Robin Pulver is the award-winning author of illustrated read-aloud books for kids ages 3-9. Beginning with her first book, MRS. TOGGLE’S ZIPPER, they include NOBODY’S MOTHER IS IN SECOND GRADE, AXLE ANNIE, NEVER SAY BOO!, THANK YOU, MISS DOOVER; PUNCTUATION TAKES A VACATION, CHRISTMAS KITTEN, HOME AT LAST, and many others. Horn Book Magazine has called her “The Queen of Grammar for the Elementary Set,” thanks to her humorous approach to writing about such things as silent letters, suffixes, punctuation, and capital letters.
Please tell us about your latest book.
SATURDAY IS DADURDAY is my newest book, published May 2013 by Walker Books for Young Readers, and illustrated by R.W. Alley, whose wonderful pictures enhance the story’s exuberant emotion.
The story is about a little girl named Mimi who looks forward to having her dad to herself on Saturdays, when they give Mom time with the baby twins. They call that day DADURDAY, and Mimi and Dad always plan fun things to do. But then Dad has to work on Saturdays, and Mimi must cope with disappointment. She’s mad and sad, but ultimately figures out her own way to save DADURDAY.
What do you hope readers will get from reading the book?
Mostly what I hope readers (kids AND their parents and their parents) get out of it is a good, warm, loving, laughing, moving time together. Good read-aloud books bring people of all ages together. I want my books to help kids relate the act of reading to family caring and love.
It’d be nice if this particular book gives readers an understanding of empathy, even if they’re too young to know what that word means.
What aspect of writing do you find the most challenging?
I’m a very slow writer. I do lots and lots of revising and polishing. It’s a challenge for me not to compare myself to other writers. In the same vein, it’s a challenge to face the blank page. I don’t have a lot of faith that I’ll be able to write anything decent. But I must, must, MUST throw words down on the page, if only so I can get rid of them later. Without those early words that no one will ever see, there would be no momentum, no story!
Henry: It is funny that writers construct their literary edifice on top of a foundation of often discarded words. Literary Jenga!
What is a powerful lesson you've learned from being a writer?
That only by doing the writing will I discover what I have to say.
Henry: Ah, you only recognize the words after they’ve travelled from your brain to your fingers, and spilled onto the manuscript!