SOUP’S ON: Laura Vaccaro Seeger in the Kitchen!


photo by Laura’s son Dylan

Today, my friends, is a very special day: dogs are barking, bears are growling, and eggs are rolling, because today, Caldecott and Geisel Silver Award winning, New York Times bestselling children’s author/illustrator, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, is right here in the kitchen!

Laura is certainly no stranger to major awards, having received an Emmy for her work in television animation, and numerous accolades for every one of her ingeniously crafted concept books (The Hidden Alphabet, Lemons are Not Red, Walter Was Worried, Black? White! Day? Night!). Her first emergent reader, Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories, was named Boston Globe-Horn Book Best Picture Book for 2007. And then there’s First the Egg, Laura’s crowning glory.

This past January, First the Egg, a die-cut concept book about transformations, earned Caldecott and Geisel Honor Awards. It’s also a 2008 ALA Notable Book and 2007 New York Times Best Illustrated Book. Turn the page, and an egg becomes a chick. Turn another, and a seed becomes a flower; the next, and a tadpole becomes a frog. This organic process is ultimately transferred to the concept of creativity — “first the word, then the story; first the paint, then the picture,” which features a chicken, who then becomes an egg, bringing the cycle full circle. There is movement in the textured brushstrokes, and before you know it, the words and pictures have grown into an entire book. Beautiful, engaging, clever!

Recently, Laura, who lives on Long Island with her husband and two sons, very generously took time from her busy schedule to talk about her amazing books, her childhood, and what it feels like to get “the call” every children’s book creator dreams of. Oh, and she’s sharing a favorite recipe, of course!

Welcome to alphabet soup, Laura, and two big congratulatory hugs for winning Caldecott and Geisel Honor Awards for First the Egg! January 14th must have been a HUGE day for you. How did you find out that you had won both awards? Did you do anything special to celebrate?

Well, it is really very difficult to describe how it felt to receive those two phone calls. It’s something I’ve dreamed about every year since The Hidden Alphabet was published, never imagining that the dream could actually become a reality. In fact, a few years ago on the morning of the big announcements, I had a dream that I “got the call.” The dream was so real that even 20 minutes after I woke up, I wasn’t sure if it had actually happened or not. And, of course, when I finally realized that the call was truly just a dream, I spent the rest of that day moping around in despair. Now this year, more than a month after the actual calls, I am still pinching myself, worried that I am about to wake up any minute.

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