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Hi Adam! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for CHICKEN IN SCHOOL?
Adam: This is actually a cute story.
OOH! We like cute stories. Please tell us.
Adam: Well, I brainstormed ideas for this book with my son. He was eight at the time. So we started with some pie and ice cream. The best way to channel our inner Sam.
ATW: We hear that.
Adam: After pie, we started talking about what he would do if he created his own school. After explaining that you couldn’t have recess all day, we settled on some basic subjects.
What subjects made his cut?
Adam: He picked math, reading and art. Some of his favorites. It was a lot of fun trying to figure out how Zoey would teach each of these subjects. And I even figured out a way to work my boy’s love of recess into the story.
When you were growing up, did you find school as exciting as Sam does?
Adam: I was a little more like Zoey growing up than Sam. I may have spent as much time trying to think my way around a problem as I did trying to solve it. I mostly enjoyed the social aspect of school, but developed a real love for learning as I got older. Looking back, I must have been a lot of work for the wonderful educators that tried to instruct me. That’s why I dedicated this book to them, and to anyone else who has a student like me.
What was it like the first time you saw your characters come to life in Shahar’s illustrations?
Adam: It was amazing! Shahar’s art really captures the heart of these characters. Seeing new art is one of the coolest things about each of our books. The images I have in my mind as I write pale in comparison to his final renderings.
Adam: The characters really come to life. Especially Zoey and Sam. Sam’s facial expression when he finally gets his pie brings a smile to my face every time I see it.
Do you have a favorite moment or page in CHICKEN IN SCHOOL, and why?
Adam: I love the final spread. It really captures Zoey’s personality all in one illustration. There’s something ingenious about the setup of that spread. There’s action, and potential, and even a sense of “Oh, no! What’s that chicken about to do?” I love the way illustrations do this. The layers of story that they provide. It’s a huge part of what makes picture books such a great art form.
Thanks for sharing the book trailer for CHICKEN IN SCHOOL with us! Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Adam: Yes! Keep your eyes peeled for the newest Zoey and Sam adventure, Chicken in Mittens, landing in stores on October 17th.
Adam Lehrhaupt is the award-winning author of multiple books, including Warning: Do Not Open This Book!; Please: Open This Book!; Chicken in Space; I Will Not Eat You; I Don’t Draw, I Color; Wordplay and Chicken in School. He has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He firmly believes that opening a book is a good thing, even if there are monkeys in it. Adam currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife, two sons, and two bizarre dogs. Follow Adam on Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ @lehrhaupt for the occasional brilliant thought or picture, and at www.adamlehrhaupt.com.