Three Questions With Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh

Welcome back to "Three Questions With," the series where subscribers and friends of PJ Library get to know a different author, illustrator, musician, or other creative professional who helps bring the stories you love to life. Today we're chatting with Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh.

Jamie has participated in our "Three Questions With" series before and we've invited her back for a whole new set of questions to answer.

A bunch of animals in front of a castle

Best advice for kids who would like to become authors?

Remember that reading is as important as writing. It's how you learn from the pros! Read everything you write out LOUD, even if you feel silly doing it. That's how you catch mistakes and figure out which parts sound clunky. It's also how you find out which parts sound really good! Sometimes, I do my best writing by writing out loud. I talk and type at the same time.

What's your favorite book of all time?

I think this answer should change every day, or a few times a day. There is too much to read to be able to pick a favorite, and different books are favorites for different times and moods.

One "perfect" picture book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Read this slowly, out loud:

"he sailed off through night and day

and in and out of weeks

and almost over a year

to where the wild things are."

That is one of my favorite-ever uses of prepositions.

What are the elements of a good story?

When you start reading it, you feel like you're getting on an amusement park ride. Something exciting is about to happen, and you don't want to miss a second! The ride gets going, and you're having a blast. Things spin around, they get wild and crazy, and you almost don't want it to end! Finally, the ride slows down, and you come to a smooth and totally satisfying stop.

More About Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh

Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh is an author, editor, and lyricist.

Her children's books include the PJ Library selections Can You Hear A Coo-Coo?, A Hoopoe Says "Oop!", Listen! Israel's All Around, Hard Hat Cat, and Kol Hakavod: Way To Go!, as well as Matzah Craze, Rah! Rah! Mujadara, Explorer Academy: Future Tech (National Geographic Kids Books) and the upcoming titles Hanukkah At The Lowenthals' (Kalaniot Books) and Nerdlet: Tech (National Geographic Kids Books).

Jamie's current feature-writing "home" is National Geographic, where she started back in 1999 under editor Rachel Buchholz, who is now EIC and VP! Thanks to Nat Geo, Jamie is aware of tardigrades, and is suspicious of their planetary origin. As a lyricist, Jamie writes for ad campaigns and films. She is a member of SCBWI and a graduate of Wellesley College.

Jamie can be found on Twitter at @jkiffelalcheh and on Instagram at @jkiffel.