David Ezra Stein, Author-Illustrator of Honey | Speed Interview
The Children’s Book Review | March 27, 2018
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe your new picture book Honey?
David Ezra Stein: Wanting. Waiting. Forgetting. Getting! Losing.
Can you share a highlight from the book? Your favorite page, perhaps?
I love how this image came out. It has such a warm feeling, which is just how the bear feels in the story. He’s come out of hibernation, and is enjoying the sun on the warm grass.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
As of this moment, the book hasn’t pubbed yet. But I did show it to an old friend, whose opinion I trust. I told him I’d done a sequel to Leaves (Putnam, 2007) after so many years. He read it during our lunch together. When he was done he looked up and grinned. “You did it!” he said. That felt really good.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
I am one of those people who’s always in the middle of three books at the same time. Right now I have Joy in the Morning by P. G. Wodehouse; The Juniper Tree, by Lore Segal and Maurice Sendak; and Devotions by Mary Oliver—all open to some page or other.
And of course, my sketchbook is always by my bedside.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
I prefer sugar and tea! But never sugar in my tea. Only milk. And for sugar, maybe a couple of gingersnaps on the side!
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
Ballpoint pen is closest to my heart—for writing, doodling, and brainstorming. And Uniball pen for sketching on location. Computer is good for laying out book dummies.
Favorite art supply?
Watercolor. It’s a joy to spread on the paper. Also anything that can be dipped into ink. For Honey, I used a bamboo pen to get nice scratchy lines. I like that it needs to be dipped, which gives me time to think between strokes.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Honey, your writing style, or yourself?
The bear’s island in Honey and Leaves is based on a tiny island in the St. Lawrence river in Canada that I visited one summer.
Written and Illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Publisher’s Synopsis: This sweet companion to David Ezra Stein’s award-winning Leaves celebrates the joy of savoring something you love.
Bear is ravenous when he wakes up from his winter sleep and has one thing on his mind: honey! Alas, it is too soon for honey, so Bear tries hard to be patient. The world around him is waking up, too, and he soon remembers all the other things he loves, like warm grass, berries, and rain. He’s almost content, until, one day, he hears a welcome buzzing sound . . . and finally it is time for Bear to delight in the thing he relishes above all others–and it is as warm, golden, sweet, and good as he remembered.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books | March 27, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1524737863
About the Author
David Ezra Stein received a Caldecott Honor for Interrupting Chicken and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award for Leaves, which was also a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice and a School Library Journal Best Book. He also wrote and illustrated Tad and Dad; Ol’ Mama Squirrel; Pouch!; The Nice Book; and Love, Mouserella.
This speed interview with David Ezra Stein, author of Honey, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Humorous Books, Magic, Middle Grade Books, and Speed Interview.