I teach an addictions class, as a retired therapist. For fun, I enjoy gardening. I also love to hike the mountains near our cabin in the Tetons.
What sparked your interest in becoming a kid-lit and picture book creator?
I have always wanted to write, but I wasn’t really in touch with my feelings until after I retired. Then I decided I would do a few of the things that were dear to my heart. Writing children’s picture books was one of them.
I come from an extensive entertainment background. My mom started the ﬁrst entertainment agency in Miami, and my brother was a magician. Luckily for me, I was born into a “platform.” (I only wish that the internet was available at this time!)
As young as 16, I was already dreaming up stories to produce. My ﬁrst interactive production was The Disappearance of Dino Dinero. I cast celebrity look-alikes for all of the parts. It was a blast!
Along the way, people took credit for my work, I experienced self-doubt, and my knees knocked when an authority ﬁgure insinuated that they were the only conduit to success. Taking from my knowledge, if I can empower children to own their creative power, then I will feel more accomplished than any big professional title.
What are your earliest memories of books?
My favorite book was about a ﬁsh who swam in the wrong direction. When all the ﬁsh were going this way, he’d go that way. I believe the name of the book was Arthur. My dad would read it to me when I was a starry-eyed six-year-old. Maybe that’s why I have always leaped into the unknown, ﬁnding my north star.
How does your background in musicals crossover into creating picture books?
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
Kid lit lovers everywhere are celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday, who was born on this date in 1904. A fun fact about Dr. Seuss is that his famous Green Eggs and Ham book was created on a bet. Bennett Cerf, one of the founders of Random House Publishing, bet Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) that he couldn’t write a book with fifty or fewer distinct words. We all came out winners of that bet.
In celebration of his birthday, the estimable Vivian Kirkfield created the '50 Precious Words' contest. The challenge is to create a children's story with 50 words maximum. Wow! It was hard but fun. I cannot wait to see everybody's stories. Good luck to all the contestants. (Check out the other entries on Vivian's blog here)
When a Monster Eats Your Underwear
By Carrie Karnes-Fannin
“Where’s your underwear?”
“Ummm…a monster ate them, Mama.”
“I’m naked! Woo-hoo!!”
“That’s too bad."
“No underwear, no park.”
“Nope. No underwear, no park.”
“Here they are!”
“The monster burped them up. He said ‘excuse me.’”
“Can we go now?”
“But where’s your pants?”
What is your earliest memory of books?
This is one of the reasons that I absolutely love doing this blog--getting to know the awesome people that make up the children's literature community.
On February 13, 2017 we interviewed Maria for the "1st Looks/1st Books" feature on the blog (read her interview here). This morning she announced that she was invited to speak at TEDx event March 10, 2017 at the St. Louis University/Madrid.
Way to go Maria! Check out all the info on her event here.
What is your earliest memory of a book?
Well, I remember the first moment I ever read a book. It was a little fairy book that my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Reinhardt, had given me. I have no idea what it was called, but I loved it immensely. The pictures showed little fairies who lived in flowers and had tea parties, and I positively wanted to crawl inside and live there. (Let’s be honest, part of me would still do it in a heartbeat!)
Because I had it memorized, I had been fooling people for a few days that I already knew how to read, and then I had this moment, where the words suddenly came into focus, and I knew what they said. I was so excited to really be reading that I shouted out “I can read!” Sadly for me, everyone around me was like, “Yeah, we already know you can read.”
Anyway, every once in a while, I get that feeling again in dreams, where the words are appearing as I’m reading them, and it is incredibly exciting - very much like doing magic. Very early on I equated reading books with magical abilities.
Books are pretty magical, when you think about it. Tell us, how did you go from being a book lover to a book maker?