Local Girl Makes Good

The illustration on the cover of the November/December Magazine is from Once upon a Winter Day, a picture book written and illustrated by Liza Woodruff.

Guys, that's our Liza, who worked as the circulation assistant at The Horn Book back in the last century, and we still miss her, so I was happy to send five questions her way.

1. How does it feel to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone, sort of?

Oh my goodness, will someone please pinch me? Wait, never mind I have children who would be all too willing. So... I am still in shock. This is an honor I just never even imagined as a possibility. When I worked at The Horn Book, I remember the cover art coming in to the office. We had pieces of original art from Jerry Pinkney, Petra Mathers, and Chris Raschka. You can imagine my surprise (and delight) to be in the company of artists like these!

2. How did working at a book review magazine prepare you for being reviewed?

Working at The Horn Book, I learned that reviewers are deeply interested in children’s publishing as a whole. They care about the history of children’s books and its future. The reviewers I knew were really interested in getting good books into the hands of children by pointing them out to parents, teachers, and librarians. Knowing this, I find it a little easier to not take a bad review so personally...a little.

3. What’s the most difficult thing about illustrating snow?

I struggle most with capturing color and shadows in snow. If I could just leave the white of the paper, that would be so easy, but it wouldn’t look very good or reflect the true nature of what’s going on with the light.

4. So can we put you down as an advocate for tossing the children outside?

Yes, absolutely! I joke about the tossing part (sort of). Snow actually makes a pretty good landing pad. But I do believe that children need to get outside and play. I think that discovery and exploration with no expectation of results is so important in healthy development. Also, kids need to see the natural world to appreciate it and understand why we need to protect it.

5. What’s the best part of living in the back of the beyond? You’re practically in France.

We are practically in France. In fact, once I cross the border, which is about an hour away, I can actually speak French with the Québécois! There are lots of great things about living in Vermont, but what I love most is the natural beauty. We live in a rural town with lots of open space and farmland. Every day, I am reminded how lucky I am when I look out the window. I can walk out my back door and into the woods without having to get in a car. I do have to get in a car for almost everything else, but let’s not talk about that.

Bonus question: Is it true, when you're named Liza, that a lot of people call you Lisa?

Yes, that is very true. I now respond to both Lisa and Liza because I like to be an agreeable person.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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