Monday, July 11, 2016

Michigander Monday: Wendy BooydeGraaff

I'm pleased to welcome Wendy BooydeGraaff to Michigander Monday!

Debbie:  Wendy, please tell us a little about yourself.

Wendy:  I grew up making mud pies on a fruit farm in southern Ontario, and now live near Grand Rapids where I still play in the mud, except now I call it gardening.

Debbie:  And, of course, we want to know all about your book.

Wendy:  Salad Pie (illustrated by Bryan Langdo, published by Ripple Grove Press) is a picture book about friendship, imagination and the great outdoors. Contrary to what comes up when you google Salad Pie, there is no cooking involved, unless you count the pretend kind.

Maggie is determined to make her imaginary salad pie all by herself, because then she knows it will turn out just perfect. When Herbert appears, Maggie won’t let him join in…until she takes a tumble and Herbert saves the day, and Salad Pie.

Debbie:  Other books or projects on the horizon?

Wendy:  No news yet, but I do have several projects I am working on.

Debbie:  Upcoming appearances?

Wendy:  I am running a Goodreads giveaway soon, so if Salad Pie is on your shelf, you’ll get notified. And, I have an events page on that I update regularly.

Debbie:  Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?

Wendy:  My home store is Schuler Books and Music in Grand Rapids, which has a huge used book section, a cafĂ© (with outdoor seating) and an events studio for live music and author talks.

The Kentwood Library (part of KDL-Kent District Library) has always been my favourite library, even before they moved into their current space beside City Hall. They have weekly outdoor concerts in the summer, a farmer’s market every Saturday morning in June, July and August, a seed exchange, quiet meeting rooms, a huge kids’ area with a play city and, most importantly, their librarians are the friendliest around. Oh, and they also have books, lots of books. They even have several copies of my book, which they ordered all on their own before I had a chance to ask them to!

Debbie:  How about a favorite place in Michigan?

Wendy:  I love Lake Michigan, anywhere along the shoreline. Last summer I went to Sleeping Bear Dunes for the first time and was blown away by the beauty of the endless sand and variegated blue water. I also love Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Art Museum (the only LEED certified art museum in the world). All three places give me immense happiness and warm feelings.

Debbie:  Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?

Wendy:  Art Prize in September is my favourite Grand Rapids event. Along with art everywhere—on the streets, in building lobbies, on the Blue Bridge—there is also food everywhere. Great restaurants set up little booths outside and food trucks park in the B.O.B. parking lot.

Debbie:  A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?

Wendy:  My critique group includes Dan Burns (who just won the Michigan SCBWI mentorship), Roxanne Henley (a fellow picture book writer), Amy Henrickson (who writes all about Michigan) and Katie Van Ark (YA author of The Boy Next Door). Each and every one of them are smart writers to watch, and whose work you will be seeing out there on the shelves more and more.

Debbie:  Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?

Wendy:  Michigan has great beauty, lots of artsy towns (Grand Rapids, Saugutuck, Ann Arbor, Detroit) and friendly people.

Debbie:  Last question.  Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?

Wendy:  Well, I am an Ontarioian (yeah, try saying that out loud) but my kids are Michiganders, all the way.

Debbie:  Wendy, Ontarioian is fun to say!  Thank you for joining us today for Michigander  Ontarioian Monday!

Wendy BooydeGraaff knows picture books are for everyone and thinks people shouldn’t stare at her when she walks out of the library with armloads of them. She is the author of SALAD PIE (illustrated by Bryan Langdo, published by Ripple Grove Press, 2016) and now lives in Michigan, though she honourably imports every u she can find from her Canadian childhood. You can find out more at her website, and you can read about many other new picture books at On the Scene in 2016, a picture book debut blog. She’d also love to connect with you on Pinterest or Goodreads.