Best-Selling Author Inspires Students

Author-Illustrator Peter Brown Shares Creative Process
Posted on 02/01/2018
Peter Brown VisitNew York Times best-selling author Peter Brown surprised elementary students this week when he told them it took him seven years to write his first children’s chapter book and that it takes about a year to write and illustrate a picture book.

Peter Brown, author of the children’s novel “Wild Robot” and numerous picture books including “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild,” “Children Make Horrible Pets,” “My Teacher is a Monster” “The Curious Garden,” shared his creative process and where he gets inspiration with students at Westmoor, Greenbriar and Meadowbrook Schools Jan. 30-Feb. 1.

“It’s amazing that it took that much time (to write ‘Wild Robot’) and how much he had to think about it and not give up,” said Westmoor student David Kaminsky.

The students learned other interesting facts such as:
• Roz the robot got her name from the first robot story ever written, “Rossum’s Universal Robots.”
• Roz is powered by solar energy, though most of the technology used to build Roz is not yet invented.
• It takes Mr. Brown an average of three days to finalize one illustration, from concept to ready to print, and there are 65 illustrations in “Wild Robot.”

Brown visits about 20 schools a year, he said, and enjoys seeing children’s reactions to his work.

“There’s nothing like seeing (kids’) reaction firsthand with my own stories. To see what jokes work, what they react to, that is great information for my next project,” he said.

Brown lives in New York and grew up in New Jersey, inspired by his grandfather, who was an artist.
Brown studied painting and drawing in college with the intent on becoming an animator, until he took a class in children’s books.

“The nice thing about children’s books is, where animation needs hundreds of people to make it come to life, you can do it by yourself in a picture book,” he said. “I think of my picture books as short films where I’m the director, writer, producer, and I design the lighting and costumes and write all the dialog. So its kind of the best of both worlds.”

A Westmoor third-grader, Sydney Rubin, summed up the value of his visit:
“He’s very inspiring and I want to accomplish what he accomplished one day,” she said.
Brown’s second novel, “Wild Robot Escapes” will be released March 13.
Peter Brown signs birthday hat
Mr. Brown signs Emily Peterson's birthday hat while he was visiting Meadowbrook School Jan. 30.
Westmoor students enjoy lunch with Peter Brown
Westmoor students enjoy lunch with Peter Brown.