Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Sam Wedelich

© Sam Wedelich

May 8, 2020

We are excited to feature author-illustrator Sam Wedelich and her picture book, CHICKEN LITTLE: THE REAL AND TOTALLY TRUE TALE (Scholastic, June 2, 2020). Enter to win a copy!




Tell us about yourself and how you came to write and illustrate for children.

I’m a native Texan living in the Bronx with my husband and two young kids. I’ve been drawing since forever, in lots of places and times when I really shouldn’t have been… but it’s worked out in the long run. 

© Sam Wedelich

I officially started working toward being an illustrator after leaving my career in store display/window design to raise my kids full time. Turns out, I couldn’t turn the art-faucet off and in posting a steady stream of cartoons on Instagram, I got the attention of some agent/editor friends and it all just sort of happened from there!

Congrats on your new picture book, CHICKEN LITTLE: THE REAL AND TOTALLY TRUE TALE. Tell us about it and what inspired you.

CHICKEN LITTLE: THE REAL AND TOTALLY TRUE TALE is a story about a Chicken who tries to convince us (and herself) that she’s not afraid of anything… until she gets a mysterious BONK on the head. After a moment of panic, she calms down and starts to investigate. While she’s trying to make sure the sky isn’t actually falling, another chicken misinterprets the situation and the barnyard is tipped into a frenzy. Chicken Little has to figure out how to solve the problem before her friends make a huge mistake! (Spoiler alert: Unlike the classic, everything turns out fine in this version!)

© Sam Wedelich

This classic tale about fear, panic and rumor felt ripe for a modern take… and teaches an important lesson about pausing and gathering information before reacting. It’s a fun, fresh tale with important themes at the core. I have young kids, so there are also lots of jokes and silliness, making it a great read aloud!

© Sam Wedelich


Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?

I am so lucky, in that I got this chance when a different project fell through and my editor and art director at Scholastic still wanted to work together! They gave me the opportunity to take on an author/illustrator project and Chicken Little was born! 



When you create picture books, do the words or images come first?

I’m still really at the beginning here, but so far, it’s been very character-driven. I get to know the character intimately and start to write in their voice. It does start with drawing character studies typically.

© Sam Wedelich
What projects are you working on now? Are you able to concentrate?

I recently turned in art for Chicken Little and the Big Bad Wolf, which is super exciting because this character gets to live on in another story (2021). 

I am mid-way on a portable deck of mindfulness and encouragement cards coming out with Running Press (Spring 2021). I’ve also got some secret projects in the works that I can’t talk about just yet. I’m incredibly thankful to have work right now.

© Sam Wedelich

That said, concentration feels like herding cats these days. In the “Before Times,” pre-pandemic, I had a few hours a day in the studio while my kids were at school. Now, my husband is working from home, I’m helping my kids with remote school every day and jumping in and out of projects as much as I can while juggling the housework and increased sanitation protocols… all in a NYC apartment! 

I know everyone is experiencing this, which is actually enormously comforting.  

What advice would you give to aspiring author-illustrators?

Show up to the page. Turn off your inner critic. MAKE, MAKE, MAKE the work. Be brave and keep going. It sounds simple, but at the end of the day, these are the guiding principles I return to again and again in my own process. 

© Sam Wedelich

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

My mother is from Germany and I speak German. I also have an obsession with a gluten-free Lebkuchen that’s sold in Nuremberg, where my family is from. (I’m also gluten-free.)

Where can people find you online?

For the most current things, Instagram is my favorite! Follow me there @samwedelich. 
I also keep a website: samwedelich.com

Sam Wedelich is the author of Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale and also a cartoonist, illustrator and designer who has created visual displays for Anthropologie and Free People. She is hard at work painting, drawing, reading, knitting, sewing, biking, dancing, and seeking beauty while raising two kids with her husband in the Bronx, New York. You can visit her at samwedelich.com or follow her on Instagram @samwedelich.

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13 comments:

  1. I think Chicken Little and the boy who cried wolf should team up and become a crime-solving team!

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  2. Thank you for sharing! I love this idea.

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  3. That chicken looks pretty adorable! Sounds like she's going to have an adventure-filled life.

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  4. I can't wait to read this. I love retellings with new twists. :) Congrats!

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  5. I love these illustrations and look forward to reading your book!

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  6. Not only a super-fun premise, but how cool that Chicken Little gets to star in a (future) mash-up with Big Bad Wolf story, too! Hurray for overcoming the 'challenges of the times' to create such wonderful kidlit, Sam!

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  7. A fun new twist with a classic character. I'd love to have a copy. Thanks!

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  8. Your book looks adorable and fun!

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  9. Your Chicken Little is adorable. Lots of personality! Love the red glasses. Congrats on this and all your other projects.

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  10. What lovely lines in these drawings. I love them.

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  11. Your book sounds great! Love the illustrations! Chicken Little is so cute! Congratulations!

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