Photo: Martin Sundberg
So happy to feature children’s book author Robin Yardi in my “Short & Snappy” interview this week! Robin’s new picture book, They Just Know (Arbordale 2015), brings to life the wonders of animal instincts: baby turtles who cross oceans without a map, tadpoles who burst into song without being conducted, and butterflies who try their wings solo. For hands-on learning, turn to the back of the book! There’s an activity guide where kids can explore the differences between instinctive & learned behaviors.
Besides being a fantastic writer, Robin is a rockstar mom too! See for yourself…
CSM: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE A PICTURE BOOK ABOUT ANIMAL INSTINCTS?
RY: I had a wonderful intergenerational conversation with my daughter and grandmother about butterflies. They were both blown away when I told them butterflies never meet their mothers and I was blown away that they didn’t know. Clearly it was time to write a picture book!
CSM: HOW MUCH OF YOUR WRITING COMES FROM THE HEART? HOW MUCH OF IT COMES FROM THE HEAD?
RY: When I’m doing it right 100% of my writing comes from the heart (or my totally goofball funny bone) and about 50% of my revision comes from my head, but I’m hardly ever doing it right!
CSM: HOW DOES YOUR PARENTING INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING? HOW DOES YOUR WRITING INFORM YOUR PARENTING?
RY: I think my parenting style is respectful and full of humor. I’m trying to raise independent, capable children who know their minds, the world, and what makes them happy. I want to do the same when I write for other people’s kids. And, of course, I read to my children a LOT.
CSM: TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEXT BOOK, WHICH I KNOW IS AN EARLY MIDDLE GRADE BOOK.
RY: The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez (CarolRhoda 2016) is about a boy who wakes up in the middle of the night to see two skunks, yes skunks, stealing his little sister’s trike. It’s about his quest to get that trike back, about new best friends, about being a big brother, but also about growing up and letting go.
CSM: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WRITING IN THOSE TWO GENRES?
RY: There really are too many differences to detail: word count, themes, pacing, visual elements, narration style… that’s just the beginning!
Mastering both forms is an adventure and an absolute challenge. Every manuscript comes with its own difficulties. But I love the daily puzzle that writing is and I love moving toward mastery.
Robin Yardi is a children's author, museum naturalist, and elementary teacher. She loves good stories, animals of all sorts, homemade cakes, and kids. Visit her online at www.robinyardi.com