Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview with Bobi Martin

Bobi Martin is a writer and editor of many published books. She has written many feature pieces, celebrity interviews and children's book reviews. She is a librarian of a large elementary school, Teacher at the Institute of Children's Literature, and finishing her degree to earn her TESL/TESOL certification (Teaching English as a Second Language). Bobi loves travelling and has travelled to many destinations across the US along with several countries including Canada, Mexico and Japan. You can visit Bobi's website here:

Dani: How does being a librarian affect your writing?

Bobi: Working with kids on a daily basis is golden! I get to see what nonfiction topics are piquing their interest, and what kinds of stories are most popular. I hear how kids at different ages speak to each other, what kinds of issues concern them, and I see what really hasn't changed since I was young. It's like having research come to me.

Dani: What's it like working for the Institute of Children's Literature? 

Bobi: I've enjoyed teaching for ICL for some 15 years. Seeing how students do (or do not!) follow formatting directions gives me an idea of what slush piles look like and why a properly formatted manuscript stands out right away. It is hugely gratifying to help someone realize their dream of becoming a published author. My youngest student to sell a manuscript was 15 and the oldest was a woman in her 80s who won several awards for her first book.

Dani: Where do you get inspiration for your books? 

Bobi: Ideas are everywhere! When I'm asked for a book our library doesn't have and I can't find it elsewhere, I jot that topic down. Experiences from my childhood, or things my kids experienced are springboards for stories. Things in the news are inspiration too. I often wonder how the person not being talked about feels, or what one thing could have been changed that would have created a totally different outcome.

Dani: Why do you write Non Fiction?

Bobi: I think few people realize that kids really like nonfiction--even in kindergarten and first grade. And kids of all ages love to learn interesting facts their friends and family don't know. I like being able to take a topic and make it understandable to young readers. When I was writing a column on Junior Showmanship for DogWorld Magazine, I tried to make my topics clear enough for someone new to the sport to understand and yet interesting and relevant to experienced juniors as well. 

Dani: You travel a lot. Where is your favourite travel destination?

Bobi: I almost always want to go somewhere new, so my favorite destination is usually the next one on my wishlist. Right now Scotland and New Zealand are at the top of a very long list of places I want to see. But I'd love to get back to the Netherlands because it is a fascinating country.

Dani: What's the neatest thing you've learned in your travels?

Bobi: That no matter how different we seem, we all need the same very basic things: to be treated kindly, to have enough to eat and a safe place to sleep, to be able to make our own choices about what job we'll have, who we'll marry and how to live our lives. The most fun thing I learn is how to say 
"thank you." I can say it in nine languages now.

Dani: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 

Bobi: My dream come true would be to take an expedition with National Geographic because their guides and photographers could teach me so much more than I could learn on my own. And then I could share what I learned with my students and by writing about it to get other people interested in traveling. Closer to home, 
 I've been to all but six states 
 all on the east coast
, so 
I'd love to take a trip that would let me see each of those. 

Dani: I hear you have a new book coming out later this year, could you tell us a little bit about it? 

Bobi:My next book is about muscles. It's part of a series on the human body written to help younger readers have a basic understanding of how their body works.

Dani: Do you have any words of wisdom you'd like to share?

Bobi: Read, listen, question. Read widely in the area you want to write about, and read at least a little in some other areas too because you may discover a new interest. Listen to conversations around you and to what people are saying to you because you will get some of your best ideas this way. Question everything: How does the younger sister of the boy in the news (who just got arrested) feel? Where is that woman rushing off to and why does she look so excited? How will talking cars make us safer and could someone create mayhem by jamming their signals? 


  1. Great interview, Dani and Bobi! I love that you've traveled so much and learn from your travels. My son is a human body enthusiast, so your next book sounds right up his alley!

  2. I enjoyed reading all about Bobi Martin. I am impressed that you are earning a degree, Bobi, and acquiring new knowledge to instruct English Language Learners [ELLs]. Reading, writing and creating with my ELLs over the years was so rewarding [I currently teach preschool]. Many students from throughout the world walked through my classroom door from: Sweden, Germany, Thailand, Cambodia, Mexico, Guatemala, China, Russia, Korea, and Japan. We all learned so much from each other.