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About the Author
Brenda Z. Guiberson has written many books for children, including Cactus Hotel, Spoonbill Swamp, Moon Bear and Disasters. As a child, Brenda never thought she wanted to be a writer—her dreams tended more toward jungle explorer. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English and Fine Art. She started thinking about writing for children when her son went to elementary school, and she volunteered in his class and in the school library. After taking exciting trips that involved a fifty-foot cactus, hungry alligators and sunset-colored spoonbills, she wanted to create books for children that would be like a field trip. Her books are full of well-researched detail, and Brenda sees this research as an adventure—one that allows her to be a jungle explorer at last. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
A Conversation With the Author
Where did you grow up? Mostly outdoors, along the Columbia River in eastern Washington, swimming or looking for artifacts, rocks and birds.
What is your earliest memory of writing/drawing? Most memories are of three-dimensional investigations, making forts, taking things apart, whittling, carving blocks of wood into sculpture.
What inspired you to write/illustrate your first book? The idea came from reading stacks and stacks of books to my son. The details came from a trip into the wetlands of Louisiana where we saw alligators, spoonbills and a beautiful sunset.
Do you use your childhood as inspiration? I write for the child in me, the one who thrives on adventure and surprises, on learning new things, on understanding and being understood.
What books from your childhood have most influenced your work? What about adult titles? I am just glad that there is a wonderful variety of books about so many things. I am working my way through reading them. As a child, I loved the Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett . It was spellbinding and mysterious, hopeful and full of change, part science and part fairy tale.
What are your hobbies and interests besides reading and books? Getting together with friends and family, hiking, kayaking, watching birds, bugs and the weather.
What one or two words of advice would you give for young authors/illustrators? Explore, and look closely.