families. It’s a science book, but it’s really a book about diversity, and about how there’s no one right way to be a family. And I’m working on several other picture books, on topics from winter to shapes to kindergarten.
Thanks, Traci, for inviting me to play. This was fun, even if it was a little bit intimidating!
ME: That’s a poem I can sink my teeth into! The blue whales are beautiful and gentle. (Of course the krill may not think so). Thank you so much for sharing your poem with us! I foresee many happy faces when reading your new book. I love animals and books about them so I am all in!
Thank you Laura for playing the ABC Game this week!
LSP: Thanks, Traci—this was a fun creative exercise!
And readers, thank you for stopping by! To learn more about Laura go here:
LAURA PURDIE SALAS WRITING THE WORLD FOR KIDS
Meet My Family! info, book trailer, reviews, teaching guide, and more: laurasalas.com/family
E-letter for educators: https://tinyurl.com/zlxc3c9
E-letter for writers:
Have a fantastic weekend everyone!