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  • Writer's pictureMary Boone

Six Questions with Gabriele Davis

Gabriele Davis enjoys creating works that inspire children to laugh, love, discover their inner strength, and feel seen. She is the author of Peaches (Abrams, May 2024) and Our Joyful Noise (Atheneum, October 2024). Gabriele holds an MA in magazine journalism from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and has worked as a children's magazine editor and freelance writer. She is a member of 12x12, KidLit in Color, and SCBWI, a 2019 Kidlit Nation Mentee, a 2020 PBParty finalist, and a PBParty judge. She lives in the Northwest Hills of Connecticut, where she tutors, teaches yoga, bikes, bakes, and writes. Visit Gabriele’s website to learn more about her and her work.

 IG: @iamgabrieled

1. When did you first realize you wanted to write for young readers?

 I knew I wanted to be a writer at age nine, but I imagined I’d work for a New York City-based magazine or something along those lines. It wasn’t until job-hunting after graduate school that an editorial position at Weekly Reader caught my eye. This could be fun, I thought. It was. I was assigned to a new, glossy kids magazine that they were launching. I loved it, and I’ve been writing for young readers ever since.


2. To what extent is your writing inspired by your own experience, or by

watching your children’s experiences?

 Almost everything I’ve written has been inspired by personal experience: something I’ve lived, observed, or loved. I write whimsical stories, too, but I find that the personal stories flow more easily. 


3. Where did you get the idea for Peaches? What was your inspiration?

 Peaches was inspired by my father’s love of peach cobbler, a love he passed down to his children. He grew up on his family’s large Virginia farm, a land rich with crops, livestock, and rows and rows of fruit trees. Peaches were his favorite. When he and a few siblings migrated north, an aunt held tight to treasured recipes, and for years she baked peach cobbler (and other family favorites) for celebrations and important family functions. I wanted to capture the joy of this family food tradition. 


4. What was the process or timeline for this book, from idea to publishing??

 Peaches has a loooong history. I wrote the first draft in 1993 and sold it a couple years later. Unfortunately, publication was cancelled, and my rights reverted. I continued to submit the story on and off over the years, coming close a couple more times. But it was Renée LaTuplippe’s Lyrical Language Lab that made the difference. During her course, I rewrote Peaches in a lyrical format, trimming 600 words in the process. The new version earned me a finalist spot in PBParty, an agent offer, and then a sale. The full-circle ending is that the acquiring imprint was started by the very editor who had acquired the story all those years ago. 


5. If you read Peaches to a room filled with kids, what message would you want them to leave with?

 I hope that kids would take away one of more of the following messages: that family traditions create strong bonds and can be both comforting and joyful; that staying calm in difficult times can help us see them through; and that the people we love live on in us.


6. What are you working on? What’s next for you?

 My second picture book, Our Joyful Noise, comes out in October. It, too, was inspired by my dad. I was reading a novel in verse when a single line evoked the memory of my dad singing spirituals to me and my brothers when were very young. Our Joyful Noise honors and celebrates that memory.   


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