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Member Spotlights

Member Spotlight: Stephanie M. Wildman

author Stephanie Wildman and an image of her book Breath by Breath

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? I write for children who are, simply, the future. Representation matters. Stories matter. Kid lit talks a lot about mirrors and doors. Children need to see themselves in books and they need to see others to build empathy and connection.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? Butt in Chair; set a timer; have an accountability buddy – ideally one writing at the same time, connected digitally but on mute.

What is your favorite time to write? Anytime, but I make a point of “butt in chair” after lunch. Mornings are my best time. Varian Johnson said, “you hav to want it more than sleep.” – But I don’t want it more than sleep.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? From Michael Chabon “Write in scenes, dumbass.” And, because I write for children – from Maxine Rose Schur – “If you can take an adult out of a children’s book, do it!”

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? “Today’s age!” What a troubling, frightening phrase. I never thought that at this point in my life (I’m turning 75), we would have the battles we are facing. I write now, as I always have (then as a legal academic, now as a children’s author) with the hope of aiding the forces of social justice. My work as a law professor emphasized racial, gender, and social justice. When I became a professor emerita to write children’s books, I brought that commitment to kidlit. I learned that animals are more represented as main characters in picture books than people of color. The good news is that the numbers are better than five years ago, though they still need improving. Representation matters for children of all races to see themselves in the world.

Stephanie M. Wildman’s Breath by Breath, illustrated by Estefanía Razo is out March 21 with ‎ Lawley Enterprises, LLC.