Join us in our conversation with Stephanie Ledyard about the sweet inspiration behind Pie is for Sharing.
What was your inspiration for writing Pie is for Sharing?
The original spark was literally pie and sharing. My older daughter, Megan, turns out to be seriously greedy with sweets. Do not go near her dessert, or she might come after you! (We have several family stories involving her response to our eating her candy, leftover dessert, etc.) Anyway, we were kicking off a summer vacation in Minnesota with lunch at a little café, and Megan had this huge piece of pie. After she appeared to be finished, I was still hesitant to reach my fork toward the remnants. But I had the thought that “Pie is for sharing.” I might have even said that out loud. I confidently helped myself to a bit of the pie and then jotted down the statement in my notebook.
Once I started writing the text weeks later, the idea of the importance of (and joy in) sharing took over. Life really is better with the sharing of time, resources, food, friendship, kindness, and love.
What has been the most rewarding part of writing this book? Have you been able to connect with children during your promotions?
The most rewarding part of writing this text has been seeing it brought to life with Jason Chin’s beautiful illustrations. I’ve had such fun seeing people’s response to the art as they read through the book for the first time.
As for children, so far they’ve really been delighted with the outdoor setting and all the things the kids in the story are doing. When I recently read this to a group of second graders, and I got to the page with “hideouts and treasures,” one boy proclaimed, “That’s a goood hideout.” The librarian took a photo while I was on that page, and these kids were actually smiling as they studied the illustration. There is just so much going on there for readers to enjoy, and that makes me happy.
My bookstore visits start June 16, and we’ll be making pie crafts and July Fourth crafts, and maybe even singing a song about sharing. I can’t wait to experience this book with other readers.
What connections did you make at VCFA may have helped add value to the process of writing and promoting this book?
My VCFA connections are everything.
Neal Porter, the book’s editor, first read this text at a picture book retreat I attended at The Writing Barn (owned by VCFA alum Bethany Hegedus and her husband) in Austin. Author Dianne White, a VCFA graduating classmate, had nudged me to attend the retreat with her.
Also, I have a group of wise and experienced friends from my time at VCFA, Dianne being one of them. We get together almost every year for writing and talking and fun. They have helped me persist in my writing and publishing journey. We help each other. I could have given up after prior rejections, or when I’ve gotten overwhelmed with parenting and a job, but largely because of their successes and stories and encouragement, I have kept writing and trying to share my words and stories in the wider world. We celebrate one another, too. At our most recent retreat, they surprised me with a pie party and a stash of supplies for my bookstore visits, including a picnic basket, July Fourth accessories, a Labrador Retriever puppet like the dog in the illustrations, and a stack of red hats to match a hat that a boy in the book is wearing. (We’re reclaiming the red hat—only, ours say PIE IS FOR SHARING.)
Also, I’ve made new VCFA contacts on social media with students and other graduates, and I enjoy celebrating those successes as I see them. All this inspires me and helps me keep going.
What do we have to look forward to after Pie is for Sharing?
My next picture book will come out Spring 2019 from Neal Porter Books/Holiday House. Home Is a Window is about all the things we leave behind when we have to move, and what really makes a home. Chris Sasaki created the art. It’s his debut picture book. And I can tell you, his illustrations are stunning.