Author Interviews with Kelly Bennett


"Reading with your child fosters a love for reading. During the act of reading with a child, the physical closeness — the warmth of being touched and receiving focused attention — combined with the mental and emotional closeness of sharing and appreciating a story, creates a three-way bond between the adult and child and books. My friend and fellow writer, Tam Smith, calls this bond the "Vibrant Triangle." 

→ "Author-Mom Promotes Joy of Reading" with Lauren Daley, in South Coast Today 

“Coffee with an Author,” an interview with Internet talk-radio host Naomi Giroux, on

→ Listen to Kelly read Dance, Y’all, Dance.

Kelly and Sarah Ketchersid, her Candlewick Press editor, in Judy Bradbury's article in Children's Writer:

"Kelly was able to take a subject that's often treated very seriously and make it sound like the most fun thing in the world."

→ Download the full article as a PDF

"Texas and Oklahoma are all about country music—and two stepping and dance halls. When Max and Lexi were in high school, our family took Country Western Swing classes. We had a grand time! The idea for doing a book about families at the dance hall came to me while we were twirling around during practices."

→ Read the full article at Young Adult Books Central


Kelly's TV debut on KAMU-TV

“Brazos Valley Magazine with Sharon Colson”

Host Sharon Colson highlights DAD AND POP, YOUR DADDY WAS JUST LIKE YOU, with illustrations and author reading from DANCE, Y'ALL, DANCE. The excerpt above is presented with permission from KAMU-TV. It runs close to 7 minutes.

"When creating the book, I tried to look at life from the child's eye view—what does having two fathers mean to her? How does she feel about it? 

"To do this I had to create an imaginary scenario in which the character would be discussing and comparing her two fathers—hence the scrapbook style of the story. "

→ with Christina Lewis of

"Do I have a goldfish named Norman? Of course. He was named after my cat. In fact, I bought my first goldfish just to tease my cat... 

"I'd love to pretend there was some research or deep soul searching that went in to Not Norman, but honestly, my inner self isn't much older than eight, so it's not difficult for me to think and act like a child—my family says I do it all the time!" 

→ Author Interview: Kelly Bennett on Not Norman, with Cynthia Leitich Smith

"One of the most difficult (for me) decisions when writing is deciding when/where to enter a story. When I set about creating DAD AND POP... all I knew was that I wanted to write about a child with two fathers, but I couldn’t figure out where to begin.

"I allowed myself to get bogged down in the myriad of 'family dramas,' which could create such a situation: Were her parents divorced and remarried? Were her dads gay? Was she adopted? Did she switch houses every Wednesday? etc.

"Like a hammer, the truth hit finally me: While the 'drama' resulting in a child having two fathers could serve as the basis for a Lifetime Movie, it was of little importance to my character. After coming to this realization, DAD AND POP came easy.”

→ A Cynthia Leitich Smith’s “Cynsations” Guest Post— Kelly Bennett on Celebrating Fathers: Daddy, Father, Pop, Son, Cash and Cole

Orangutan Rescue Center in Jakarta Zoo

Orangutan Rescue Center in Jakarta Zoo

“I write what I know about — friendship, pets, family life,” says Kelly, “But I also write about things I want to know about.”

"Hands down, the most challenging aspect of writing a picture book is coming up with a good idea. I read these brilliant new stories and think, 'Dang, why didn't I think of that!' or worse, 'I thought of that, why didn't I write it!'"

— with Helen Kampion of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance (NCBLA)


"One must begin with an idea that is pertinent to children and 'big enough' to capture their attention . . .”

 → "A Passion for Picture Books," on

"My first published book was in collaboration with Ronnie Davidson. She and I met in a writing class when I was just beginning to learn about writing professionally. We used to get together in the morning, after taking the kids to school and before I had to go to work. We’d walk and talk and laugh and create stories together. SHERLICK HOUND AND THE VALENTINE MYSTERY was our first published book and we had a dog-gone good time creating it. We’ve been writing together [as Jill Max] ever since."

→ Interview with Author Kelly Bennett from The Writing Source.

Janni Lee Simner "Writing for the Long Haul" Series Guest Post: ReTired and Better For It!

A Cynthia Leitich Smith's "Cynsations" Guest Post: That Last Revision: Ruthless Bites