Jim Aylesworth interview with David Alan Binder

posted Feb 27, 2016, 8:58 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated May 16, 2016, 6:30 AM ]

Jim Aylesworth interview with David Alan Binder


His bio from his website:  Picture book author Jim Aylesworth tells his stories with generous doses of loud sounds, rhythms and rhymes. His experiences as a teacher have taught him that these are the elements children like in a story, especially when it is being read aloud. So, in Hanna's Hog, Aylesworth includes a loud hog call, in The Completed Hickory Dickory Dock, he offers numerous bouncy nonsensical rhymes, in Country Crossing, the sounds of the still countryside and a train passing fill the night, and in Old Black Fly, a repetitious, rhythmic chant follows a pesky fly in its journey through a house.  Little Bitty Mousie is another alphabetical romp through a household as Mousie explores the house.

Winner of the 2015 Sydney Taylor Award

Barbara McClintock and Jim Aylesworth have collaborated on several folk stories including their latest title My Grandfather's Coat. In 2015 Jim and Donna Aylesworth went to Silver Springs MD where they were guests at the American Jewish Libraries Conference. During that conference McClintock and Aylesworth were presented with the Sydney Taylor Award in the Younger Readers books.


Web site:               www.ayles.com


Amazon:               http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Aylesworth/e/B001ILKH3K


Good Reads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/57068.Jim_Aylesworth



1.     How do you pronounce your name?

The Ayle part of our name is pronounced Ale as in ginger ale.


2.     Where are you currently living?

 I live in Chicago, IL.


3.     When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

 I first aspired to become a writer when I began using books with my first class of first graders. That was a long time ago 1970. My first book was published in 1980. 


4.     How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It takes at least a year to get a book into print.


5.     What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I don’t really have a writing schedule, and these days it’s harder than ever to come up with a good idea.


6.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

When I’m working on a book, I’ll often pause and read it aloud pretending to read it as I did in my teaching days, but with no children present.


7.     Did you self publish or have a publisher?

I have 6 or 7 publishers. Scholastic is the most prominent, I’d say. 


8.     How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I still haven’t sorted my mind out completely on this matter, but I favor illustrated books with pages that turn in the old fashioned way. 


9.     What process did you go through to get your book published?

Most often and for most of my books, I sent the mass unsolicited via the USPS [United States Postal Service] the old fashioned way 


10.                        Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

If I knew the answer to this question, I would go to that place every day. The human brain is complicated. I don’t know where good ideas come from exactly, but knowing children (my readers) is helpful


11.                        When did you write your first book and how old were you?

My first book, Hush Up! was published in 1980. It was illustrated by Glen Rounds.


12.                        What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Lately, I’ve been looking at a lot of art. I favor abstract and minimalist art. And we like to travel. We just returned for a three week tour of Colombia.


13.                        What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

My books were written for children, but I have learned that everyone else likes them just as much.


14.                        How many books have you written? 

I have published 35 books and written many more than that number.   


15.                        Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?

I always advise aspiring writers of books for children to know children and read aloud to them as often as possible.


16.                        Do you hear from your readers much?

I’m often invited to school and libraries, and I get lots of wonderful feedback for the hundreds of children I meet.         


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