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Ask the Author

MEET AN AUTHOR Jon Klassen writes and illustrates books for kids. COURTESY MORANNE KEELER

Jon Klassen is an author and illustrator. He’s written four books for kids. They have been published in many languages. TIME for Kids asked Klassen five questions about his work.

Jon Klassen makes picture books. He’s an author and illustrator.

COURTESY CANDLEWICK

Did you always like to write and draw?

Klassen has been writing and drawing stories since he was little.

COURTESY JON KLASSEN

In the second or third grade, I started writing stories. And I drew pictures to go with them. I still sort of work that way. I don’t have a huge interest in making pictures if there’s not a story.

What’s your process for creating a new story?

I don’t start with an ending in mind, or even a whole story. I start with the setup. Hopefully, that setup gives birth to some characters. The characters have to feel natural. If I feel like I’m forcing them to do what they’re doing, the book won’t work, even if the setup is funny.

How do you know a story is finished?

Klassen’s books have been published in many languages.

COURTESY JON KLASSEN

I tinker tinker PW tinker THOMAS BARWICK—GETTY IMAGES to make small changes to something (verb) Josh tinkered with the car to get it running again. with it until it feels like it has ended. I like to try to change the idea of what an ending feels like. It might not be a traditional traditional CADAPLE—IMAGE SOURCE/GETTY IMAGES based on custom, or the usual way that a person or group does things (adjective) It's traditional to serve turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. ending. But it will still cause something to click in your head, so you say, “That’s done.”

How do you make pictures?

COURTESY JON KLASSEN

I do a lot of tests. I might paint 12 big rocks on a page. I’ll circle my favorite four rocks. Then I scan them. On my computer, I assemble those rocks with all my other pieces. I try to make the page feel cohesive cohesive pw cohesive STRETCH PHOTOGRAPHY—GETTY IMAGES sticking together; making sense (adjective) My teacher gave me tips on how to write a cohesive story. .

What is your favorite part of writing books for kids?

These kids are learning about a book called Square. Klassen illustrated it.

COURTESY JON KLASSEN

Kids are careful readers, and they focus hard on what they read. I can count on kids to pick up on details. It’s an honor honor pw honored DAVE & LES JACOBS—GETTY IMAGES something that makes you proud; a privilege (noun) I had the honor of being chosen as the student of the month. .

Out Now

SHAY MAUNZ FOR TIME FOR KIDS

The Rock from the Sky is Jon Klassen’s newest book. It contains five stories about three animals. It’s also about friendship, jealousy, and the future. Like all of Klassen’s books, this one begins with a problem: There’s a giant rock falling from the sky. And it’s heading straight for the turtle. What will happen next?

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