David Zeltser, author of “Ninja Baby,” visited Hatch Elementary School and Wilkinson School last week and the book was a hit –—particularly among those with little brothers and sisters.
“Ninja Baby” is a picture book about a baby named Nina who is born with ninja skills. Everything is going well for Nina until her parents bring home a Kung Fu master in the form of a new little brother.
The story resonated with students, many of whom have younger siblings. They laughed out loud as Zeltser read how Ninja Baby waged war against her new baby brother.
In addition to entertaining the crowd, Zeltser also provided aspiring authors a glimpse into the publishing process.
“A lot of writing and publishing is working in collaboration with other people and realizing how much more they can bring,” advised Zeltser as he spoke to students at Hatch. “And what they can do with your work, and giving them the freedom to do that.”
Zeltser didn’t forget about the budding artists in the audience. He shared a glimpse into the world of Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Diane Goode.
A photo of Goode’s artist studio flashed on the big screen as Zeltser touched on the synergy between art and story.
“The first thing that happens is that we have the words,” said Zeltser. “The publisher picks the artist. Then the artist really digs into the characters and tries to figure out who these characters really are.”
Zeltser also talked about his inspiration for “Ninja Baby,” a mash up between his experiences as a new big brother and those of a new parent.
“I was the only child for quite a while,” said Zeltser, speaking about his childhood in Russia.
“I got to do a lot of fun things as an only child. I got to kind of make my own way and have lots of adventures.”
“And then, just like Nina, someone new arrived in my family. My sister Sarah was born, and I noticed that things changed pretty quickly.”
“Ninja Baby” is Zeltser’s second published book. He has also written “Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age” and has three more books in the works.
“There’s going to be ‘Stinker’ about a supposedly unadoptable dog,” said Zeltser. “There’s going to be ‘The Universe Ate My Homework,’ which is about a girl who is very curious about black holes.”
The third book is: Lug, Book 2, which is called “Lug, Blast from the North,” due on store shelves in 2016.
When asked if he had any advice for Coastside artists hoping to become published, he had the following pieces of writing wisdom.
“Write what you want to read. Keep reading what you want to read. And when you run out of things … when you’re like, ‘I wish there was more of this,’ then write it.”