Amy Hauer is an avid reader, a lover of non-fiction and children’s picture books. She is also an avid photographer, her camera never far from her hand. The Emily Grace Series, which teaches preschoolers to read, uses her photography to illustrate each adventure. Amy lives in upstate New York with her husband and three daughters—all of whom provide much inspiration for her stories—but her youngest daughter serves as the subject of the Emily Grace Series.
Welcome to my blog, Amy. Please tell us about your children’s books, The Emily Grace Series.
Thank you so much for having me. What an honor! Well, The Emily Grace books are non-fiction tales about a young girl’s real adventures as she visits, discovers and interacts with the world around her. Whether it’s a flower shop, a garden with worms, or picking pumpkins and apples, each story is different. Emily Grace is naturally curious about everything and through these books, young readers can discover things as she does. Each book is designed to help children build their reading skills through sight words and repetition.
Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
Inspiration comes from so many things in my life. I am an artist and love to create, so ideas come from everything around me. My children are a big inspiration! I also spent the last 13 years as a preschool teacher, so I know what the children I taught loved to read: books that engaged them and held their attention. Adventure was a big part of that, and any book that they can feel a part of they wanted to hold onto. I found that there were books that weren’t written for this age group, but should be. I love nature and how things work. I love the seasons and how things change. I also love the idea that I can give something to the kids I taught that they hadn’t seen: interaction through their natural world. By inviting them into Emily Grace’s world, they can go along for the adventure as if they were there.
What kind of research did you have to do?
Being that this series is non-fiction, I needed to research how things grow. Emily Grace Goes Pumpkin Picking shows how seeds change into plants by showing the life cycle of the pumpkin in a kid-friendly way. With both Emily Grace Plants a Garden and Emily Grace Goes to a Flower Shop, our research came from visiting a flower shop and talking with the staff, and then capturing Emily Grace learning from hands-on experience. One of the best parts of Emily Grace Plants a Garden came when Emily discovered a group of worms digging their own holes in the dirt as she dug holes for her flowers. By experiencing that, she was able to both see and learn just how valuable worms are for a garden. In the coming months, The Emily Grace series will find her visiting the NASA Space Center in Florida, as well as an aquarium, a veterinarian, a fire station, and an emergency medical services provider in her “People in Our Community” books.
Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about her.
Emily Grace is the young girl in each of The Emily Grace series books. She is naturally curious about the world around her. She loves to ask why—a lot. Emily Grace, like most children her age, looks at the world with eyes wide open. She often sees things with a curiosity we adults have lost. I found that by joining Emily Grace, as both the author and photographer, I was able to chronicle her adventures as she navigates the world around her while learning about things at the same time.
Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
I am quite good at doing a rooster impression and a witch’s cackle. Hey, maybe that’s an idea for two more Emily Grace books. Emily Grace on a farm and going out on Halloween!
HAHA! Thank you very much, Amy, for this awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your children’s books.