Here are some probing questions from Mrs. Bates' class at Wilber-Clatonia Elementary.
Q: Have you ever been to Nebraska?
A: Yes. I've autographed at bookstores in Nebraska.
Q: Will you write back?
A: Yes, I will. But, I get A LOT of mail, so it often takes me a VERY LONG time to reply.
Comment: I want to be like you when I grow up.
A: Incredibly good-looking?
Q: Have you ever gone to Chicago?
A: Yes, I have.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: Some ideas are suggested to me. (A boy couldn't find any books about quicksand, so I wrote one. THE QUICKSAND BOOK) Sometimes I get an idea when I'm reading. (I got the idea for BILL AND PETE while reading a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine.) Some ideas just pop into my head. (I drew the character of Strega Nona on a doodle pad during a faculty meeting when I was a college teacher.) Some of my stories are based on my childhood, such as, the "26 Fairmount Avenue" autobiographical chapter books, and NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS.
Comment: I cannot believe you have illustrated over 200 books.
Q: Do you think you can write more?
A: I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
Q: My teacher is looking for a Strega Nona doll. Can you tell me where to get one?
A: There aren't any new ones available. She might be able to find one on eBay.
Comment: My teacher's son's name is Anthony.
A: Is he big?