Author Spotlight: Tootie Nienow


March 19, 2021

We are pleased to feature author Tootie Nienow and her picture book, THERE GOES PATTI McGEE!: THE STORY OF THE FIRST WOMAN'S NATIONAL SKATEBOARD CHAMPION, illustrated by Erika Medina (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), out now. Enter to win a copy!


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

I've always loved reading. It takes me to places I don't get to visit in real life. I love creating imaginary or real places for kids to read about. I joined SCBWI, took classes, and met lots of wonderful people. Then I got a job as a school librarian and I fell in love with books all over again. 


Congrats on your picture book, There Goes Patti McGee!: The Story of the First Woman's National Skateboard ChampionTell us about the book and what inspired it. 

I read about Patti in a local newspaper and saw a photo of her doing a handstand on a skateboard and thought that was amazing. I knew kids would want to know about her so when I found out that she lives just a few miles away I asked her if I could interview her. She was such an interesting and sweet person, I knew I had to write a book about her. 


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

Ha, it was long and winding. I started out writing a Novel-in-verse about my brother who my parents adopted when he was 8 and I was 9 and all the adventures we had. I didn't really know what I was doing so I joined SCBWI and took some writing classes. Maybe after a few more classes I'll pull that story out and dust it off. 


What other projects are you working on? 

I am working on more picture books about adventurous women. 


What are the ones two best things you did for your writing career? Would you give this advice to aspiring authors?

Find a way of writing that works for you. It seems like there are so many rules to follow about structure, etc, that we can lose the fun in being creative. One thing that helps to keep me from getting discouraged is: I type out structures of picture books that I like and then substitute my words in place of the authors. In the end it turns out totally different but it gets me going without getting writers' block.


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

I was in the Army. My sister and I enlisted together and went to Book Camp together. I regretted it the moment I stepped off the bus. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done but now I'm so thankful to have had that opportunity. It taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to. 


Where can people find you online?, instagram: @author2t, twitter: @tootienienow




Tootie Nienow has been a school librarian for ten years. Before that she was a teacher, photographer, mother, social worker, and soldier. She loves sharing silly, scary, and suspenseful stories with her students. Although she has ridden a skateboard around her neighborhood, she has never once attempted a handstand. Tootie lives in Southern CA with her husband and dog.

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  1. This book looks great, my twins would love it!

  2. The cover is so much fun and this is a new person to learn about for me. Congratulations on your book!

  3. How exciting to live so near to your story! That's awesome. Your book sounds great. Congratulations!


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