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Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Wendy Wan-Long Shang is a middle-grade author who focuses on the many experiences of Chinese-Americans. Her books include The Great Wall of Lucy Wu and The Way Home Looks Now, stories with humor, heart, and a sense of history. She hopes her books inspire young readers to find the powerful stories, both great and small, in their own families.

In this interview, Wendy talks about being the first Chinese-American kid in her school, the freedom she had as a young child in choosing books to read, why she likes to write about 10-12 year olds (“kids on the cusp”),  life-changing books for reluctant readers (including kids with dyslexia), co-writing This Is Just a Test with Madelyn Rosenberg, why we need diverse books, and much more.

Mo Willems

Caldecott-winner Mo Willems grew up in New Orleans. He spent much of his youth telling stories and drawing. Willems especially loved reading “Peanuts” comics and then sketching Snoopy and Charlie Brown himself. “I even wrote a letter to Charles Schulz,” Willems recalls, “saying that I wanted his job when he died.” During high school, Willems acted in plays and started doing standup routines at comedy clubs.