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Chatting with Klassen

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

Jon Klassen writes books for kids. He also makes pictures for the books. TIME for Kids asked him some questions about his work.

Did you always like to write and draw?


In the second grade, I started writing stories. And I drew pictures to go with them. I don’t like making pictures if there is not a story to go with them.

What is your process for creating a new book?


I start with a problem. That setup gives birth to characters. The characters have to feel natural. If they don’t, the book won’t work, even if it is funny.

How do you make pictures?


I do tests. I may paint 12 rocks. I will circle my favorite four. Then I scan scan PW scan OSCAR WONG—GETTY IMAGES to use a machine to make a digital copy of a picture or document (verb) She scanned her photos into her computer. them. On my computer, I will add them to my other illustrations. This is a drawing of a snake.

You have worked on many books. How do you know when a story is done?


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 try to change the idea of what an ending feels like.

What is your favorite part of writing books for kids?


Kids are careful readers. They focus hard on what they read. I can count on kids to pick up on details in my books. It is 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. .