Author Spotlight: Rebecca Kraft Rector
Feb. 5, 2021
We are excited to feature author Rebecca Kraft Rector and her picture book, SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte (Nancy Paulsen Books), coming out on Feb. 16! Enter to win a copy!
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I’m a twin and the oldest of four children. I’ve always been a voracious reader and have been writing stories and poems since I was a child. I delighted (?) my friends with stories about fleas on a dog and a girl who was a strawberry. I love horses and wrote many horse stories. It wasn't until I was an adult, though, that I was able to take riding lessons and buy my own horse.
I continued to write over the years while teaching reading and study skills and then becoming a librarian. It wasn’t until I worked with fellow librarian and author Mary Downing Hahn that I realized that real people could have their stories published. I began submitting to magazines and publishers. Many years later, my first book, Trip and the Great Star Rescue was plucked from the slush pile and published by Delacorte Random House.
Congrats on your picture book Squish Squash Squished! Tell us about the book and what inspired you.
Thank you! The book is about Max and Molly who complain about not having enough room in the back seat of their gracious-spacious automobile. Their mother invites animal friends to ride along until the kids really are squish squash squished. The book is filled with wordplay, refrains, and animal noises. I had a great time writing it and I hope it becomes a popular read-aloud to share with children.
As for inspiration, the many family car trips with my siblings did not inspire me to write Squish Squash Squished because we were always absolute angels. Absolute. Angels.
You've written a number of nonfiction children's books. How did you decide to focus on fiction?
I love to do research. In addition to my nonfiction books for educational publishers, I’ve also written several nonfiction picture books that haven’t found a home yet. But fiction has always been my real focus, from my elementary school poems and stories to my many unpublished middle grade novels and picture books. In fact, I first wrote Squish Squash Squished 20 years ago, long before my first nonfiction books were published.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on a companion book to Squish Squash Squished and revising a middle grade fantasy novel.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Get your ideas out of your head and onto the page. Remember any rejection is just one person’s opinion. Don’t give up!
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I don’t like coffee! My writing is fueled by dark chocolate chips, often eaten on graham crackers.
Where can people find you online?
RebeccaKraftRector on Facebook
Rebecca Kraft Rector is a retired librarian and the author of more than thirty fiction and nonfiction books for children. Her cats Ollie and Opal keep her company while she writes. When she isn’t writing and eating chocolate, she’s trying to keep deer out of her garden.
SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED is Rebecca’s first picture book. Her second picture book LITTLE RED is coming from Aladdin in Spring 2022.
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