Welcome Lounges AMA AMA with Naseem Hrab

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
      Moderator
      Post count: 9

      Ask Me Anything

      with Naseem Hrab

      thin air winnipeg international writers festival international ecrivains logo

      Naseem Hrab is a writer and storyteller. She is the author of Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend, Ira Crumb Feels the Feelings, and Weekend Dad. Her comedy writing has appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Rumpus. Naseem worked as a librarian for a time and now works in children’s publishing. She lives in Toronto.

    • Marie T.Marie T.
      Participant
      Post count: 17

      Hi Naseem! What’s your favourite part about writing kids books?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Hi Mary! Thank you so much for your question. I think that my favourite part of writing children’s books is getting to make kids laugh. In Beforetimes, it was a lot of fun to do class visits and get to hear the laughter in real life! I also love that picture books are illustrated. It’s so much fun to see illustrator’s interpretation of your words! SO COOL! 😀

      • Marie T.Marie T.
        Participant
        Post count: 17

        Thanks for the wonderful response! You’re stories made me both laugh and cry, lots of emotions in there! I was also wondering how you tap into your inner child when writing these stories?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Oh wow! I’m so glad to hear that! That’s so heartening to hear! It’s really my only goal: to make folks laugh and/or cry. 😉 How do I tap into my inner child … Good question. One quotation that always resonates with me (and I’m sure many children’s authors) is this one from editor Ursula Nordstrom: “I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.” I feel like I remember so many moments from my childhood so vividly. I kind of see them like a movie in my brain, so I think that helps me a lot in terms of capturing those feelings. The hard part is putting them into words!

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab.
    • Faith BuchananFaith Buchanan
      Participant
      Post count: 11

      Hi Naseem! Thanks for being here. I saw your video on CTV the other morning – was it difficult to include your own experiences in this story, or was it cathartic in come way?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Hi Faith, Thank you so much for your great question and thank you for watching the CTV segment! I think it’s a little of both: It was difficult and cathartic. On the one hand, you’re kind of reliving a few of the more painful moments of your life. But, on the other hand, there’s something about distilling the experience down into so few words that kinda gets you to hit on the heart of what was maybe most painful in the experience. By retelling it and working on a bunch of drafts, it kind of feels like waves going over a piece of glass … Eventually, the sharp edges get a bit more smooth. 🙂

      • Faith BuchananFaith Buchanan
        Participant
        Post count: 11

        Thanks! Did you work directly with your illustrator to create what we see today? Or do you let them do their thing?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Typically, for most picture books, the author and the illustrator don’t communicate with each other. The editor and the book designer at the publishing house act as the intermediaries between the author and the illustrator. As the author, I get to provide some feedback and, obviously, the publisher wants me to be happy with the illustrations, but the vision for the illustrations rests firmly with the illustrator. (The same way the vision for the words is mine, with a ton of help from my editor.) For Weekend Dad, I didn’t “meet” Frank Viva until we had a book launch on Zoom after the book was released. 🙂

    • Karen San FilippoKaren San Filippo
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      Hi Naseem, Have you read this story to groups of children yet? If so, how have they responded? Did any stand out particularly?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Hi Karen! Thank you so much for asking this question. I haven’t read it in front of groups of children yet and, to be honest, it’s something I am a bit concerned about doing. Depending on the age of the group, I may have to explain/introduce divorce to them. Yikes! Am I the person to do that? This book feels like a quiet book to me. One that might be better suited to a reading by a parent or trusted teacher with a child. I did read it to one of my nephew’s (5 years old at the time) and he got very angry about the fact that divorce exists! I hope he came away feeling a bit more empathetic towards his friends who may be experiencing it, but I’m not sure!

    • Marie T.Marie T.
      Participant
      Post count: 17

      When did you first decide you wanted to write kids books and how did you get into it?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Thank you for this question, Mary! I’ve always, always, always loved writing … even before I knew how to write words. Lol. As a child, I would use up so much paper just drawing squiggles that I thought was cursive writing! Hahaha. In grades 4 and 5, I had two AMAZING teachers who REALLY supported my writing. They were always excited about my stories and would even read some of them to our class. I’m still in touch with those teachers today! Then I stopped writing for many, many, many years, but I’d always talk about wanting to be a writer … Whether it was a poet, a screen writer, or a journalist. I think I loved reading and writing the most in grades 4 and 5, so I wonder if that’s why writing for children ended up being THE DREAM. In terms of how I got into it, I ended up studying to become a librarian and working at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Then I got a job at Kids Can Press. And then I took years of improv classes that helped me finally learn how to write stories. And then I started a writing group with some of my colleagues. And I FINALLY started writing AND finishing drafts of stories because of that group. And the rest is history! 🙂

    • Faith BuchananFaith Buchanan
      Participant
      Post count: 11

      Who is your favourite kids author right now?

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        Oh gosh. So many! 😀 I love Mo Willems. I think he’s a genius! I just bought Things That Go Away by Beatrice Alemagna. It’s such a beautiful book. I love Kyo Maclear, Rowboat Watkins (Rude Cakes!) and Carey Sookocheff. I also just got a copy of Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago. Super cute! TOO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM! 😀

    • Faith BuchananFaith Buchanan
      Participant
      Post count: 11

      I’ll check these out. Thanks so much!

      • Naseem HrabNaseem Hrab
        Moderator
        Post count: 9

        I hope you like them! 🙂

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • The topic ‘AMA with Naseem Hrab’ is closed to new replies.