Author shows how to ‘cook’ a book

Author Amy E. Sklansky gives a presentation, “Cooking a Book,” on Thursday at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library. Sklansky talked about the special “ingredients” she uses in making a book. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)


Journal Staff Writer

ISHPEMING — Children’s author Amy E. Sklansky donned a chef’s hat while talking to kids and adults on Sept. .7 at the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library, but not to cook food.

Instead, she demonstrated “Cooking a Book,” which was the subject of her presentation that showed the various “ingredients” that go into creating a book.

Sklansky used one of her books, “These Little Piggies Go to the Beach,” as an example.

The “piggies” in her book take part in many activities at the beach — making sand castles, licking an ice cream cone and even taking a group selfie using a cell phone.

Wearing a chef costume, she told the audience that chefs cook tasty food.

“I would like to think of creating books as creating delicious things to read, just as a chef creates delicious things to eat,” Sklansky said.

Some of the first ingredients she uses to “cook” a book, she noted, are ideas and inspiration.

Sklansky asked the audience whether they ever did something for fun, such as going to the beach.

“Maybe that’s going to give you an idea for something to write,” she said.

Into her cooking pot at the presentation she put items such as other books, a journal with memories and poetry.

“Now we’re going to stir it and stew it,” she said. “There’s more to it.”

The next ingredient was a rough draft, followed by multiple revisions.

“I’m spicing it up every time,” Sklansky said of the revisions.

Then came pictures that she noted aren’t typically chosen by an author, but by the publisher — and yes, those pictures undergo revisions too.

People behind the scenes, such as editors and designers, also add to a book, she said.

She also asked the audience to guess how many colors of ink it takes to print a book. Guesses varied, but the correct answer was only four: red, blue, yellow and black.

Sklansky also pointed out that it would take two years to create the finished book — a lot of “stirring.”

Sklansky is the author of 12 books, including “From the Doghouse – Poems to Chew on,” “The Duck Who Played the Kazoo” and “Skeleton Bones & Goblin Groans,” among others.

“These books are actually very popular at our library,” said Heather Lander, ICPL children’s librarian.

For more information on the author, visit www.amysklansky.com.

Sklansky’s parents grew up in the area, so the Upper Peninsula is not unfamiliar to her.

“I spent every summer up here growing up, and it’s sort of my happy place,” she said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 550. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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