A Gold Star Day

Author/Illustrator Grace Lin visits Inly

September 21 was a special day for our Lower and Upper Elementary students. Grace Lin, the author and illustrator of many picture books and middle grade novels visited Inly, and as soon as the kids began walking into the Library, this event felt different. There is a warmth to Lin’s work that shines through in person.

The kids know Grace Lin’s books. They have read Dumpling Days and Where the Mountains Meet the Moon. They know Lin’s beautiful stories of kids growing up in multicultural families, and they eagerly await new volumes of her books that integrate Chinese folklore with magical tales.

Inly Kindergarten through 3rd-grade students were a captive audience as Lin demonstrated how Little Moon nibbled away on the mooncake that she and her mother baked for the Chinese holiday, the Moon Festival. 

Lin’s new picture book, A Big Mooncake for Little Star, is the story of a little girl who bakes a giant mooncake with her mother. Her mother tells Little Star that the Mooncake must remain in the sky while it cools, but Little Star is tempted to take “a tiny nibble.” Of course, one nibble leads to another…..

As Lin told the Lower Elementary students about Little Star, the author so deftly weaved her story that when she asked the kids to “make” a mooncake, their hands rose over their heads to sprinkle magic dust over their imaginary cakes.

While meeting with the Upper Elementary students, Lin answered questions about her writing process and upcoming projects. After a lively session with an enthusiastic group of kids, Inly Librarian, Shelley Sommer, was able to talk with Grace about what her readers can expect next — and to learn what books inspire her:

Here are excerpts from Shelley’s conversation with Grace Lin:

SS: I understand you’re working on a companion picture book to A Big Mooncake for Little Star.

GL: My next book is A Big Bed for Little Snow, and it will be published in the fall of 2019. Little Star’s story is told on black pages that make the mooncake glow. The new book of course, will be told on snowy white pages.

SS: Who are the other illustrators or authors of books for children you admire? As cliché as it sounds, I’m always interested in this question. There are so many talented people in the children’s book world, and it’s fun to hear recommendations from others in the field.

GL: My favorite classic authors are LM Montgomery, Natalie Babbitt, Noel Streatfeild and Rumer Godden.. Classic illustrators Virginia Lee Burton, Barbara Cooney, Trina Schart Hyman, Richard Scarry and Kay Nielson. Contemporary authors and illustrators: Sharon Creech, Rita Williams-Garcia, Kate Milford, Jonathan Auxier, Sayatani DasGupta, Yuyi Morales, Suzy Lee, Lizi Boyd, Jen Corace, Catia Chien, Emily Hughes, Phoebe Wahl…and so many, many more!

SS: Is there a book that had a special influence on you? Perhaps something you read as a child that led you to wonder about becoming an author?

GL: When I was a child, I read a book called Tomas Takes Charge by Charlene Talbot. In that book, the boy befriends a woman who is a children’s book illustrator. It was the first time I had ever heard or considered that as a job, but I remember thinking how neat that was…and eventually wanting to become one myself!


Shelley Sommer became the head librarian and literature teacher at Inly after working for 15 years as director of public relations for the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Dayton and an M.A. in children’s literature from Simmons College. Shelley’s first biography for young readers, John F. Kennedy: His Life and Legacy, was published in 2005 by HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her biography, Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg (2011, Boyds Mills Press), was named a 2012 Sydney Taylor Honor Book and a 2012 Boston Authors Club Finalist in the Young Reader category. Every day Shelley inspires the Inly students and staff to read, by sharing her infectious love of books. Her blog about books, Sommer Reading, has a wide public following. She is also a reviewer for the School Library Journal.

You can read more about the Inly library here.



You can read more about Shelley and the Library at Inly here. https://www.inlyschool.org/page/programs/library

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