Hello, readers, writers, and inhabitants of our beautiful earth. We are here to celebrate Earth Day with author of 100+ books for children, Amy Houts! Amy's new book releasing this summer, God's Earth is Something to Fight For (Illustrated by Kris Smolskaya), is the perfect read for Earth Day, too. This beautifully illustrated book is an insightful read on how to care for our earth and features fun backmatter on ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Want to know more about Amy and her newest book, PLUS want a chance to win a copy for your own book collection? Read on...
Q: Hi Amy! Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit today. We are thrilled you're here along with your new picture book: God's Earth is Something to Fight For! First, for anyone that hasn't had the pleasure of meeting you, can you share a little about yourself and your writing journey?
A: Thank you for inviting me. I’m so happy to be here. I’ve been writing for a long time. I started when our older daughter was a baby, and now she has three children of her own. I had the perfect “in.” My parents published a parenting newsletter and asked me to write a monthly column called “Preschooler in the Kitchen,” which I did for 12 years. Many of the columns were compiled for one of my cookbooks, Cooking Around the Calendar with Kids. But my first love is writing picture books. The majority of my 100+ books have been written on assignment for educational and faith-based publishers.
Q: Readers, I've had the pleasure of pre-reading Amy's new book and it's phenomenal!
Amy, I love how you blended bible verses with science topics. I must ask, what gave you the idea to write this book? Was it something you came up with or your publisher?
A: Thank you so much! I’ve been interested in climate action for several years. We recycle, compost, and more. A combination of things inspired me to write this book. One was reading about teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. I tried writing a picture book biography featuring Greta, but it wasn’t working. Then I reread a childhood favorite,A Friend is Someone Who Likes you. I liked the rhythm. It helped me get started. Do you see the similarity in the earlier title?The Earth is Something to Fight For. I tried to describe why in simple terms. I added the faith-based component after a professional SCBWI critique. The editor said there were so many climate action books out, so I asked, what about a faith-based climate action picture book? She said that hadn’t been done. I absolutely love the way Bushel & Peck created the design and chose the artist for this beautiful book. Kris Smolskaya's illustrations are surreal! They add so much.
Check out these gorgeous and lively spreads, everyone!
Q: Your book also includes some pretty important backmatter about your carbon footprint and ways to reduce it. Can you share any tips for those looking to incorporate backmatter in their MS?
A: Back matter should be different than the book itself, an addition to the book, expanding on the theme. Ask yourself, what else do I want kids to know? And most importantly, it should be something kids are interested in or an activity kids can do. Explanations should be basic, simple enough for kids to understand. A glossary helps. I suggest looking at different nonfiction children’s books with back matter. Pertinent examples will inspire you.
Q: What makes your book the perfect addition to any home, school, or public library?
A: To answer this question, I’d like to share Rev Kyle Meyaard-Schaap’s endorsement. He is the Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network and author of the newly released book, Following Jesus in a Warming World.
"This book is a gift not just to the kids who will hear it but to the adults who will read it to them. It is honest about the challenges we face without being scary, it is biblical about our call to action without being preachy, and it is practical about how to respond without being prescriptive. Everyone who encounters this book will be empowered to find the joy of serving and protecting our neighbors and God's good creation!"
Q: What message do you hope readers of all ages will take away from your book?
I hope readers gain a better understanding of what climate change is and how they can help. I hope it inspires a new generation of climate activists. I hope my book will help readers to be hopeful we can make a better future.
Q: And now for a fun BONUS question: how will you celebrate Earth Day this year?
A: What a fun question!
I will celebrate Earth Day by going on a nature walk with my dog, Gina, bringing recyclables (plastic, paper, tin, glass, aluminum) to our local recycling center, eating vegetarian meals, and offering your readers a free giveaway of a cooperative board game I created called Race to Recycle: An Earth Day Board Game. Here's a link to the game. Download the PDFs and print out. Enjoy! https://www.houtsandhome.com/race-to-recycle-board-game.html
What a COOL game! Thanks so much for sharing that with us, Amy! And thanks for such a fun interview. It was a pleasure having you!
Amy's Earth Day Giveaway: Amy is offering one lucky reader a chance to win a copy of her new book, God's Earth is Something to Fight For as soon as it releases this summer. How exciting!
Giveaway Instructions: Readers, to enter this fun giveaway, leave a comment below and let Amy know why you can't wait to read her new book! If you share this post on social media, let us know that too for an extra entry into the contest! The winner will be chosen on or about 4/28!
Note: Book will be shipped in the US only.
About Amy Houts:
Amy is the author of 100+ books for children. She writes for both faith-based and general market publishers. Amy’s faith-based books include Christian Q&A Book for Kids (Rockridge Press) and God’s Protection Covers Me (Beaming Books). Amy’s educational books include 60 retold tales for the series, Compass Children’s Classics, 2020. Her 10-nonfiction science early readers for Highlights were also released in 2020.
For more about Amy, visit the following links:
Twitter and Instagram: @AmyHouts
Facebook: “Author Amy Houts”
To leave a review for any of Amy's books, click here.