Erin Entrada Kelly, children’s author and 2018 Newbery Medal winner, was in Pittsburgh on Sunday for the Words and Pictures lecture series. She kept me laughing throughout her talk. With humor and honesty, she spoke about her childhood and her writing process. Oh, and, exactly what it felt like to win the Newbery Medal for her middle grade novel, Hello, Universe.

Erin Entrada Kelly, photo credit: Words and Pictures Lecture Series

Erin Entrada Kelly, photo credit: Words and Pictures Lecture Series

My takeaways from Erin Entrada Kelly’s talk:

She does her best thinking when she’s driving. I often do, too. I took a writing webinar a couple of weeks ago that echoed this idea that sometimes our most creative moments can happen when our brain is busy with other things that don’t require creativity. Things like driving, showering, cleaning around the house. Does this happen to you?

All her books start by filling up a notebook with ideas and writing longhand. She prefers this sensory experience – the scent of her pen, the tactile feeling of putting pen to paper. Writing initially on a computer feels impersonal to her. 

She loved reading and writing as a kid, dreaming that one day she might become an author. Dreams can come true!

She loves palindromes, words that are spelled the same forward and backward. Tacocat!

She hopes we keep hold of our sense of wonder about the world. The power of imagination can inspire us and get us through hard times. Also, treat kids with respect, ask their opinions on things and don’t make their experiences seem unimportant. Sounds to me like she’s got the perfect attitude for an author who writes for children.


To learn more about Erin Entrada Kelly, visit:


Thanks for reading!