Skinny Dip with Toni Buzzeo


Avail­able May 2015

What’s your favorite hol­i­day tradition?

Although only my father is Ital­ian, I grew up with a strong con­nec­tion to my Ital­ian her­itage. And real­ly, when does one’s her­itage shine more bright­ly than the hol­i­days? So, every Christ­mas Eve finds me with my fam­i­ly in our Maine farm­house kitchen mak­ing home­made ravi­o­li. My hus­band Ken rolls out the dough that has been rest­ing on the counter under a bowl for sev­er­al hours while my son Topher and I wres­tle the cir­cles of dough he pro­vides us into fold­ed cush­ions of deli­cious­ness that we drop into a boil­ing pot of salt­ed water. Lat­er, we light the can­dles in our for­mal din­ing room and sit down with our grand­ba­by Cam­den and our daugh­ter-in-law Caitlin to a feast of baked ravi­o­li, home­made rolls, green sal­ad, and glass­es of red wine — the per­fect Christ­mas Eve feast.

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

Oh good­ness, I was nei­ther teacher’s pet nor teacher’s chal­lenge. Instead, I was the invis­i­ble child. If my best friend, Lin­da Benko, was absent, I spoke to no one the entire day, includ­ing my teacher! I was so des­per­ate­ly shy, and lived in a cocoon from which I didn’t emerge until I was six­teen years old when I sud­den­ly and quite unex­pect­ed­ly meta­mor­phosed into the gal I am now, ver­bal­ly exu­ber­ant and high­ly interpersonal.

What’s the first book report you ever wrote?

While I don’t remem­ber writ­ing my first book report, I am absolute­ly sure that, as an enor­mous­ly pas­sion­ate read­er, I wrote it with great enthu­si­asm and ardor.

Do you like to gift wrap presents?

Presents! I adore presents — get­ting them and espe­cial­ly GIVING them. For me, a deeply sat­is­fy­ing part of prepar­ing a gift for giv­ing is the wrap­ping, the berib­bon­ing, the embell­ish­ing. Of course, that means that I keep a five-foot- wide draw­er full to the top with a tan­gle of wrap­ping paper, rib­bons, tags, flow­ers, gauzy bags, and all man­ner of doo-dads.

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

As you gob­ble those piles and piles of library books, Toni Marie, think about what it would be like to WRITE books like those. Dream the dream of being an author.” Sad­ly, I was nev­er encour­aged to write, even in high school when sure­ly, I’d begun to show signs of tal­ent, which is why it took me so very long to launch my career writ­ing for chil­dren. How much ear­li­er I might have begun had I heard that advice!

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

Here’s one of the best things about being a children’s author. I often get to have din­ner with my favorite (liv­ing) writ­ers. So, giv­en this oppor­tu­ni­ty, I’d like to go to my child­hood favorites and invite 98-year-old Bev­er­ly Cleary, author of my beloved Beezus and Ramona and Hen­ry books; Maud Hart Lovelace, author of the Bet­sy-Tacy books I read over and over; and Car­olyn Hay­wood, author of my oth­er favorite Bet­sy books. And before that din­ner, I would re-read every sin­gle one of those child­hood favorites.

Where’s your favorite place to read?

For me, there is some­thing com­plete­ly lux­u­ri­ous about crawl­ing back into bed, of a morn­ing, with a cup of tea and pil­lows piled all around, and spend­ing an hour or two with a book and not a sin­gle elec­tron­ic device in sight.


3 Responses to Skinny Dip with Toni Buzzeo

  1. librarylisa2 March 22, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    Great inter­view! Can’t wait to read Toni’s new book : )

  2. Judy Freeman March 23, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    Maybe Toni was a late bloomer, chil­dren’s book-wise, but she sure has made up for lost time with some fan­tas­tic pic­ture books. Loved this profile.

  3. David LaRochelle March 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

    That home­made Christ­mas Eve ravi­o­li sounds deli­cious, Toni! I also loved Bev­er­ly Cleary and Car­olyn Hay­wood grow­ing up. I did­n’t dis­cov­er Maud Hart Lovelace until I was an adult and some of my Bet­sy-Tacy Friends intro­duced me to this great series…which of course I should be famil­iar with, since I live in Minnesota.

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