On the eve of publication of How to Make a Book (About My Dog), my new nonfiction picture book about how nonfiction picture books are made (illustrated by Sarah Horne and published by Millbrook Press/Lerner), Booklist featured an interview with me, available both as a podcast and as a transcript.
For folks who would rather hear from my dog than from me, Ernie did a Q&A with my editor, Carol Hinz, and frankly he comes off as being a little self-centered.
“[There were] so many people who apparently would rather make a picture book than focus on me,” Ernie told Carol. “I just find that remarkable. But now that I see that the book they were making actually is focused on me, everything makes a lot more sense.”
The book has gotten attention elsewhere including in the BookPage article Where do books come from, anyway? It focuses not only on my book with Sarah but also on Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Hadley Hooper’s new The Story of a Story.
In School Library Journal, author Kate Messner’s article The Truth is in There: Creative Approaches to Informational Books for Young Readers shone a spotlight on the book:
Other informational titles introduce fictional elements to add humor. How to Make a Book (About My Dog), a work of metafiction about creating a book, takes a conversational tone on the first page, where readers find an illustration of author Chris Barton introducing himself, and his dog Ernie, the subject of the book. One spread features the faces of people recalling memories of Ernie; one woman reminisces, “Remember when Ernie met my cat?” Next to her is a cat whose thought bubble reads, “I hate Ernie!” Barton goes on to share detailed information about book making, from edits and revisions to agents, acquisition meetings, book design software, and distributors.
There have been a few reviews, too, including in Publishers Weekly (“Aiming to unveil the process behind book creation, Barton walks readers through the steps of writing a nonfiction picture book about his dog in this elucidative meta-story following its own production.”) and in Booklist (“…readers and budding authors will still come away strongly impressed by the everyday miracle that is the book in their hands”).
Finally, for this year’s hybrid Texas Book Festival, I shared my reading of How to Make a Book (About My Dog), which I recorded with Ernie from my kitchen table. For the next few weeks, it’s available for all to view: