Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Kristina McMorris and Amanda Yoshida

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2023 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored by

Ellie Mae Dreams Big but has trouble making up her mind. An author-illustrator pair of sisters explores — if not resolves! — her dilemma.

1. Kristina, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I distinctly recall at one point being torn between two vastly different careers: belly dancer and nun. Why? Ironically, for the very same reason: I liked their outfits.

2. And you, Amanda?

When I was little, I dreamt of someday becoming a picture book illustrator and a mom, two picks that are a bit more mainstream than my sister’s. Needless to say, I feel incredibly fortunate that both my dreams have come true.

3. Kristina, what surprised you the most about writing for children as opposed to adults?

In contrast to writing a novel, where the images in the reader’s mind come from the words on the page, I loved discovering how to balance narrative in a picture book, allowing the drawings to tell at least half the story.

4. Amanda, best or worst — you choose — thing about working with your sister?

The best thing about working together is that we think alike. Because of this, we almost always agree on the creative direction of our stories and how the words and artwork can best support each other. We essentially speak the same language, which makes collaborating feel effortless.

5. Kristina, are you That Person holding up the line at the ice-cream counter?

Not usually. Granted, I do appreciate it whenever there are several people ahead of me in line, so I can spend that time weighing my options!

Sponsored by

Photos: Holland Studios.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. 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 MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.