Shanda (rhymes with panda) McCloskey comes from a whole family of different kinds of artists and entrepreneurs! She studied art in Atlanta and New York City. But before writing and illustrating kids books, she taught art to high-schoolers. Shanda now lives in Ball Ground, Georgia, with her husband, daughters, and dog. She is also co-creator of the Author Visit Podcast and Author Visit Central. Shanda’s award-winning STEM-friendly picture books (DOLL-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone) have taken her to wonderful people and places! Shanda illustrated Little Red and the Big Bad Editor a new picture book by Rebecca Kraft Rector (Aladdin). She invites you to visit her at https://www.shandamc.com/ .
1. How do you know your idea will make a good book?
This is a tough one, but it just comes down to a gut feeling or just wanting to work on it. If I'm still pumped about an idea months/years later, chances are others will dig it too!
2. What’s the best piece of advice a mentor has given you?
A teacher I had in at SVA continuing education (Monica Wellington), told me to create my own illustration work by writing my own stories. THAT single piece of advice got me my agent and my first book deal :)
I also love the mantra: "Heroically show up, but don't try to be a hero each time you show up." -Khe Hy
3. What was your favorite book when you were a child? Why?
I LOVED The Witches (by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake) because the entire book was a delight to my senses and it made fun of grownups the entire way through.
4. If you could tell readers one secret about your newest book, Little Red and the Big Bad Editor, what would it be?
My daughter wrote the letter in her own handwriting, and some of her artwork is displayed on granny's fridge.
5. Who should read this book?
This book is ideal for first and second graders and their teachers, although younger and older kids will love it too! This book demonstrates how to write (and format) a thank you letter.
6. If you read Little Red and the Big Bad Editor to a room filled with kids, what message would you want them to leave with?
If you want to say thank you to someone, do it! It can be a letter or just you saying it aloud to them. I promise it will make their day, fill your bucket, and make the world that much sweeter!