Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Tara Lazar back to the blog for a #Thankful4PBs Q&A about 7 Ate 9!

Tell us a bit about 7 Ate 9:

7 ATE 9: THE UNTOLD STORY is the tale behind the joke “Why is 6 afraid of 7?” I imagined a panic-stricken 6 running to a Private “I” because he fears his days are numbered. The story just took off from there.

Tell us three things Private “I” is grateful for, and why?

The protagonist Private “I” is grateful for a delicious slice of pi, the helpful residents of “Capital” City and his keen eye for spotting clues.

As the author, what picture book(s) are you thankful for?

Honestly, I am grateful for all of them. Each one is special to a child. Each one is some kid’s most favorite book in the whole world. I am thankful that there is such a wide selection of books for every kind of kid—with even more to come now that we are focused on diversity in literature.

Please share one person that’s made a big impact on your picture book career.

Author-illustrator Trinka Hakes Noble is my neighbor—one town over—and she is the first picture book creator who took me seriously when I shared my goal to become an author. (Well, as seriously as someone known as “the crying woman” can be taken.) The first time we met, I was listening to Trinka talk about her gorgeous book THE ORANGE SHOES, which is based on her childhood growing up in rural Michigan. I was in the audience tearing up over the heartwarming tale and I was still emotional when I asked her to sign the book. When I wrote her an email the next day, I used the subject line: “The Crying Woman.” Luckily she responded and we have been friends ever since.

What are you hopeful for (or looking forward to) in 2018?

I am looking forward to visiting children at schools across America in 2018. I hope to share my love of books and inspire a new generation of readers and writers. And of course, I hope to create many more stories. It’s exciting to imagine what characters will pop out of my wacky mind next!

Thank you, Tara!

Street magic performer. Hog-calling champion. Award-winning ice sculptor. These are all things Tara Lazar has never been. Instead, she writes quirky, humorous picture books featuring characters both kids and adults will love. Her newest titles are 7 ATE 9: THE UNTOLD STORY and WAY PAST BEDTIME. Tara is the founder of the writing challenge STORYSTORM, a member of the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature and a WNDB mentor. She lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters, and Ace the hamster (as seen on Twitter and Instagram’s #thedailyhamster).

Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini

"A surprising gem." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chicken Wants a Nap is available at Amazon, Barnes & NobleTarget and your favorite independent bookstore!

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