The Children’s Book Review | November 26, 2018
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Crafty Llama?
Mike Kerr: Comfy, quirky, thoughtful, together, and fun.
Renata Liwska: Sharing, encouraging, friendship, love, and creativity.
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from Crafty Llama, who would it be? Why?
Definitely not with Racoon, Pony, or Rabbit. I don’t think we would get very far. But we wouldn’t mind going to Crafty Llama’s for a little holiday retreat.
What has been the best reaction from a reader,so far?
Renata was really pleased when someone noticed that Crafty Llama has a very nice kitchen! Mike’s just glad no one has said “Nice pictures, too bad about the story.”
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
We’re not bed readers. Mike has an alarm on his (Renata’s alarm is in the closet so she has to get up to turn it off). Renata has just finished Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Not My Father’s Son by Allan Cumming, and is super excited to be starting French Exit by Patrick Dewitt.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
We love coffee! We first got to know each other at a coffee shop, most of Renata’s books were drawn at coffee shops, and we have part of our kitchen set up like a mini coffee shop. Now that I think about it Crafty Coffee could be a good name …
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
All of the above. I write ideas in a little notebook when inspiration strikes – waiting in line, walking in a snow storm, and such. And then I compose those ideas together on a computer (If I can find them, I have a lot of little notebooks). Crafty Llama is one of the first books Renata has drawn primarily on the computer, and the amazing part is they look exactly like her pencil drawings.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Crafty Llama, your writing style, or yourself?
Life imitates art and vice versa. Mike has recently become interested in cutting wood, it’s good for working on focus and concentration. And Renata still has a sweater she knitted as a teenager from wool she got directly from a sheep farmer.
Written by Mike Kerr
Illustrated by Renata Liwska
Publisher’s Synopsis: A darling new character from New York Times bestselling illustrator Renata Liwska! Created with author Mike Kerr, this is a story about crafting, friendship, and the very best gifts, perfect for fans of Extra Yarn.
Llama loves to make things. It doesn’t matter what, really–something special, something lovely.
Beaver loves to make things, too. But he likes things to be useful.
On this lovely day, Llama is inspired. She is having fun making things, like gifts for her friends. And soon many of her friends are inspired right along with her. But Beaver needs to think about what Llama and the other animals are making. What useful thing can he do with this day?
With lots of craftiness and fun, this is a delightful story about how something lovely can be useful, too, and how the best gifts are the ones that bring us together.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books | October 2, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1681191218
About the Author and Illustrator
Mike Kerr and Renata Liwska have successfully collaborated before–at home, doing or avoiding chores, and on the road, sketching at any trendy coffee shop they come across. As a husband-and-wife team they have now taken their collaboration to the next level by writing and drawing about one of their favorite subjects–handmade crafts!
When not creating best-selling and award-winning books such as The Quiet Book written by Deborah Underwood, Renata likes going to craft fairs to be inspired by the love and care that craftspeople put into their precious creations.
And when not living vicariously through the many successful illustrators he has had the good fortune to teach as an instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Mike likes going to craft fairs to be motivated by the dedication and determination of crafty creators.
Visit their website RANDMcollective.com to learn more.
This speed interview with Mike Kerr and Renata Liwska, creators of Crafty Llama, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Arts And Crafts,Friendship, Gift Books, Llamas, Picture Book, and Speed Interview.