We had the opportunity to chat with Lana Button, the author of What if Bunny’s Not A Bully? Read on to learn more about Lana and her writing!

Q: Where do you find the inspiration for your books?

A: Sometimes I find inspiration in the experiences I see children going through. I was inspired to write Raj’s Rule for the Bathroom at School (Owlkids), illustrated by Hatem Ali, after spending lots of time in classrooms where children struggled with the transition from using the bathroom at home to using the bathroom at school, and I wanted to help. My Teacher’s NOT Here! (Kids Can Press), illustrated by Christine Battuz, was inspired by seeing firsthand the struggles some children in my class would face when their teacher was away or when there was a disruption to their typical routine.

I also find inspiration in the words and phrases that catch my ear. For me, a picture book is very musical. The catchy, fun, lyrical way a sentence sounds can often spark a story for me. In wanting to write a story about social-emotional conflict with young children, the phrase “Was Bunny born a bully?” came to me. I loved the alliteration. In repeating it, a rhyme and a musicality came out, “Is that the reason why? Was she the bully baby who made all the babies cry?” And I suddenly had my story! What if Bunny’s NOT a Bully? (Kids Can Press), illustrated by Christine Battuz.

Q: What were your favourite books when you were a kid? As a young reader, did you see yourself in the books you read?

A: I had some treasured Little Golden Books and always loved them read aloud, like The Train to Timbuctoo by Margaret Wise Brown. With each read, I found The Monster at the End of This Book joyfully terrifying.

I felt immense pride in being able to read Clifford the Big Red Dog by myself. It was my Grade 1 library book, week after week. The story had the perfect amount of emotion and drama for me.

I found a few of my mom’s old books at my grandparents’ house. I imagined myself in the adventures of Trixie Beldon and read her mysteries over and over again.

In the library, I found the book Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink, about two young girls who have been shipwrecked on an island with four babies they must care for, and found myself in the characters as I’ve always loved being around young children and this adventure fascinated me.

Q: What’s the most surprising thing you have learned when creating your books?

A: To my delightful surprise, stories keep coming. It was a dream come true to publish my first book Willow’s Whispers (Kids Can Press), illustrated by Tania Howells. Did I dare to dream about publishing another? I found that each story written fueled a desire to write one more. I am excited to have recently signed my twentieth book contract and look forward to writing many more stories. It is the most precious surprise when I hear feedback from a young reader that a story I have written has helped them.

Q: What is a challenge you have faced as a writer?

A: Being patient is my biggest challenge. Most of the time, if I let stories sit for a bit before sharing them with others, I can improve them with further editing. I have to fight the urge to send a brand-new story out right away as soon as I’ve fallen in love with it.

I also need to be patient in waiting to hear back from editors who are considering my story. It can be months before I find out if an editor likes my story. I try to stay optimistic about those stories that are being considered by publishers and keep my focus and concentration on writing new stories while I wait.

Q: What advice do you have for kids who are interested in writing?

A: Enjoy the process of creating stories. Stretch your imagination every day, like it’s a muscle, and it will get stronger. Before you put a pencil in your hand, play your story out in your head like a movie. I like to imagine my stories while I go for a walk or when I’m still lying in bed in the morning, or before I doze off to sleep at night. And don’t be afraid to change your story. Try it out with a different character or put your character in a different setting to see if that adds a fun twist to your story.

Thank you for this fun opportunity to chat! I love to keep in contact through social media and can be found on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, @LanaButton