What makes CLiF’s interactive storytelling events so special? The 65+ amazing authors, illustrators, poets, graphic novelists, and storytellers who make stories come alive at schools, libraries, afterschool and summer programs, affordable housing developments and shelters, and just about everywhere low-income, at-risk, and rural kids in New Hampshire and Vermont spend time!

One of our popular presenters is author/illustrator Marty Kelley, who has written or illustrated books such as Almost Everybody Farts, Summer Stinks, and A Cape! His fun and silly storytelling style delights kids (and adults) of all ages (pictured above sharing his books with Morristown Elementary School students in Morrisville, VT. Students made their own superhero capes in honor of reading A Cape!). We asked him what inspires his work.

Q. What inspired you to become a children’s author?

I didn’t have a big “Ah HA!” type of moment when I decided that I wanted to become a writer. I have always enjoyed writing and creating art. When I was younger, I went to art school to become an animator, another way to tell stories using art and words. After many career changes, I wound up as a classroom teacher and I saw firsthand how magical that combination of word and pictures could be in capturing and engaging the minds of young readers.

Q. What motivates you to write?

I love the process of creation. I love seeing the evolution of an idea to a story. I enjoy crafting the innumerable changes, shifts, and adjustments that form a rough idea into a finished story that can be shared with other people. I love seeing how people react to what I have created with words.

Q. What are your favorite things about CLiF visits? Do you have any memories from CLiF programs that you’d like to share?

I love the genuine excitement that the kids have for books and reading. I love seeing them get passionate about the books, whether its one that they have read 50 times or one that they have never heard of – they get excited. Most of the memories that stand out for me are tiny, intimate moments where families come together for a small, shared experience. When they are gathered over a book, looking, sharing, and feeling the same moment. It’s beautiful to see.

Q. What do you hope kids take away from your presentations?

A passionate love of books and reading.

Q. What are you working on now?

I just finished a new picture book called Experiment #256. It’s the first book I’ve done with a brand-new art style that I developed and I’m thrilled to actually see it in print soon! I’m also up to my eyeballs in a top-secret project based on the old legend of St. George and the Dragon. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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