Author Q&A: Open Book with Grace Lin

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Snow has already arrived in the Berkshires, and for the county's youngest readers, flakes falling from the sky may still feel like a new phenomenon. Parents who seek an entertaining, if not exactly scientifically accurate, explanation for the fluffy stuff may want to turn to Grace Lin's "A Big Bed for Little Snow" (Little, Brown and Company). A companion to the Caldecott Honor Book "A Big Mooncake for Little Star," the author/illustrator's latest picture book describes how a little boy's bed-jumping habit leads to some winter weather.

"The story is clever but simple, without the extra layers of cultural and natural complexity that made Lin's previous book so exceptional. Lin's gouache illustrations are an echo of that book as well," a Kirkus review states.

Lin has earned accolades for works that reach a variety of different readers. Her illustrated novels "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" and "When the Sea Turned to Silver" were a Newbery Honor Book and National Book Award finalist, respectively.

The Pioneer Valley resident has long been interested in increasing diversity in children's literature. Her works prominently feature characters of color; a half-Asian, half-black boy served as the inspiration for Little Snow in "A Big Bed."

On Saturday, Nov. 30, Lin will lead a "Storytime" event at The Mount, the estate of Edith Wharton in Lenox, Mass. It will begins at 2 p.m. and will be included in the cost of admission. In advance of the reading, Lin answered some questions about her favorite books by email.

Q What was your favorite picture book as a child?

A I loved many books, but the one I remember [is] Virginia Lee Burton's "The Little House." When I was a child, my parents bought me a copy with a floppy record. I listened to it so much it got warped. When I read the book aloud to my daughter, I imitated that distortion because I still have that warped record sound in my head.

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Q What was your first favorite novel?

A I think this would be "The Search for Delicious" by Natalie Babbitt. I remember one of my teachers reading it out loud in class and, after she finished it, going to the library and taking it out so I could read it again.

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Q What are some of your favorite picture books that have been published recently?

A I really love "Alma and How She Got Her Name," I love Juana Martinez-Neal's artwork. It's so tactile and delicate. Another of my favorites is "What If ... " by Samantha Berger and Mike Curato. My daughter and I also really enjoy the books by Stacy McAnulty about the universe — "Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years," "Sun! One in a Billion" and "Moon! Earth's Best Friend."

Q What is your favorite book about art?

A I love "Linnea in Monet's Garden" by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson. When I traveled to France, I went to Monet's garden and brought the book with me.

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Q What books are on your nightstand?

A I just received an advanced reading copy of Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds' "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" and I am eager to read it. I'm ashamed to say that Ibram X. Kendi's "Stamped from the Beginning" has been on my nightstand for quite a while, but I never got around to it as it seemed so daunting. This YA version is perfect for me!

Benjamin Cassidy can be reached


at @bybencassidy on Twitter

and 413-496-6251.


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