Author Spotlight: Adam Lehrhaupt
June 17, 2022
We are excited to feature author Adam Lehrhaupt and his new picture book, There Was a Hole! (Sleeping Bear Press, April 2022) Enter to win a copy!
You had interesting and varied experiences before you came to write for children. Can you briefly tell us about them and how they led to your current career?
I have had some interesting experiences and jobs throughout my life. I was a roadie for several major musical acts, worked for David Copperfield and lived on a Kibbutz. I’ve traveled to six continents, learned to scuba dive, drive boats, and even performed a wedding ceremony. All of these experiences have opened my eyes to how varied and wonderful the world can be. Post touring, I ended up working as an art director. Even though I was creating art, I found that I wasn’t really exercising my own creativity in a way that felt inspiring to me. In trying to find a way to do that, I landed on writing. All of my travels provided me with experiences to write about. My first two books were inspired by monkeys I met on vacation in Roatán, Honduras. I have a series coming out soon about a Shark that is influenced by my love of scuba diving. I try to look at the world around me, my experiences, and even the people I meet as full of potential. And that potential can turn into stories.
Congratulations on your recent picture book, There Was a Hole! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
At it’s heart, There Was a Hole is a book about loss, grief, and depression. Everyone experiences these emotions. Even children’s book authors. A while back, I was trying to come to terms with a loss of my own. Whenever I experience these kind of big feelings, I look for books that cover the experience I am going through. Unfortunately, sometimes you can’t find a book that lines up. So I asked myself if I could write a story that acknowledged those feelings. That showed they’re valid, normal feelings everyone experiences? Most importantly, I wanted to demonstrate what we can do to help ourselves feel better.
What are some of your favorite classic picture books? Recent ones?
My favorite picture book is Where the Wild Things Are. I love that Max, the main character, wants one thing, to have no consequences for misbehaving, but really needs something else, to remember that mom loves him even when he’s not at his best. And in the end, he gets what he needed. Such a great story. As for some newer books that speak to me, I really like are What if… by the unbelievably talented Samantha Berger, a beautifully written story about using your imagination made even more impactful by Mike Currato’s glorious illustrations. Anzu the Great Kaiju by my Sloth Went illustrator Benson Shum, a fun and funny tale that just warms my heart every time I read it. And the adorable All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, an inclusive story that speaks volumes about how we should treat others.
What projects are you working on now?
Oh, wow. I have a bunch that I’ve been working towards. My favorite is a chapter book series about an adorable little boy who thinks he’s a Viking. It’s a big step away from my typical 300 word books, but has the same great humor and world view that my readers expect in one of mo books. I’m also working on some narrative non-fiction that hopefully readers will get to see in a year or two.
What advice do you give to aspiring creative people?
One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever gotten came from a Stephen King book called On Writing. King basically said “Don’t worry about what comes out, just write.” This advice helped me create the career I have now. I think it works just as well for all types of creativity. Don’t force it. Find something that feels right for you. Sculpting, painting, writing, knitting, it doesn’t matter what you pick, it needs to be something that gives you passion. Then just let yourself get caught up in that passion. If you find the right thing, you won’t need to worry about what other people think. You’ll be creating for yourself.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I’ve been growing out and donating my hair to charity for more than 30 years. I used to be able to donate every 2 years, but as I age it’s more like 3-4 years between donations. If you have long hair, and don’t mind a change, consider finding a good children’s wig charity to donate your hair to. There’s always a need.
Where can people find you online?
I’m on Instagram @lehrhaupt, Facebook @adamlehrhaupt, and at adamlehrhaupt.com.
Adam Lehrhaupt is the award-winning author of 17 books for children, including Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, the 6 book Chicken in… series starting with Chicken in Space, I Will Not Eat You, Wordplay, This is a Good Story, Sloth Went and There Was a Hole. He has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. Adam firmly believes that writing a book is a good thing, even if there is a hole in it. He currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife, two sons, and bizarre dog. Follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram @Lehrhaupt, facebook @adamlehrhaupt, and at adamlehrhaupt.com.