Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week’s Round Up is hosted by Check It Out blog. Be sure to click over and enjoy all of the poetic goodness being shared. This week, I’m so honored to bring you an interview with poet/author Heidi Bee Roemer. I began writing poetry after taking a class with Heidi, and she has been someone that I admire both personally and professionally ever since. She is as sweet as she is incredibly talented. Heidi has a new rhyming picture book, PeekityBoo- What You Can Do (Henry Holt, March 2019), coming soon to a bookstore near you, and today, she is sharing a little bit about this wonderful new work.
Hello, Heidi! Welcome to the blog and thank you for joining us for Poetry Friday!
1. How did you get the idea for your latest rhyming picture book, Peekity Boo- What You Can Do?
The idea for Peekity Boo! was sparked by two things. One was sweet memories of my two little boys (long since grown) splashing in the tub, snuggling up with a book, and kissing them goodnight. The second was musing how fun it would be to experience those moments with grandchildren someday. Babies are so precious! After all, "There are ears to nuzzle. Towel to snuggle. Belly to tickle. Toesies to wiggle!"
2. What was the writing process like for this book? Did it come together quickly, or were there lots of revisions? Did it find a home right away, or did that take some time?
It was all rather miraculous. Once I stumbled upon the lovely word pattern, the story came easily, the sale was quick, and revisions were minor. I submitted the manuscript to my former editor at Henry Holt. Christy Ottaviano is the wonderful editor who snatched another manuscript of mine from the slush pile a few years ago and published my debut book in 2004, Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems.
3. This book has lots of fun language. What’s your favorite line? Any particular reason for that choice?
Blippity Blub! I'm glad you asked that question, Kim! My favorite line is "Buggity boo! Now what do we do?" which is paired with an illustration of a toddler looking crestfallen as the bubbles in his bathtub disappear down the drain.
The reason? I love playful words and silly nonsense phrases. As a toddler myself, I went wild every time I heard a song called "The Hawaiian War Chant." The lyrics were, "Whicky whicky WHACK! Whicky whacky WOO! Bugbug BOOO hoo! BOOO hoo!" My mother said she couldn't believe my reaction when she played that old 45. I would roll and flop around on the floor in a hysterical heap of giggles and wiggles. When the song ended, I begged her to play it again. And again. Until I was happily exhausted. I liked that song apparently.
4. Tell us about the illustrations. Did you include any illustration notes with the manuscript? Was there any collaboration with the illustrator, Mike Wohnoutka?
I didn't feel the need to include illustrator's notes and had no collaboration with my illustrator. Mike instinctively knew just how to capture the characters with simplicity and sweetness. His illustrations bring this little boy and his family to life with a glowing warmth and coziness. The endpapers feature smiling teddybears, bunnies, ducks and whales. Mike's artwork is delightful!
5. Who is your audience for this book? Where can we pre-order our copies?
Peekity Boo What YOU Can Do!is geared for wigglers, droolers, pint-size poopers, toddlers, crawlers and chewers and all readers ages 5 to 105. Available March 19, it can be pre-ordered through Anderson's Bookshops (https://www.andersonsbookshop.com/shop), IndieBound.org., Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
6. Do you have some other books in the pipeline? What’s on the horizon for you?
Ah! I'm expecting again! New books, that is. Two board books Who Says Uh Oh? and Who Says Peekaboo? will be published this fall. Hide-and-Seek at the Construction Site: A Lift the Flap Book is a companion book to Hide-and-Seek on the Farm (2018). Lastly, The ABC's of Kindness will be available in 2020. All are published by Highlights Press.
From the moment Heidi hatched from her chrysalis, she was an itty bitty bookworm who devoured books. Heidi fell in love with children's books for a second time when she began reading to her two little boys. In 1992, Heidi sprouted her wings, joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, plugged in her shiny new word processor and began writing for children in earnest. She has since sold over 400 children's poems and stories to dozens of children's magazines and anthologies and has several picture books to her credit including Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems, What Kinds of Seeds are These? and Whose Nest is This?. She is a former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature and a writer-in-residence for Chicago Public schools. "Heidi Bee" has given hundreds of presentations at schools, libraries and other literary venues. For more information, visit www.heidibroemer.com.