Ame Dyckman is the author and creative mind behind one of the best children's picture book's of the year – Boy + Bot – with illustrations by Dan Yaccarino. Boy + Bot is the charming story about the unlikely friendship that develops between a little boy and a robot who serendipitously discover their differences and realize they can be great friends anyway. We first saw Ame's book at a wonderful, little kid's shop in Silver Lake called Yolk. The cute cover drew us in immediately with its simplicity, and we immediately knew that our 3-year old twin nephews would love the story, and love it they do. As book publishers, we always have our eye out for fun children's books and Boy + Boy has become one of our favorites. We recommend it all the time now, and it has a coveted spot on The Dragon's bookshelf too.
You can find Ame on her website, Facebook, and entertaining twitter feed. And, you can purchase Boy + Bot here. Read our interview with Ame below.
8 Questions with Ame Dyckman:
1. What was the inspiration for this charming story about a friendship between a boy and a robot?
Awww, thanks! (I’m blushing red as Bot!) I’ve always loved “friendship despite differences” stories like FROG AND TOAD and GEORGE and MARTHA. And I’ve always loved robots. So when I sat down to write my own friendship story, I thought, “Why not a kid… and a robot? Lots of differences there!” But as I was writing the story, I realized Boy and Bot are really only different on the outside. Inside, these two friends are very much alike!
2. What do you think about how children today are interacting with “machines” like the iPhone and iPad?
As long as it doesn’t interfere with one-on-one interaction with family, friends—including robot friends!—schoolwork or outside time, I love that today’s children have so many ways they can learn and brain-play!
3. As a storybook author what is your feeling about storybook apps vs. actual books? Any plans to develop a mobile app for Boy + Bot?
Reading is good! I feel anything that gets kids to read (books, storybook apps, comics, cereal boxes, Snapple caps, whatever) is good, too. I personally like to write actual picture books because it’s the medium I grew up with, study, collect, and adore. But when it comes to reading, it’s all
good! And while we don’t have any immediate plans for one that I know of, I
think a mobile app for BOY + BOT could be really fun!
4. How did you get started as an author? Any tips for children’s book authors hoping to have their stories published?
I got started thanks to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and my wonderful public library system! I knew I wanted to write picture books, but I didn’t know how. (My first manuscripts broke every picture book rule, and they were terrible!)
I Googled “writing for children” and found SCBWI. I joined the NJ chapter of
SCBWI and went to all the events I could. (I still do!) I met lots of industry
professionals—and made lots of friends—and got fantastic advice. The very
best advice was, “Know your genre!” So I went to my local library (Lawrence
Headquarters Branch, Mercer County Library System) and read mountains
of picture books. I requested mountains more, and my amazing librarians
transferred them in for me. (They still do!) My writing improved, and I wrote
the first draft of BOY + BOT. Then I polished it… forever! Finally, I brought it
to the Agent Pitch Session at a NJ SCBWI conference, where I met my
Super Agent, Scott Treimel of S©ott Treimel NY. And in a very short while,
Scott found BOY + BOT the perfect home at Random House’s Knopf imprint!
I’d definitely encourage anyone who wants to be a kidlit author to join their
local SCBWI chapter and utilize their local library!
5. What has been the best part of becoming a recognized author and having your first book published?
Getting fan mail from children who love BOY + BOT is the best! I keep and love every letter and drawing!
6. Will we be reading more about these two friends – Boy + Bot – in the future? Any plans for to make it a series?
I hope so! I’d love to see more of their adventures.
7. Your next book, Tea Party Rules, is coming out next year. Is there a release date? Anything you can share about it?
TEA PARTY RULES is scheduled for release from Penguin’s Viking imprint in Fall, 2013, and is illustrated by the fabulous K.G. Campbell (LESTER’S DREADFUL SWEATERS and the forthcoming THE ILLUMINATED ADVENTURES OF FLORA AND ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo). It’s a funny
eventual friendship story between a rule-obsessed little girl and a tea party-
crashing bear cub who really wants cookies.
8. Who is your favorite Letter Buddies Character?
My favorite Letter Buddies Character is Unique U. I love that U’s not afraid to be different—right down to the mismatched shoes! (I do that, too!)
A special thanks to Ame Dyckman for taking the time to participate in our KidTech interview series! For those of you interested in buying a copy of Boy + Bot, you can purchase it by clicking here
- Kevin + Yun
KidTech is our new a monthly series of interviews with key "Influencers" in children's technology & early childhood education. From authors of our favorite children's booksto influential minds in children's digital media, we endeavor to discuss what's happening in technology, and how the digital revolution is affecting our children and their education.