New Voices: Kelly J. Baptist & Jess Rinker on the People Who’ve Influenced Their Writing

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

A big welcome to middle-grade debut authors, Kelly J. Baptist and Jess Rinker. Both authors share with us how the people around them influence their writing as well as moments along their journeys to publication.

Kelly Baptist 

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

I think it was when I was reading Laura Numeroff’s If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,

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Career Achievers: Kelly Starling Lyons on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author

By Traci Sorell

I love books that celebrate multigenerational family gatherings and connections between family members of all ages. Going Down Home With Daddy (Peachtree, 2019) combines rich language by Kelly Starling Lyons and spectacular illustrations by Daniel Minter.

When you sit with the book, you easily see why it garnered starred reviews, effusive praise and made The Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott list.

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