Skinny Dip with Phyllis Root

cover imageWhat keeps you up at night?

My cat Catali­na keeps me up at night, meow­ing and wan­der­ing back and forth over me, look­ing for our oth­er cat Spike, who died last fall and with whom she’d been togeth­er since kittenhood.

What is your proud­est career moment?

I have two, and they hap­pened close togeth­er. When Big Mom­ma Makes the World had its launch in Lon­don, the Lon­don plan­e­tar­i­um was filled with chil­dren, and some­one nar­rat­ed the text while Helen Oxenbury’s amaz­ing art was pro­ject­ed onto the plan­e­tar­i­um ceil­ing. The lights all went out when Big Mom­ma made the dark, and then the stars filled the sky. At the end of the book the Lon­don Gospel choir sang, and all the chil­dren waved the bal­loon sculp­tures and swords in time to the music.

cover imageNot long after, I vis­it­ed a school on the Nava­jo reser­va­tion where my daugh­ter was vol­un­teer­ing and read Rat­tle­trap Car to all the class­es at the school. Back in the trail­er where she stayed, I was help­ing my daugh­ter pack when one of the lit­tle boys from the school, maybe six years old, burst in, saw me, cried, “Bing Bang Pop!” and laughed and laughed. Sel­dom has a book of mine received such a joy­ous reaction.

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?


Zam­bezi Riv­er, Africa

Some days I think just get­ting out of bed and sit­ting down to write is the bravest thing I ever do. Oth­er times I think it was stand­ing on the edge of a live vol­cano or white­wa­ter raft­ing down the Zam­bezi riv­er. Almost every­thing scares me, and I like the quote (although I can’t remem­ber who said it and I’m prob­a­bly man­gling it), “Use all your courage today. We’ll get more tomorrow.”

What’s the first book you remem­ber reading?

A Babar book, writ­ten in long­hand rather than type­set, in the book­mo­bile that came at the foot of the hill where we lived.

In what Olympic sport would you like to win a gold medal?

Bas­ket­ball. Unless there’s a medal for reading.

What TV show can’t you turn off?

I no longer have a tele­vi­sion, so this one is hard to answer. I watch a few shows on my lap­top once in a while, and the one I watch most is the Rachel Mad­dow Show.



2 Responses to Skinny Dip with Phyllis Root

  1. David LaRochelle June 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    What a great quote about courage, Phyl­lis. And I can eas­i­ly pic­ture that six-year-old cry­ing out “Bing, Bang, Pop!”

  2. Norma Gaffron June 7, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Well HI, Phyllis!
    Oh, what a great expe­ri­ence with Big Mama. I wish I could have been there. Were you able to attend? I love Big Mama — such a won­der­ful read aloud.
    Con­grats to you for all you’ve done and will con­tin­ue to do.
    Remem­ber the “old days”…

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