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Chatting with Lynne Rae Perkins

by Kayla Aldrich, Read to Them staff

Hello, all, and happy Wednesday! Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to chat with the author of Nuts to You, Lynne Rae Perkins. It's always a treat to talk with our authors, and we hope you enjoy delving into Perkins' words and wisdom as much as we did. Enjoy!


How did you find your way to becoming a writer?

I studied art in college and in graduate school. I loved to draw, and still do! I always thought I might like to illustrate books. A friend arranged for me to show my drawings to the art director of a children's book publishing company. I had a few months to prepare, and I made up a little story, just for the sake of having something to draw. The art director liked my drawings, and the publisher published the little story I had written. It was my first book! That was the first time I ever thought, Hmm, maybe I could actually be a writer.

Where did you draw inspiration from when writing this story?

I know this story seems to be about squirrels, and it is, but it's also about personalities, and friendship. I liked getting to know my squirrels, and imagining how the different characters might respond to different situations. I also liked imagining how the world might seem to a squirrel. I take long walks in the woods almost every day with our dog, Hazel, so I get to notice lots of nature-y things.

What have been your favorite reactions from readers about your books?

I sometimes hear from people who are in their twenties, who read my books when they were younger, and who still love them. I think that might be my favorite. But one of my favorite Nuts to You experiences was when a whole gymnasium of students stood up and then collapsed to the floor all at once, like the squirrels who played the game "Be loik wooter!"

What is something you hope families get out of reading Nuts to You with Read to Them?

Mostly, I hope they have fun. When the book first came out, we did a reading where we read the entire book aloud in one evening, with a different person reading each chapter. It's a fun book to read aloud, and there were some amazing readers! But I think there is also plenty to talk about, whether it's the different personalities, or how we need to make sure there is enough nature for everyone. And talking with each other is always a good thing.

What advice do you have for young readers and writers?

Let's see . . . for young readers, I would say, find the stories that speak to you and then find more of them. But also, every now and then, read something outside of your usual path. You might be surprised.

And for young writers, know that the best way to be a writer is to be a reader. Also, notice people in your life who are good storytellers, who tell about things that happen to them in a funny or interesting way. You can learn a lot from that!

Kate DiCamillo has said that reading stories together takes readers "to a third place". What does that mean to you?

What a lovely way of putting it! I have always heard that phrase used to refer to a place that isn't your home, and isn't work or school. Usually, it's a place where you get together with people just to be with them. So I guess that's what it is in this instance, only maybe the place isn't a physical place, but a place where our imaginations hang out together.

Be sure to share photos with us of you and your family during the reading event on Facebook, Instagram, andTwitter. Looking for a community to talk about all things Nuts to You? Don’t forget to join Flipgrid to share your thoughts with your peers. Be well, all, and happy reading!

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