It’s a Book Birthday Party/ Blog Takeover for
by Erin Dealey, Illus. Luisa Uribe
“A well-thought-out presentation of an important environmental message.” —Kirkus
We are Mrs. Howard’s AWESOME 5th/6th graders from room FIVE04
–here to celebrate!
We met up with Erin Dealey on Zoom, showed her the Book Birthday posters we made, asked her some questions, and wrote poems.
So here’s part 1 of
DEAR ERIN DEALEY,
From Your Friends in Room FIVE04.
Q1 –from Ruby: When did you figure out that you wanted to be a writer?
Erin Dealey: First off, thank you for taking over the blog today, and for celebrating DEAR EARTH’s book birthday with me. It was great fun to meet you!
As for your question, the short answer: I was definitely NOT the kid who wanted to write books some day. (Long answer below.)
Room FIVE04: Erin Dealey’s 6th grade journal is proof! She read us an entry:
“It’s the same thing today and I don’t know what to write. The End.”
Erin Dealey: In 6th grade I got to go down the hall once a week and read to the kindergarteners. This is when I really discovered picture books. But write them? Ha! I liked to draw but by high school, I thought I might be a math teacher, mainly because my Algebra teacher was lots of fun and I knew how to get good grades in math.
In 10th grade English, I shared a poem we had to write, an example of alliteration, and the whole class laughed. I took it as proof that I was not a writer. Now, when I look back, I wonder if my friends laughed because they were used to me being funny, making people laugh. Still, to a 10th grader, it was horrifying. But funny thing:
I loved words.
I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a writer until much later. However, I’ve always loved words. I liked to make up jokes and puns with my friends. I loved memorizing the lyrics to my favorite songs–partly to sing along, but I also loved writing them down. I feel like that’s where I learned to rhyme. I also wrote angsty poems in a journal, which I showed no one!
And yep, I entered college as a MATH major. Halfway through university, my counselor asked me why I was taking all those English Lit classes… Long story short: I switched majors–with a plan to become a high school English/Art teacher.
Q 2. –from Isabel: What inspired you to write books?
Erin Dealey: Ha–I’m getting there…
- I was teaching high school English and Theater, and I found myself having to expand various scripts to fit the needs of my theater students. Then one day I found a cheesy novel that a student had left on a desk, and I thought, “I could do that!”
- I was also the ASB advisor and constantly telling my students to get past their doubts and follow their dreams. Never let the “If onlies” get you.
- My mom always used to tell us, “You never know until you try.” So I tried writing that novel. Over and over. (I may have just recently cracked the novel code, finally!)
- When our daughter was born, we read stories night and day, and somewhere along the way I realized that picture books are theater.
Q 3. –from Bubba: How long does it take for a book to come out?
Erin Dealey: When I started out, I was told it usually takes about two years from when you sign the contract for a picture book to be released. This will vary from book to book. The illustrator gets a year to do the art –although sometimes they get it done sooner. Plus, even if you think you’ve submitted a “perfect” manuscript, the editor will have more revisions and suggestions for you. It’s so very important to be open to these changes. I’ve found that the input only makes the book better.
With DEAR EARTH… I signed the contract in the summer of 2018. I worked on edits from Harper Collins team (including notes from science expert, nonfiction author Melissa Stewart) through October. In December 2018, I learned that the amazing Luisa Uribe would be the illustrator. Her art made the story come alive! I am so very thankful for our editor Tamar Mays, our art director Erica DeChavez, Melissa Stewart, and the entire DEAR EARTH team, as well as my incredible agent, Deborah Warren of East/West Literary.
Room FIVE04: Happy Book Birthday! We learned a lot today. (Writing a picture book and turning it in is like waiting for Mrs. Howard to grade our papers–only it takes much LONGER!) Thank you for letting us takeover your blog today, and for helping us write this poem for Dear Earth–
Dear Earth–Thank you.
You give us kindness.
Kindness is beautiful.
Beautiful stars and moon.
Beautiful as you are.
Are you tired?
Tired of people trashing you?
Tired of being treated wrong?
Tired of people throwing plastic in your ocean?
Tired of climate change?
Tired of smoke in the sky?
The sky should be blue.
Blue like clean water.
Water that flows peacefully.
Floating in space.
Space is wonderful as you are, dear.
Dear Earth–Thank you!
from your friends in Room FIVE04
To learn more about DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends In Room 5
(a 2020-2021 Winter Indie Next pick)
and other books by Erin Dealey,
check out erindealey.com,
#Teachers: LitLinks by Patricia Newman features DEAR EARTH + #STEM letter writing activities for Ss of all ages.
And as promised: there’s a DEAR EARTH #BookGiveaway over on Vivian Kirkfield’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.
NEXT WEEK on the blog–join us for 5 Qs with THE Sharon Creech.
And on Dec. 15th, Room FIVE04 will be back for part 2 of their blog takeover–with more poems!