Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Matthew Winner Gives Inspired Enlightenment - Plus a Winner!

Matthew Winner has one of the greatest book podcasts of our time. In the "Let's Get Busy Podcast" Matthew interviews many of the great Picture Book Writer's and Illustrators of our time. He also not afraid to talk about important issues facing all of us in this show. Matthew also works as an elementary library media specialist and has kids of his own. Who better to to give us insight into picture books? I hope you will enjoy this interview!


Why are Picture Books important to you?

Picture books are a child's first experience with art. And our very earliest experiences with picture books are formative in myriad ways. Sitting on your parent's lap, you experience a closeness to both the art of the story before you, but also to the physical presence of the person with whom you're sharing the book. As the text is read aloud, you begin to understand that pictures can tell a story, and can reveal new, sometimes surprising things. You relate the turn of the pages to the sequence of storytelling, following the illustrations in a progression that forms a story.You also experience development across a number of senses as you comprehend that the story is made up of a combination of what you're seeing through the illustrations along with the words the reader is sharing with you as he or she turns each page.

Picture books are important to me because they represent this step in our development as storytellers and as consumers of information. They are our window into the world and, in many cases, our only opportunity to experience certain locales, situations, or personalities. And the more we're exposed to picture books at an early age, the more we're ready to experience all the world has to offer up.

What makes you pick up a book?

I judge books by their covers. A striking cover and an appealing (and sometimes concise) title are enough to get me to pick the book up. The mystery really comes when asked what makes me pick up a book a second or third or fifteenth time. That's a little harder to pin down, but a book with that kind of magic often has a cover that makes me what to return to it over and over.

Is there anything that your interviewees all seem to have in common?

If there's one thing that the visitors to the Let's Get Busy podcast have in common, it's that at some point in their lives they all became readers. Some of them were avid readers as children. Some of them didn't fall in love with reading until much later in life. But all of them read. A lot.

Reading also helps you build a barometer for what works in a story in terms of flow, vocabulary, structure, and concept. It's a great way to study what sells in picture books, but also what books appeal to kids.

What's your favorite part about podcasting?

My favorite part about hosting the Let's Get Busy podcast is having the opportunity to tell authors and illustrators exactly how I feel about their books. In some ways, it's as if I get to booktalk the books back to their creators and that, in turn, allows me to communicate the exact qualities that I think work so well in a given picture book, middle grade, or graphic novel. And I hope that through sharing and talking openly in admiration of these talented writers and illustrators, others will be encouraged to share our their favorite books as well.

Is there a book (or type of book) you love to read most of all?

I love reading graphic novels. Outside of picture books, graphic novels are probably what takes up the most space on my bookshelves. But I am definitely a sucker for a great read aloud. Anything begging to bring the drama and leave the listeners begging for an encore earns a ton of street cred in my book!

Matthew Winner is an elementary school library media specialist outside of Baltimore, MD. He is the author of the Busy Librarian blog and host of the Let's Get Busy podcast, a weekly kidlit podcast where Matthew talks with authors, illustrators, award winners, and up-and-comers. Follow Matthew on Twitter at @MatthewWinner and Like the Busy Librarian Facebook page.

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  1. Thank you for your insight, which is always current and practical! :)

  2. I love your answers and ideas related to books and art! Thank you! I will check out the podcast soon!

  3. Thank you again for coming on my blog Matthew. I so love listening to the podcasts you do. You have such a great enthusiasm for Children's Books. I can't wait to see your books on the shelves. They are going to be amazing!

  4. Thank you again for coming on my blog Matthew. I so love listening to the podcasts you do. You have such a great enthusiasm for Children's Books. I can't wait to see your books on the shelves. They are going to be amazing!

  5. Thank you for your great insight. Love the 'talk back' in the podcast form for help to the writer.

  6. Matthew, I am a fan of your podcast (it's my favorite) and I love your thoughts on picture books and the bond between a parent and child reading it together. Thanks for this interview and all you do!