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How to Tell a Story in Few Words with Sarvinder Naberhaus

Sarvinder Naberhaus, most-known for her latest picture book, Blue Sky White Stars, stopped by for an interview. Learn more about what it takes to become a picture book writer and how you don’t always need a lot of words to tell your story. Read the full interview below.

Full Interview with Sarvinder Naberhaus | Picture Book Writer Tips

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Full Interview with Picture Book Writer, Sarvinder Naberhaus:

1. Your books have hardly any words to them. How do you write them to show an editor what you’re thinking?

I cheat and do big no no’s with illustration notes. But I call them illustration “options.” 😉

2. Your book, Blue Sky, White Stars, made a huge impact after it debuted. Where did the inspiration come for that book?

I’m not sure where ideas come from. Sometimes they seem to download from above. I had read Karma Wilson’s How to Bake an American Pie the day before, so I think it stuck in my craw. The idea just came to me and just kind of flowed out.

3.  Not only did you receive a lot of starred reviews for that book, and a Crystal Kite award, but you received a starred review for your latest book, Lines, too. How do you think these accolades affect you as a writer and the book’s performance?

Wow. Good question. I’ve never been asked that before.

I think it helps to reinforce all the hard work, sweat, and tears that all writers face behind the scenes of any book or manuscript. It’s a lot of hard work, so to be recognized for that is really really awesome. I don’t know if it has any bearing on how well the book does, but I would think it puts the book on more people’s radar, but either way, it’s a really good feeling. 

4. Your new book, Lines, focuses a lot on STEM. Why do you think it’s important for kids to learn about that in books?

I absolutely LOVE science. I can’t get enough of it, and as an elementary teacher, I think STEM is important, as well as STEAM. I think art/creativity and discovery go hand in hand. 

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5. What would be your best recommendation for a writer who’s looking to write in the STEM market?

It’s always good to research the market and see if your idea is already out there. And I think you need to be enamored with some aspect of STEM to do it well. Writing about what you love is always a good idea. 

6. Do you have any new books in the works or ideas you’re playing with?

Only too many to ever finish in one lifetime!

7. You’re represented by Ammi-Joan Pacquette at Erin Murphy. How you were able to make that connection?   

By meeting her at an Iowa conference and through lots of prayer in finding the right agent! 

8.  What is the most challenging part of the publishing process for you?

Writing & problem solving–figuring out what isn’t working and why. 

9.  Has this changed from your first book to now? 

Has not changed. 😂

10. What would be your best advice for someone hoping to publish their own kid’s book?

If you want to publish traditionally, it takes perseverance, determination, dedication, and hard work. It is a growing experience.

It’s really good to find a critique group that works for you. The biggest mistake I see people make is not listening and hearing what others have to say. Remember to let your guard down, and keep in mind that you don’t have to take their advice, but at least be willing to listen and ponder it or try it.

If it didn’t make your work better, then go back to what you had, no loss. But many times, surprisingly, something wonderful and unexpected will come from it. If you let people talk and brainstorm about your story, they give you brilliant ideas! 


Thank you to Sarvinder Naberhaus for her insight in picture book writing! You can learn more about her on her website. And be sure to pick up her latest picture book, Blue Sky White Stars, which just came out in a bilingual version!

And for more picture book writing tips, check out these other articles:

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