Debuts and layers and parallels, oh my. Today’s conversation is with author Moni Ritchie Hadley, whose debut story (illustrated by Mizuho Fujisawa) is The Star Festival, published by Albert Whitman this year, 2021. The Star Festival is intergenerational, intercultural, loving, layered, and a little cheeky. A story of connection and caring.
Moni is an educator and writer, a self-described half-Japanese military brat who came up balancing Japanese and American cultures, and daydreaming – which I find to be one of the most useful skills for picture book writing.
The best of us comes from a place of personal connection and passion, even if we don’t recognize it at first. We’ll save the details to be revealed during our conversation, but Moni’s experiences with bringing The Star Festival to life remind us to keep our minds, eyes, ears, and heart open so that the world can sometimes steer us in the right direction.
Happenstance is a funny thing. Not only is The Star Festival Moni’s debut picture book, but also Brenna’s and my first recorded author interview after partnering up, which is also a result of happenstance and keeping eyes open for opportunity.
Mentions in this episode include a big shout out to Storyteller Academy, specifically Jim Averbeck's Writing Picture Book Manuscripts course.
Enjoy both this conversation and the impending end of 2021! Find us on Twitter and the whole episode archive at verse.show, and as always, let us know what you think via a rating, review, or comment!
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