107 – Leicestershire Writers Christmas Party

Join me and several of the Leicestershire Writers that were featured on the show this year for a nice little literary Christmas party. Each author has contributed a little something to this gift to you, the listeners.

Featured in this episode is

Jonathan Emmett reading his poem “Yours Ungratefully”
– A warm greeting from Emily Owen
Ben Dixon reading a passage from Neil Peel’s Rival that deals with a pleasantly rude Christmas card
Anne Fine shares the seasonal words of John Updike, Laurie Lee, and T.S. Eliot
– And Tom “The Tale Teller” Phillips shares the wintry Norwegian tale “The Cat on the Dovrefjell”

I know I say it all the time, but really, thanks for listening!!

85 – The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers

Co-host Chloë and I went up to Woolaton Hall in Nottingham for our first on-location interview with Dr. Adam S. Smith and Jonathan Emmett, authors of The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers, a wonderful new picture book about how our understanding of the Tyrannosaurus Rex has changed over the years. This book is playfully illustrated by Stieven van der Poorten, and uses humor and fun to teach about how science works over time to gather new information and refine our understanding of the facts.

This book gets a wholehearted endorsement from The Children’s Literature Podcast. It’s a total blast to read, thanks to the wit and humor used as the Tyrannosaur’s appearance is corrected by a pedantic but still charming Velociraptor. The pictures and central story are engaging for all ages, and the sidebars are packed with fascinating bits of information aimed at older children and adults. The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers is the second collaboration between Jonathan Emmett and Adam Smith. They are also the authors of The Plesiosaur’s Neck, another book that is as fun as it is informative.

Chloë and I really enjoyed our conversation with Jonathan and Adam, which was held in the Woolaton Hall Library. We talked about fossils, how media affects popular understanding of scientific facts, and why the Tyrannosaurus Rex is just the coolest. When we were finished, the authors showed an interesting book about plesiosaur fossils from the Woolaton Hall library to Chloë.

Dino lovers everywhere can buy a copy of The Tyrannosaur’s Feathers when it hits shelves on August 3!

58 – Interview with Jonathan Emmett

Jonathan Emmett is February’s Leicestershire Author of the month! I really enjoyed our interview, in which we talk about his fun childhood spent using tools, his training as an architect, and how he blended his interests in problem-solving, design, and storytelling during his successful career as a children’s author.

Each month this year I will be featuring authors who are from Leicestershire or who live here, as my way of using the show and its growing audience to support writers in my local community. If this interview is any indicator of things to come, I’m going to have a lot of fun over the coming months speaking with really interesting people!

Jonathan grew up in Enderby, a village just on the southwestern outskirts of Leicester City. The librarian in Enderby fortunately had an eye for American authors like Maurice Sendak, P.D. Eastman, and Dr. Seuss, all of whom were a big influence on Jonathan as a child. His parents encouraged him not just to read, but to play with real tools, building and designing things from a young age. As he trained to become an architect, he learned that Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs were really useful in designing pop-up books, something he still does today.

This interview gives a glimpse into an interesting career, with sound advice for prospective authors and fun reflections on the importance of allowing just the slightest bit of danger into childhood.

You can learn more about Jonathan Emmett and the books he’s written at jonathanemmett.com. Follow him on Twitter at JonathanEmmett, Facebook at JonathanEmmettAuthor, and Instagram at jonathanemmett. He also has a YouTube channel and a Pinterest page.

Activity: Make A Pop-Up!

Jonathan Emmett doesn’t just write books — he designs them! His background as an architect helps him come up with clever designs for books that pop up into three dimensional pictures. Check out his page on how to make your own pop-up pages.