The Children’s Book Review | November 20, 2017
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Nobody Sang Like Katy Did?
Holly Schindler: Sing your own unique song! In this story in verse (a short, illustrated book great for readers age 9-12), Katy Did is a singer in her own band. After a bad review, the band fires her in order to hire a technically perfect Songbird. But the band soon learns that their fans preferred the fire and personality of Katy Did’s unique vocals.
Can you share one highlight from Nobody Sang Like Katy Did with our readers?
The book is actually a villanelle. It’s not as frequently studied as some other poetic forms, especially in the elementary levels. I find it’s a form not usually discussed much until high school, actually, when students often read Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night,” arguably the most famous or most recognizable villanelle ever written.
But don’t worry; it’s not too sophisticated. Kids in this age group (grades 3-6) are straddling the line between childhood and slightly more grown-up interests. That’s why this book is also a picture book, featuring both photographic and illustrative elements—and a katydid lead singer with bright red hair, no less!
Here’s a visual glimpse into the book:
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
I was already in touch with several teachers, having done Skypes and classroom visits for my MG The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky. I quickly started circulating the book to those teachers, and was thrilled to hear that they used the Nobody Sang Like Katy Did in class. (The book includes worksheets in the back to help budding poets write their own first villanelle.)
Why do you think stories written in verse should be an important part of a child’s home library?
I was so delighted to recently see Tracy K. Smith (our current poet laureate) on CBS This Morning, discussing the accessibility of poetry. I also believe that poetry is what our youngest readers naturally gravitate toward. And yet, somewhere along the way, readers become intimidated by it. It’s my hope that Nobody Sang Like Katy Did helps to continue to make formal poetry both accessible and fun for your young readers.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE…
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
All of the above, really. For this project, the illustrations were done with traditional watercolor and colored pencil, then scanned into my computer and combined with photographic elements using Photoshop. I laid the final book out using InDesign. For longer projects, I usually draft stories in Scrivener. And as I move more into illustration, I’ve been using Clip Studio Paint, which has some tools—like 3D character models and vector line correction tools—that are especially great for writers looking for guidance in doing more illustrative work themselves.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
Always books. I’ve been reading a ton of non-fiction lately. I’m also diving into several MG reads by authors at my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle. The blog is a celebration of MG literature. We often discuss the writing process, but also highlight MG illustrators as well as librarians or teachers who are doing some really exciting work incorporating contemporary MG reads in the classroom setting. You can check us out here: http://smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com/
Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?
Holly Schindler: I’m a lifelong music nut—and I used to do my fair share of autograph hunting. Anything just to be a little closer to my favorite musicians. But if this was a secret before, it definitely isn’t now! My love of music comes out loud and clear in Nobody Sang Like Katy Did, which is also a celebration of garage bands.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Holly Schindler: I’ve divided my newsletters up, so that fans of specific age groups or genres can receive updates regarding the categories they’re most interested in. I have a MG-specific newsletter, which is really interactive. My readers have been contacting me directly, letting me know what they’re students and young readers are into, what kind of holes they’re seeing on their bookstore (or library or classroom) shelves. As a hybrid author, I can help fill those shelves fairly quickly. You can get in on the conversation here: http://eepurl.com/csXfbr
Written and Illustrated by Holly Schindler
Publisher’s Synopsis: Rock stars are cool. So is poetry.
Saturday night just isn’t Saturday night without Katy Did and The Antennas. At least, until a rotten review leaves Katy’s bandmates thinking maybe they could do better with another singer.
What’s a Katy Did to do when she’s been dumped for a Songbird?
Featuring a main character who is both literally a katydid insect and the singer in her own band, Nobody Sang Like Katy Did is a picture book that offers a story of perseverance and finding beauty in unexpected places. In addition, the book provides a fun, attention-grabbing way to introduce young readers to formal poetry. The book itself is a villanelle, a type of poetry that features refrains that repeat throughout—much like the chorus in a rock song. Great for classroom use and for readers in the fourth to sixth grade. Sheets in the back of the book walk budding poets through writing their own first villanelle.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Holly Schindler, LLC | Oct. 3, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0996861601
About the Author and Illustrator
Holly Schindler is a hybrid author of critically acclaimed traditionally published and Amazon bestselling independently published books for readers of all ages. Her work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week.
Schindler is also owned by a Pekingese named Jake, and is currently consuming large quantities of coffee while working on her next novel. Readers can keep up with the latest or get in touch at HollySchindler.com, Twitter, and Facebook.
This speed interview with Holly Schindler, author of Nobody Sang Like Katy Did, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Holly Schindler, Perseverance, Picture Book, and Poetry Books for Kids.