Margaret Chiu Greanias
Margaret’s favorite childhood memories include catching minnows and frogs in the “bayou” with her two older brothers, tooling around the neighborhood on her banana-seat bike, and reading piles of picture books at the cool, cool library during the hot Texas summer.
She wrote her first terrifically terrible book during the fourth grade. From grade school through college, she suffered through English—she was especially bad at analyzing stories and writing essays. Then, during her very last year of college, she took a class on creative writing and wow, she was hooked!
After decades of avid reading and writing practice, she is thrilled to finally be an author. Her debut picture book, MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS, was published in August 2018 by Running Press Kids.
She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, and a fluffle of dust bunnies.
Why I Love Writing Picture Books
I LOVE picture books. I am always in awe of the art. But I especially love the words and how they sound when I read them out loud. As a writer, the kid in me loves creating fun and fantastical scenarios that make me laugh. The adult in me loves playing with words—alliteration, assonance, rhyme, puns, and even making up words.
And, the side benefit of writing picture books is staying up-to-date with what's being published. I always have piles of picture books around the house. Every week, I raid the New Releases shelves at the library. At least, I have the excuse of a 4-yo at home!
When my oldest child was 3-years old, I re-read the book, “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” which I hadn’t picked up since I was little. For the first time, I understood the fun wordplay. At that point, I realized I wanted to write picture books, and it would appeal to both my kid and adult-sensibilities. So that is one of my favorites.
I also will never turn down the chance to read ""Where the Wild Things Are"" by Maurice Sendak and ""Interrupting Chicken"" by David Ezra Stein (I love doing the voices!).
I admire so many children's picture book authors including Tammi Sauer, Kelly diPucchio, Ame Dyckman, Michelle Knudsen, and Bonny Becker. Tammi Sauer is the queen of heart (and humor). My favorites of hers are "Mostly Monsterly," "Nugget and Fang," and "Your Alien." Kelly diPucchio is the queen of humor. My favorites of hers are "Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet," "Zombie in Love," and "Everyone loves Bacon." Ame Dyckman is the queen of creative. I love "Wolfie the Bunny" and "Misunderstood Shark." Michelle Knudsen and Bonny Becker are the queens of story -- I love Michelle's "Big Mean Mike" and "Library Lion" and all the Mouse and Bear stories by Bonny.
My advice for raising readers is to READ -- read a lot!
1) Be a bookworm and let your children see you enjoying books.
2) Read to them, and make it your special together time.
3) Let them choose books they want to read.