As a fellow bird and chicken-lover, the pleasure of interviewing Children’s Author, Leslie Helakoski is one of excitement and honor. She creates timeless works of humorous fiction, touching hearts and generations with smiles…everywhere.
Michelle — What is your favorite type of chicken?
Leslie — Big ones, of course!
Michelle — What inspired you to write these chicken books? What inspired previous books?
Leslie — These chicken books are all autobiographical–I’m a recovering chicken, myself, so I found writing about fear very natural. The first book, Big Chickens, is about making things worse with our fear. The second book, Big Chickens Fly the Coop, is about running back to safety instead of pursuing your dream and the third one, Big Chickens Go to Town, is about the fear of the unknown. In all cases, I want chickens everywhere to know that the answers are not outside themselves. Hopefully, the books show that in a fun way. I love playing with words and being silly with language and chickens are a fun vehicle.
From another part of the barn came Woolbur, the story of a free thinking sheep. This award winner was inspired by working with the kind of kid who makes working with kids hard.
Michelle — In writing, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Leslie — If the book is the egg that was hatched, that means the chicken came first, which was me. In writing, the idea of ‘chicken chickens’ is what came to me first. That is the title I wanted but it had been used years ago and we didn’t want to have any confusion with that book. For me, visuals have to come along with an idea. That is what makes me want to tell the tale that I see in my head. I like to paint also, perhaps that is why I focus on visuals so much but picture books require fun images and that in turn inspires me to write.
My newest book, Fair Cow, will be released in August 2010 and will be the first book that I have both written and illustrated. Now, what other barn animals haven’t I addressed?
Thank you Leslie for the opportunity to feature your books on my blog and for your lovely contributions to beautiful, humorous, and timeless, quality children’s literature.
If you are interested in finding out more about Leslie’s latest books or for more information, her website link follows: