What do children’s writers and illustrators read in their spare time? In this series of interviews with B.C. book folks, we discuss everything from guilty reading pleasures to the best literary villains. If you’d like to share some favourites of your own, please leave a comment!
What books are on your end table right now?
Right now, my end table holds The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
Who’s your favourite author/illustrator of all time?
Douglas Coupland is probably my favourite “author and illustrator” in one, though to clarify, it’s not so much his illustration as it is other forms of visual work (such as sculpture and moving images) that have impressed me the most. Like his promotional videos “The Gum Thief” (produced by Crush Inc.) and his giant toy army men sculptures which I had the opportunity to see in person at a local Vancouver art gallery.
Which is best: hardcover, softcover, or e-book?
I never thought I’d say it but I really do enjoy the e-reading experince on my Kobo ereader. It’s lighter than most books, there’s no page rustling (if you want to read quietly and not disturb others) and you can make highlights that are easy to navigate through for reference later. It’s still a bit slow for all tasks other than turning pages, and would benefit from a built-in or add-on light for better reading in low light, but otherwise it’s fabulous and I would recommend it for anyone. That said, for very young children, the board book format (as used in my Simply Small series) is still better than any e-reader. Bite and drool compatible!
Who’s your favourite literary villain?
My favourite literary villain is Cruella De Vil because of the song that describes her in the Disney movie, 101 Dalmatians. I love it! (She can be considered “literary” because Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, is the original book from which the movie was adapted.)
What series did you read growing up?
I started with a series by Dick Bruna called Miffy (also called “Nijntje” in Dutch, and as I’m Dutch we even had Dutch versions of the books too!). I also loved the Mr. Men series by Roger Hargreaves (which you can still find everywhere) and the Serendipity book series, wonderfully illustrated by Robin James (these are hard to find now). As I got a little older I loved the Little House on the Prairie series too.
To learn more about Paola and her work, please visit her website.