Interviewing Erik and Josie — Wednesday Worthy Kids!

May 9, 2012

For people who haven’t yet met Erik and his sister, Josie, they are both bloggers who are also very creative and inspiring people.

Erik’s blog can be found at This Kid Reviews Books, and that’s what the blog focuses on for the most part, his book reviews. Erik, aka “This Kid” is 10 years old, and writes excellent reviews of picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels from a kid’s perspective. He has a monthly book review column in his local newspaper.

I got to know Erik through PiBoIdMo in November 2011, where participants were challenged to come up with one picture book idea per day for the month. Erik and I were both successful in meeting that challenge. Our association has continued through the 12 x 12 in 2012 picture book writing challenge. Erik is also an active participant in Perfect Picture Book Fridays. I am honored to know Erik and to introduce him to those of you who don’t already know him.

His sister, Josie, is 8 years old, and is a talented artist. I’m especially partial to her dragons! Josie blogs at Animals and Art. She does all sorts of different types of arts and crafts … it’s great to see her at work on her projects.

Erik has a feature on his blog called Creative Kids, and that feature and Josie’s art will be our focus today. Because (drum roll here) I’m interviewing both of them today! (Note: Josie finds language expression and writing a bit of a challenge, so there are times when her Mom has added a few words in bracketed italics, to provide explanation or clarification.)

Me:  Erik, I’m going to link to Ms. Tulloch’s and Ms. Hershenson’s interviews of you so that people will know about your book reviews. For this interview, could you tell me about your plans and hopes for Creative Kids on your blog?

Erik: At first I wanted to just have other kids be guest reviewers on my blog, but then kids started sending me stories and artwork they did and I thought their work was really great. When I posted the things they sent me they would tell me how great it was that people from all over the world saw what they did. I decided to make a whole separate category, “Creative Kids” on my blog for things from kids other than reviews. I want to let kids express themselves and show off their talents to the world. What I hope is that by doing this, kids will be encouraged with their talents and it will help them feel good about themselves and maybe it will help them when they grow up.

 

Me:  Erik, could you tell us some of the creative things you do, to give my readers an idea of the variety of things kids can be involved in?

Erik: I think my blog is a creative thing. It has helped me become a better writer. I also like to write poetry and draw (with pencils and pens). I am writing a book called “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea – Part One, The Adventure Begins” and I also write a column about books for our local free newspaper, The Upper Bucks Free Press (something I NEVER thought I could do). I am learning to play the trumpet and I lived in Antarctica for four months with penguins (just kidding).

 

Me:  First I have to giggle about the penguins! 🙂 Erik, how would you encourage other kids to explore their creativity?

Erik: Do what you like and find other people who like to do the same thing. You can learn from them and they will help you. Try something different, something you never thought you would like to do (or wouldn’t be good at). Playing a musical instrument is something I never thought I would like. I do like it and it makes me happy even though I’m not very good at it (I don’t let that bother me). Like Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus says “Get out there and make some mistakes!”

 

Me:  Josie, I really like looking at all the different kinds of art you do. Could you tell us some of the things you do in arts and crafts?

Josie: I like to paint the most of all. I paint with brushes or my hands. I like to enter art contests. I like to do anything colorful and pretty. I color with crayons and markers and draw animals.  I make jewelry from the rocks I make {in my rock tumbler}. I make braided jewelry too. I like to make sculptures out of clay and things I find in our yard. I can sew too. I made a pillow for me and a sleeping bag for my doll.

 

Me: Josie, what do you like most about doing art?

Josie: I am happy when I make things. I am proud of my projects – A LOT! It makes me think. I like to think. { I think what Josie is trying to say is that she can concentrate when she is doing an art project. This is something that is difficult for her in everyday life}

 

Me:  Josie, do you like doing your blog? If another kid wanted to do a blog, would you say yes?

Josie: Yes. I like my blog. I like to put my pictures and artwork on but writing is hard. My mom and Dad help me type. Erik writes more than me but I like my pictures. Yes I want to see more kids blogs and artwork!

 

Me: Both of you, you’re both very creative kids, and you’re always doing cool stuff. What sort of projects are you going to be doing next, do you know?

Erik: Right now Josie and I are working on a “Self” project for Youth Tube. Kids 12 and under can submit a self-portrait and tell a little about themselves. I am also working on a stop-motion Lego movie I am making using an app on my ipod. It’s pretty cool to learn how to do stop-motion! Over the summer I want to finish the edits on my “Tomato and Pea” book. Right now I am working on a skit I have to do as part of my requirement for getting my black belt in Taekwon do. I am writing a script and I asked Josie if she will be one of the actors in it (she said she would). We have to perform it in front of the students at my school.

Josie: I am making my “Self” picture. I just made a new cover for “We are in a Book” {by Mo Willems} for an art contest. I posted the picture {I made} on my blog. Erik and I are going to make a picture book together when we are out of school {this summer}. I am going to tell him what I want to say and we will make pictures for it.

 

Me:  Both of you, if a kid wants to submit something to Creative Kids, how can they do that?

Erik: If ANY kid wants to submit anything creative (as long as it is appropriate) they can send it to

Erik (at) ThisKidReviewsBooks (dot) com!

 

Thanks so much to both of you for doing this interview with me. It was fun!

If anyone would like to read interviews about Erik’s writing and reviews, you can read Diane Tulloch’s interview and Sandi Hershenson’s interview. Enjoy!

50 People reacted on this

  1. Well firstly, I am a huge fan of Erik and Josie’s blogs and talent….

    Erick you totally had me on the penguins and Antarctica, I love how you don’t overuse humor but just bring it in at the unexpected moments to trip up the reader 🙂 I think opening up your blogs to showcase other kids talents is fantastic and can only benefit all of us in clouding you!

    Josie, I love your pictures and I love how your blog is so totally different than Erik’s. I wouldn’t sweat the writing, focus on your artistic talent, which I am discovering, is much broader than I realized!

    Good luck on your “Self Project”, both of you, and thanks for such a fun interview.

    1. He had me with that penguins thing, too, at first. I can totally imagine that as an experience that family would embrace!

      I can hardly wait until Erik and Josie read all these comments!

  2. You know Erik, if you hadn’t said just kidding, I would have believed you’d spent 4 month in Antarctica! You do so many amazing things, what’s one more? 🙂 As you know, I am a fan of your blog and I love your Creative Kids feature – I think all kids should be encouraged to be creative. And Josie, I love your art, and I am amazed at all the different kinds you do. I think it’s really neat that you make jewelry and braided jewelry (I’m not even sure what that is!) My brother had a rock tumbler when we were kids and it was really loud! I think it’s great that you guys are both so creative and that you do things together. Good luck with all your projects! And Beth, thanks for a great interview!! 🙂

    1. I’m so delighted that Erik and Josie were willing to be interviewed — I enjoyed this as much as everyone else! I’m eager for them to read all these comments.

  3. Bravo Erik and Josie. You certainly are inspirations. Whenever I tell people my passion is writing children’s books, they often respond that they have a child who wants to write or illustrate. “How can they get started,” they wonder? I always point them to you two.

  4. Josie and Erik are both such neat kids. I love how active they are and how they both like to improve at what they try. They’re both going places! I especially like to read their blogs (and so do my kids). Great interview!

    1. Thanks so much, Michelle, for dropping by. I recognize you from Erik’s blog. They are totally wonderful kids!

  5. It’s just so exciting to see to young and artistic kiddos getting a chance to do what they love to do: Write and Draw. Kudos to their parents for encouraging them 🙂

  6. Thanks Beth for interviewing this dynamic duo! Showcasing their creative strengths and aspirations. I too was fooled by the penguins for a second, and think, how is it that Erik’s timing is so perfect and how is it that I fall for it every time! Yet honored to be ‘had’ by such a cool kid (lad would have rhymed, but let’s not get started!).
    Josie is an inspiration to me, with such fabulous artistic energy. It may erupt in the visual but oozes into so many other areas. I wonder what ‘mealtime’ in their household looks like, because their parents must be feeding them something filled with wonder, mystery and excitement, as well as tomatoes, peas and brussel sprouts!

    1. “Dynamic Duo” — the perfect moniker for these two! I love your thought about mealtime in their house — their house must be an amazing place.

  7. What wonderful and challenging work Erik and Josie are doing. You two are role models for other kids who want to become empowered to use their God given talents. Great interview Beth.

    1. Thanks, Brenda. They are such great role models, and so eager to learn. It’s so great to be associated with them.

  8. […] Before I get to today’s review, I want to tell you that Beth Stilborn of the “By Word of Beth” blog asked my sister Josie and me to do an interview about being “Creative Kids”. Ms. Stilborn has a great blog that I learn a lot from. This month she is blogging about “different ways of seeing” and this week she is blogging about kids’ art. Please check it out HERE! […]

    1. Jarm — thank you. Erik and Josie are amazing kids, and their parents must be equally amazing. Thanks for your encouragement of the kids!

  9. What a great interview!

    Erik, you never cease to surprise me and I just love hearing about all your projects. Looking forward to when we see your book completed… I love also that you work with your sister on projects, nice to see.

    Josie, you are a girl after my own heart. I loved art as a kid and did a lot of drawing back then. Your pictures are just wonderful. Love that you also do jewellery, I know a friend here who collects rocks also.
    You have a very lovely blog.

    The two of you are an inspiration to kids everywhere in the world. Love what you do also that you work together on some projects is wonderful. A true credit to your Parents who must be very, very proud of you both. I know we are!
    Thankyou Beth, also for the link!

    1. Thanks for your great comments for Erik and Josie, Diane! I can hardly wait until they read everyone’s words. And you’re welcome (for the link)!

  10. Great to hear from both Erik and Josie. They both always amaze me with their talent, compassion and endless energy. It was fun seeing them featured together. I too believe they have tremendous futures ahead of them. They are so open to trying new things — like that the most! Your parents have given you both a lot of freedom and support to explore and grow into unique kids. Can’t wait to see what you both are doing 10-15 yrs from now. Thank you Beth for featuring them today.

    Pat

  11. wonderful interview. it is great to see your and your sister impassioned in your interests. i look forward to showing your sites to my girls when they are a little older. they are only 6 and 4 now. interesting we have a rock tumbler too, maybe if my girls find out they can make jewelry they will use it more often.

    1. Maybe your girls will be more interested in their rock tumbler when they’re just a little older. I think Josie just got hers recently. But yes, the jewelry might pique their interest!

  12. I love both Erik and Josie’s blog. I tend to visit Erik’s more and enjoy his recommendations and ability to post all the time (I can’t keep up!) Good luck with all of your upcoming projects!

  13. Erik and Josie,
    You two are awesome! How do you find time to do all these blogs? Are you homeschooled? I’m going to have my 9 yr old daughter read this interview about you guys. I love your project ideas for the summer!

    1. Thank you Ms. Cho! I have a schedule that I follow and Josie posts when she wants to let people see her animals and art. We both go to public school. I hope your daughter is inspired by the interview to do something she would LOVE to do!

  14. What a fantastic interview! Erik, I enjoyed learning about your other interests and talents besides reading and writing. I, too, would have believed you’d lived with the penguins since it’s clear you can do anything you set your mind to! Thanks, too, for introducing me to your sister Josie’s blog. Josie, you are so creative and talented. I am a writer, but I don’t “make” things at all, and I’m always amazed by people who do. You and my daughter (9) would have a lot in common. Maybe I should get her to start blogging! 🙂

  15. Thank you Beth for interviewing the terrificJosie and Erik!

    (Like Josie, I am a little sister, so I deliberately listed her name first. At our house it was ALWAYS ‘Craig and Cathy’ so I like to switch it up for little sisters when I can!)

    You both have impressive drive and energy for your creative passions. I can’t wait to see what you will have achieved in 10 years time!

    1. Thanks, Cathy, for being sensitive to the feelings of the little sister, and for sensitizing me to that, as well. As an only child, I don’t have the experience of being in a “list” of kids, and it’s so good to get a little sister’s perspective!

      I’m with you in being eager to see what Josie and Erik achieve as their lives progress.

    1. Thanks, Eric, for your words for Erik! (I’m so glad the two of you spell your names differently! It makes it much easier for the rest of us…)

    1. Thank you so much Niamh, for letting us know about Erik and Josie’s pictures. I’ll do a “late breaking news” post so that people find the link.

  16. […] and Josie mentioned in their interview here yesterday that they would be submitting their self-portraits to Youth Tube, and Niamh Clune left a comment on […]

    1. Cuddles just HAD to get in on the fun! So glad you’re having fun with this, Erik — we had such a good time putting it together. Merry Christmas! Happy birthday! Happy Christmas! Merry birthday! 😀

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