With Author/Illustrator Shennen Bersani
September 8, 2017
Starting last Friday, September 1, 2017 I kicked off my ABC Game. Now every Friday, 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. Topping off their answers will be a peek into their world.
I invite you to play along. Maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!
Today we have illustrator (and recently author too), Shennen Bersani, who has twenty-eight books in print. I am a huge fan of her work so I asked her to play the ABC game with us.
ME: Shennen, thank you for playing the ABC game with us by filling in the blanks below to each category A-Z.
SB: Oh Traci, thank you for asking me! The answers just popped out of my head! Lots of fun, I hope others enjoy my responses.
ARTIST: Andy Warhol
DESSERT: Dulce de leche
EVERY CHILD: should own a well-worn book
FUNNY WORD: shenanigans
JAMMING SONG: BARRACUDA, performed by Heart. It makes me want to sing like I’m 16 again.
KITCHEN UTENSIL: My essential kitchen appliance, espresso machine.
LAUGH (WHAT MAKES YOU): the movie GHOSTBUSTERS
NUMBER OF BOOKS PUBLISHED: illustrating #29
ONOMATOPOEIA WORD: buzzing
PIRATE NAME: Captain Hook
QUICK, A ‘Q’ WORD: quick!
RHYMING WORDS: jump, bump, lump, dump, thump
SYNONYM FOR GREAT: colossal
UNUSUAL ANIMAL: pika
WISH: World Peace
X WORD: xylophone
YELLOW (SOMETHING): butterfly
ZANIEST THING YOU’VE DONE: Kissed a two-headed snake. Or maybe hanging off a cliff by a branch while I photographed a waterfall in Hawaii. Actually, I’ve got a long list of zany things I’ve done in order to research my books.
ME: I’ve read many of your illustrated books, my favorites being the animal stories. Your illustrating style is candy for the eyes, I love it! I also read your debut author/illustrator book, ACHOO! WHY POLLEN COUNTS. You have a knack with your illustrations in showing us something new. And you carried this knack into your writing with ACHOO! Using that special knack, what is one colossal thing about the pika that you can tell or show us?
SB: climate change is killing them off. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Climate-change-spells-extinction-for-pikas-of-12165556.php#photo-5194639 Pikas have thick fur and require cooler climates for survival. The one I illustrated for ‘The Glaciers are Melting!’ lived high in the mountains of Montana. Sadly,fires in Glacier National Park are threatening their existence. https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5510/
ME: Thank you for bringing attention to this. Climate change is real. Our earth is reacting, but not for the better of all life forms on it.
Something lighter: BARRACUDA brings back good memories for you. What was your favorite thing about being 16 and do you still sing along with it when you hear it?
SB: Yes, I always sing along once I hear that first riff! My 16-year-old memories are from summertime, sitting on my dad’s boat, painting watercolors of ocean scenes and sand dunes. Taking my friends out on my sailboat.
ME: I’m guessing this is when your love of sharks started.
Espresso for you just in the morning, or at any time?
SB: Americanos with a shot of espresso, morning, noon, and night. 🙂
ME: GHOSTBUSTERS makes you laugh. Me too! But for me, it’s the original; I have yet to watch the remake of it. Do you mean the original, the remake or both?
SB: I haven’t seen the remake, I’m all original. Many years ago my middle daughter and I met Bill Murray, he was hysterical in person! I laugh like crazy when I watch the original movie.
ME: Lucky duck! Good to know his humor carries off-screen as well as on. 😊 Speaking of humor, when was the last time you played Twister?
SB: Hahaha. I don’t recall.
ME: The last time for me was when my daughters were in middle school.
In reading your category answers, three of them stood out for me, your ‘F’, ‘V’ & ‘Z’ category answers. Curiosity is a must have to be a writer and an artist and you are both. Shenanigans is indeed a funny word to say and coincides with your zany list of things you’ve done for your craft. Art in all forms takes guts, ingenuity and creativity. I would say from your answers, that curiosity has fueled some of your shenanigans/experiences. Have you thought of writing a children’s book about them?
SB: Yes, definitely, in a graphic novel format.
ME: That format is hot right now and keeps growing. I think your graphic novel full of your zany experiences will be a huge hit whether the reader is a graphic novel fan or not.
Finally, are you able to give one hint about book #29 that you are illustrating?
ME: Awwwww! This is adorable. I’m already hooked and excited to read this book!!!
But for those who want something new from you now…next week, NIGHT CREEPERS by Linda Stanek and you, published by Arbordale Kids will be released!!!!!
Thank you for the sneak peek into your world and upcoming projects, Shennen! And for playing the ABC game with us. I hope you had as much fun playing it as I did reading your answers.
SB: Thank you Traci. You are doing a great job with your ABC Game, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD. You are putting fun into reading! Sometimes creative people – young and old – face a block in their creative flow. For budding authors I’d suggest taking the weekly answers and trying to write a story using as many of them as possible. For budding illustrators I’d suggest creating visual alphabet flash cards using the weekly words as inspiration. It would be great to see how others interpret the weekly words. Maybe posted on FB or Twitter?
ME: Fantastic ideas Shennen! Maybe a future book will be sparked from your list of words. 🙂 Final thoughts?
SB: Looking forward to reading next week’s and future weeks’ game.
To learn more about Shennen and her books, you can find her at her website and social media:
Here are a few more book cover teasers of books Shennen has illustrated.
To you readers, thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this edition of the ABC Game, ‘ABC’s Off the Top of YOUR HEAD’.
May it inspire you to play it with your friends or just spark your creativity.
Have a colossal weekend!