Tammi Sauer was a teacher and library media specialist, but is now a full-time picture book author. She’s visited hundreds of schools and spoken at various conferences across the nation, including at Disney World! Woo-woo! She has sold 25 picture books to major publishing houses (Bloomsbury, Disney*Hyperion, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Simon & Schuster, and Sterling).
In addition to winning awards, many of her books have gone on to do great things. For instance, MOSTLY MONSTERLY was selected for the 2012 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, NUGGET AND FANG is currently featured on the Spring 2015 Scholastic Book Fair DVD which was shared with more than 50 million students, and CHICKEN DANCE was recently developed into a musical by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre and currently has 53 shows scheduled for spring 2016.
For what age audience do you write?
I write picture books. My audience ranges from 3-103. You are never too old to enjoy a picture book.
Henry: unless you’re 104…
Tell us about your picture book, YOUR ALIEN.
YOUR ALIEN (Sterling, 8/4/15), illustrated by Goro Fujita. When a little boy meets a stranded alien child, the two instantly strike up a fabulous friendship. They go to school, explore the neighborhood, and have lots of fun. But at bedtime, something seems wrong with the alien. Can the boy figure out what his new buddy needs most of all?
So far, the book’s received wonderful reviews.
“Not since E.T. has extraterrestrial entertainment stood such a good chance of making kids (and their parents) tear up.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Will likely inspire preschoolers to stare hopefully heavenward looking for their own close encounters.” – Kirkus, starred review
Henry: I very much enjoyed this book. Bonus points for doing a science fiction (one of my favorite genres) picture book! I’m working on a sci-fi PB that involves time travel.
What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?
I hope readers will discover that friends and family are the most important things in the universe… no matter who you are.
Henry: Aliens are people too. That’s why they like Reece’s Pieces. Just ’cause they sometimes invade earth is no reason to hold a grudge.
What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?
When it comes to writing, my biggest challenge is coming up with a good idea. Some people can come up with 2,453 ideas before breakfast. Not me. Once I have that strong, fresh, irresistible-to-editors idea, though, the fun begins.
Henry: Hah, I am the yang to your yin in that regard. Great titles and ideas come easily, but the execution, especially the revisions, is the heavy lift for me.
What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?
The Mayor and Edmond City Council declared July 9, 2015 in Edmond, Oklahoma, to be Tammi Sauer Day. Woo!
Henry: Awesome. Are there pose-able action figures available?
Read the rest of this interview at Henry’s blog on KidLit, fantasy and science fiction.