Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Skinny Dip with David LaRochelle

Favorite hol­i­day tra­di­tion?


by David LaRochelle Walk­er Books, 2013 illus. by Mike Wohnout­ka

 With­out a doubt my favorite hol­i­day tra­di­tion is carv­ing pump­kins. It has become such a trade­mark of mine that peo­ple start ask­ing in Sep­tem­ber what I plan to carve for the upcom­ing Hal­loween. I’ve learned to jot down pos­si­ble pump­kin ideas in my sketch­book through­out the year, but it usu­al­ly comes down to crunch time (the week before Hal­loween) before I final­ly decid­ed on the 4–6 pump­kins I carve each year. I have a gallery of past pump­kin designs, includ­ing some I’ve carved for Good Morn­ing Amer­i­ca, on my web­site.

Were you a teacher’s pet or teacher’s chal­lenge?

Hope­ful­ly I wasn’t obnox­ious, but I was very much a teacher’s pet. I would stay after school and go from room to room ask­ing teach­ers if they need­ed help putting up bul­letin boards or cor­rect­ing papers. I usu­al­ly spent the first day or two of sum­mer vaca­tion help­ing teach­ers pack up their rooms for the year (it helped that we lived right across the street from the ele­men­tary school), and one of my favorite things to do the first week of sum­mer was to “play school” with the extra work­sheets that teach­ers had giv­en me. No won­der I became an ele­men­tary school teacher myself!

What’s the first book report you ever wrote?

Mr. PudgensWe had an inde­pen­dent read­ing pro­gram when I was in third grade where instead of writ­ing book reports, we could make a dio­ra­ma, draw a poster, etc. I often enlist­ed the help of a few class­mates and put on a short play based on the book I had read (we loved get­ting out of class to rehearse on the school’s old stage!). One of the books I have vivid mem­o­ries of per­form­ing was “Mr. Pud­gins” by Ruth Christof­fer Carlsen about a mag­i­cal babysit­ter and a fly­ing bath­tub. In one scene a bush begins to make pop­corn. One of my friends brought in a huge plas­tic trash bag of pop­corn and hid behind a chair. The class went crazy when he began to throw hand­ful after hand­ful of the pop­corn out into the audi­ence. We loved it!

What do you wish you could tell your 10-year old self?

Some day you will have the last laugh on all the bul­lies who are call­ing you “fag” and “homo.” You will also become a pub­lished author and illus­tra­tor and make lots of kids hap­py with your fun­ny books.

Or more sim­ply, I wish I could tell my 10-year-old self, “Every­thing is going to turn out okay.”

What 3 children’s book authors or illus­tra­tors or edi­tors would you like to invite to din­ner?

I would love to vis­it with George Selden (author of “The Crick­et in Times Square” series, Mac Bar­nett (author of “Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” and many oth­er incred­i­bly cre­ative books) and famed children’s edi­tor Ursu­la Nord­strom.

Where’s your favorite place to read?

On a plane, head­ing off on vaca­tion.






4 Responses to Skinny Dip with David LaRochelle

  1. Toni Buzzeo March 25, 2015 at 7:59 am #

    David, so much fun to read your Skin­ny Dip! I’m off to view your pump­kins on the web­site. May our paths cross again soon.

    • David LaRochelle March 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

      It was a great plea­sure meet­ing you in North Car­oli­na, Toni! I’ve thought about your tips on inter­ac­tive read-alouds many times since sit­ting in on your ses­sion. I hope our paths cross again soon too!

  2. NORMA GAFFRON March 25, 2015 at 4:32 pm #


    • David LaRochelle March 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      Hi Nor­ma, I went to Sun­ny­side (not Pike Lake), Edge­wood, and Iron­dale. I believe I went to high school with your son Tim!

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