LEGENDS OF LOTUS ISLAND: The Guardian Test Written by Christina Soontornvat Illustrated by Kevin…
Amanda Davis Interviews Tiffany Golden, Author of I Want To Be Big!
AMANDA DAVIS INTERVIEWS TIFFANY GOLDEN,
I WANT TO BE BIG!
ILLUSTRATED BY SAWYER CLOUD
(PAGE STREET KIDS; $18.99, AGES 4-8)
Amanda’s Review of I WANT TO BE BIG:
“I WANT TO BE BIG is an imaginative and creative read about the desire to grow up and how it may not always be as exciting as it seems. Golden’s text is playful and fun, while the repetition of “big” throughout is sure to be a hit for multiple read-alouds. Cloud’s illustrations are emotive and help bring the themes of familial love to life!”
Amanda Davis: Let’s start with a speed round…
- Top three favorite children’s books of all time? Aw, c’mon. That’s like asking who’s your favorite kid. Of all time?! I love THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson; my nephew and I even went to see the play at the Bay Area Children’s Theater in Berkeley, CA. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR by Eric Carle, classic. My niece and I always read that one. Also, WHEN SADNESS COMES TO CALL by Eva Eland. My aunt sent that one to me after my sister’s passing.
- Coffee, tea (or neither)? Decaf tea lattes for the win!
- Where is your safe place? Always the ocean.
- Dogs, cats, (or neither)? I’m allergic to most of our furry friends, but human babies and toddlers are amazing.
- Early bird or night owl? Night owl from day one.
- Three words to describe what it takes to make it in the kidlit world … Love and observation.
Okay, now down to the serious stuff….
AD: Did you always know you wanted to be an author/illustrator? Have you explored other paths or had/have other jobs?
Tiffany Golden: Even though I didn’t illustrate I WANT TO BE BIG! Sawyer Cloud did an amazing job, I always knew I wanted to write. I wanted to create the stories I wanted to see and knew that I had to be a writer to do that. I thought I’d be a screenwriter, though. My undergraduate degree is in film and television. For steady work, I became a Teaching Artist (which is exactly what it sounds like—an artist teaching their craft), and then my love for creating with and for children blossomed. I then wanted to make stories for families to share together.
I think I was afraid to admit I wanted to be an author/illustrator. I thought doing “art-adjacent” stuff like graphic design would be enough, coupled with writing. But, when I was really honest with myself, I wanted to be an author/illustrator. I decided to learn to draw in my mid-forties. It’s so fun and challenging to learn a whole new skill. I most likely won’t illustrate every one of my books, but it will be special when I do. Similar to when illustrators tackle writing.
AD: What inspires your work?
TG: My work is mostly inspired by the people I love, especially my late sister, Nicole. I’ve found that one way for me to honor someone is to put their legacy on the page somehow. It can be as simple as a name, a characteristic, or a life viewpoint. I’m surrounded by a wonderful family, each with unique perspectives and mannerisms.
I’m also inspired by my culture. There are so many unique experiences within Black culture, there’s always something to write about, amplify, and celebrate. It is truly a gift.
AD: What advice do you have for fellow kidlit creatives?
TG: Create community. Kidlit is a welcoming and warm world. Make sure you get to know other creators in it. I’ve made so many meaningful connections in critique groups, workshops, book release groups, and many more! Grow your network with wonderful creatives!
TG: Thank you for interviewing me, Amanda, and thanks for hosting us, Ronna! Thanks to all those for reading and supporting my work!
BUY I WANT TO BE BIG!:
Bookshop to support local bookstores
Amazon for all other purchases
Click here for an activity guide.
TIFFANY GOLDEN writes picture books, middle-grade, and YA fiction, mostly inspired by her experiences as a Black, disabled woman. She is also the winner of Lee and Low’s New Visions Award for 2021. She teaches creative writing to third-to-fifth grade students, is a member of SCWBI, and received the Judith Tannenbaum Teaching Artist Fellowship.
Find out more at www.tiffanygolden.comon Twitter @mstee13 and Instagram @tiffany.golden.13
Amanda Davis is a teacher, artist, writer, and innovator who uses her words and pictures to light up the world with kindness. Amanda is the author of MOONLIGHT MEMORIES, 30,000 STITCHES: THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE NATIONAL 9/11 FLAG, and a yet-to-be-announced forthcoming title. She also has poetry and illustrations featured in The Writers’ Loft Anthology: Friends & Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children. When she’s not busy creating, you can find her sipping tea, petting dogs, and exploring the natural wonders of The Bay State with her family and her rescue pup, Cora. You can learn more about Amanda at www.amandadavisart.com and on Twitter @amandadavisart and Instagram @amandadavis_art.
Bookshop (for ordering)