Today we welcome author and educator April Halprin Wayland to Bookology. Her most recent picture book, More Than Enough, is a story about Passover. April was one of nine Instructors of the Year honored by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, Creative Writing.
Which celebrity, living or not, do you wish would invite you to a coffee shop?
I would LOVE to have coffee (one-shot latte with extra soy, extra foam) with Crockett Johnson, author/illustrator of Harold and the Purple Crayon but most notably for me, author/illustrator of Barnaby, a comic strip that ran during WWII (actually 1942-1952). I think of it as the predecessor of Calvin and Hobbes. Barnaby stars five-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his fairy godfather Jackeen J. O'Malley. Mr. O'Malley continually gets Barney into trouble. It's brilliant.
Which book do you find yourself recommending passionately?
You're joking, right—one book? I'll tell you right this very minute what books (plural) I recommend. But ask me in half an hour and my list will be completely different.
- Collections of Barnaby comics by Crockett Johnson
- Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- Calling the Doves — El Canto de Las Palomas by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Elly Simmons (a nonfiction picture book told in poems about growing up in a migrant farm worker family, in both Spanish and English. Lush illustrations in brilliant colors.)
- I’m a big audio book fan (I live on the freeways some days), so here are three dynamite middle grade audio books: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, read by Lincoln Hoppe, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Sam Freed, Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Lincoln Hoppe.
Favorite city to visit?
NYC! And Poipu, Kauai! And let's not forget London, for heaven's sake. And anywhere my husband, my son, or my best two friends are.
Most cherished childhood memory?
One August when I was nine or ten, I found a raft by the Feather River, which ran by our farm. I repaired it (I don't remember if an adult helped me or not), then climbed aboard and lay back. The next month, at the beginning of the school year, my teacher asked us to choose a word and define it by writing about something that happened that summer. I wrote about that hot summer day on the river. My word? Bliss.
What's your dream vacation?
Like my favorite books, this will change in the next half hour. For right this minute it would involve my husband, our lanky, knuckle-brained dog, Eli, our son and his girlfriend, hiking, biking, meadows, forests, and arriving at a different bed-and-breakfast each evening with farm-fresh, just-harvested food for dinner, a down quilt each night, and a one-shot latte with extra soy, extra foam each morning. 🙂
Best tip for living a contented life?
I ask myself a central, touchstone question: Will this action or thought help me to like myself?
So, for example, each day I might ask myself: Should I say yes to this invitation to speak? Should I eat this whole bag of (fill in the blank)? Should I spend an extra half-hour with this person, even though I have a pile of work at home? Should I go to this political gathering? Should I volunteer to help put on an event? Should I skip meditation (or exercise or walking the dog) today? Should I pick up that piece of trash I just passed? Do I really need to eat the whole jar? Should I floss my teeth? Should I work on this poem or this book? Should I go to a meeting tonight? Should I turn off the computer and spend time with my husband, who just got home from work?
If I ask myself that question, the answer is always clear. I may not choose to act on the obvious answer, but if I do, I feel more content.
Your hope for the world?
That we will be kind to each other.