May 13, 2010

Children's Book Author Ann Whitford Paul for 20 Questions!

This is the feature 20 Questions where we get to know our fellow book bloggers a little bit better! Today I want to welcome children's book author and blogger Ann Whitford Paul. Her many children's books include Owl at Night, If Animals Kissed, Fiesta Fiasco and All By Herself. Thanks, Ann, for wanting to participate in my little feature!


1. Last book you bought: I just purchased LUNA by Julie Anne Peters. It’s a YA book about a transgender child and we have a daughter/son grappling with this issue and I need as much information as I can get.

2. Last book you got in the mail: A HISTORY OF THE BOOK IN AMERICA, VOLUME 1: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World, for research for a book I’m writing that takes place in Connecticut during the Revolutionary War. It’s been very helpful in terms of what books would have been available back then.

3. The first book you read over and over: This would have to be THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Although I’m not a gardener I still dream of having one like those children created that could change so many lives.

4. Children’s book every child should read: THE STORY OF FERDINAND by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson. It’s the best book I know about the importance of being true to oneself.

5. Favorite place to read: That’s easy . . . in bed under the covers with my cat draped across my chest reading with me and purring.

6. A book you bought just for the cover: I learned early on not to buy a book for its cover or in children’s books for the pictures. Story is everything and without it covers/pictures are nothing but a mirage in a desert wasteland.

7. Scariest book ever read: I don’t read scary books much. The height of my scariness books would be those alphabet mysteries by Sue Grafton

8. Most romantic book ever read: That has to be PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen. One doesn’t need sex scenes to make a romantic book.

9. Book that changed your life in some way: FEELING GOOD by David Burns. This is the classic book on cognitive therapy and a great help in dealing with anxiety and depression.

10. Book you’ve re-read the most times: Also PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I read it with pencil in hand and make notes in the margins (It’s my own copy, don’t worry, Librarians) and each time I read it I discover some new turn of phrase that makes me appreciate the writing over again.

11. Book you needed the Cliff’s Notes for: I’m not much for Cliff notes. From my brief looks at them years ago in college, they seemed more plot directed than anything else. To me the joy of books is in the writing.

12. Book you needed the dictionary for: I don’t usually interrupt my reading by looking words up in a dictionary, except when I’m reading a book in Spanish and I need help with the translation.

13. Book you like that no one else seems to: I loved Carole Shields last book UNLESS: A NOVEL about a writer whose daughter drops out of the university to sit on a corner with a sign that says “goodness.” Interwoven through the story are funny asides about writing and the publishing business.

14. Book you don’t like that everyone else seems to love: TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer. We read it in my children’s book club, because it was so popular, and one woman commented, “I can honestly say there wasn’t a single line I wished I had written.” She said it all!

15. Number of books you own (you can guess): It’s in the thousands, many thousands. I couldn’t begin to count them. We have bookshelves in nearly every room in the house. Sometimes I go through and donate overflow to the library or to neighborhood schools, but I’m still addicted to books. I never consider money spent on them as wasteful.

16. Number of books on your TBR list (that you have not acquired yet): I’ve stopped adding any books to my list. I have too many books sitting on my shelves waiting to be read . . . CUBA CONFIDENTIAL: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana by Ann Louise Bardach, THE CHILDREN’S BOOK by A. S. Byatt and WHERE WE HAVE HOPE: a Memoir of Zimbabwe by Andrew Meldrum.

17. Must-have reading accessories: My reading glasses! Without them each letter would merely be small bugs crawling across the page.

18. Literary Destination You Want to Go to: Several years ago my husband and I went to England and visited Jane Austen country. We stopped in Bath and other cities she wrote about. I went into to her home and saw the quilt she stitched and the table where she wrote. We saw the home where she died and her burial place. It was a trip of a life-time. I think the next place I’d like to go is to Tolstoy country.

19. Top Three Favorite Authors: Adult Writing: Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Carole Shields

Writers for Children: Laurie Halse Anderson, Jacqueline Woodson, Martin Wadell

20. Three Bloggers You Want to See Featured in the Future: Ethan has illustrated four of my picture books and is an incredible talent. His blog features some fabulous birds sculptures he’s working on and commentary on the creative life. recommends children’s books. written by a good friend and talented award-winning author.

Thank you for participating, Ann! You are the first author to participate in 20 Questions and I hope you are the first of many. I loved reading your answers and I like that you are a fellow P&P lover, too!

~Next Week 20 Questions Gets Some New Questions!

I want to keep things interesting for 20 Questions so I have decided to mix and match some of my favorite questions with some brand new questions. Come back next week to see what new questions have been added and to read about or meet another book blogging friend!


  1. I love to read in bed too - it seems to be a very popular reading spot!

  2. I haven't read any Carol Shields in a long time, but the way Unless... is described sounds intriguing!

  3. I agree that books don't need sex to be romantic. In fact, sex can be pretty unromantic in most books!

  4. Luna is a fantastic book and I would also recommend Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher..this one broke my heart! I loved reading these 20 questions answered by an author...very fun!!! Your trip to England is one that I would love to do at some point in my life.

  5. Yay for Ferdinand! That was my choice too!!!

  6. I got Ann's Writing Picture Books from Santa, so feel as if I know her already! And I am a Martin Waddell fan too!

  7. I'm halfway through rereading Unless at the moment! And I would love to visit Jane Austen country.

    I'm looking forward to see what new questions you are going to choose for the 20 questions, Rebecca.


  8. I am making a mental note to look for Ann's books -- and to check out The Story of Ferdinand -- for my little one. Luna is a terrific book, Ann, and I am guessing it will spark some illuminating conversations with your daughter/son. :-)

  9. This has nothing to do with your post but i wanted to mention I love your new picture in your profile. Very nice!


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