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My Writing and Reading Life: Derek Taylor Kent

Derek Taylor KentThe Children’s Book Review | August 18, 2015

My Writing and Reading Life_ Derek Taylor Kent-2

Derek Taylor Kent is a screenwriter and the author of the award-winning middle grade series Scary School. He lives in Los Angeles with his greyhound puppy, Zander, whose nose for mischief was the real-life inspiration for El Perro con Sombrero.

Latest published book …


You wrote it because …

In doing my school visits to promote my book series Scary School, I visited many dual immersion and spanish-speaking schools and saw the need for bilingual picture books that could be used to teach either English or Spanish to early learners. At the same time, I also happened to get a dog who was so cute and mischievous, I felt inspired to write the stories about his antics. So I started working with a writer friend and native Spanish-speaker Gabriela Revilla Lugo (also an amazing dog owner). I wrote the book and then made a Spanish translation for me. The whole thing just seemed to click and really work well.

Best moment …
The best moment in the book is probably when the dog Pepe has become a movie star by virtue of his amazing sombrero … when shooting a comedy film he eats a habenero pepper and suffers the results. It’s my little nephew’s favorite moment at least!
Your special place to write …

I do most of my writing from home, but I do have a special time to write, which is usually 10 pm – 2 am when there are the fewest distractions and I can focus the best.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

Other books! I have my huge bookshelf of books next to me. Before writing a new book I usually read a few of them to feel motivated and inspired again.

Favorite bookshop …

Children’s Book World in LA, every Barnes and Noble, Books Inc. in the Bay Area, and Book Soup.

Currently reading …

Armada by Ernest Cline (his previous book Ready Player One is my favorite of the last five years)

All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write…

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar—chapter books.  If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss—picture book.

An author you idol …

My all time favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut … his science fiction work is incredible, but his off-beat, hilarious, and sometimes emotionally wrenching short stories were a huge inspiration for Scary School. And of course, J.K. Rowling was the biggest reason I wanted to write novels.

Favorite illustrator …

I honestly feel the artist of the Scary School series, Scott Fischer, is the best out there for fantasy and that type of work. Jed Henry, the illustrator of El Perro, might just be the best picture book illustrator. I was blown away by his work.

A literary character to vacation with …

Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones.

El Perro con Sombrero


Written by Derek Taylor Kent

Illustrated by Jed Henry

Publisher’s Synopsis: ¡Perro!
¡El perro con sombrero!

Meet Pepe! Before he got a sombrero, he was a lonely dog living in the streets. Now he is a movie star, loved by everyone! Well, everyone except…

¡El Gato en Zapatos!

El Gato is one sneaky, jealous kitty. Watch out, Pepe!

Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0805099898

Available Here: 


Discover more picture books like El Perro con Sombreroby Derek Taylor Kent, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with Animal BooksBilingual Books, and Picture Books; and be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by a guest author.

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