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Kid Interview with John Rocco on Book ‘Blizzard’

Preview copy received

John Rocco is one of my son’s favorite illustrators. Have you seen the beautiful artwork in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians? The Kane Chronicles Box Set? Heroes of Olympus? Those were all done by the talented John Rocco. When I told my son that John Rocco was coming out with a new children’s book, Blizzard, for the holidays, he could not wait to interview the author and illustrator.

Together as a family, we read the new children’s book, Blizzard that is based on a true life experience that John Rocco had during the infamous Blizzard of 1978. My children enjoyed every word of the story while admiring the beautiful artwork in the book.

Blizzard is truly the best new holiday book of the season and will be a great addition to your beloved holiday book collection at home. It will make a great holiday gift or a new book to read to your children during the holidays at bedtime.

Blizzard blog tour banner

Learn more about the author with this special Q&A between my 12-year-old and John Rocco.

How can you go from drawing pictures for tweens to drawing pictures for young kids?

It’s funny you ask that, because I never really think about it. When I am making a picture I am usually focused on what the story makes me feel, and that in turn will dictate how I will execute the image.

Is it easy or is it hard?

The simple answer is that if it is worth doing, it’s probably hard. I heard that somewhere but not sure who to attribute it to. I think the imagery I create for younger children is more difficult because it requires a lot of editing. I have to carefully choose what to leave out. I think younger children have much more active imaginations, so you can make a painting with no background save for a couple lines and they will fill it in with their minds. I am still struggling to make images that work on that level.

When did you start drawing?

Like every kid I drew from early on, but I never took it seriously until I was already in college. I had a roommate who made his living as an illustrator and that really inspired me to pursue illustration.

Was it hard in real life during the Blizzard?

For us kids it was a wonderland. School was closed, our parents were home, there was this crazy white landscape outside to play in. Did I mention school was closed? I think for many adults the situation was a lot more difficult.

Do you prefer drawing for young kids or tweens?

I really don’t have a preference, and I also love the fact that I can work in both of these sections of children’s literature. I seem to have a really good balance going on right now between the Percy Jackson art that I do and my own picture books.

Is this the first book where you were the author and the illustrator?

No, Blizzard is actually the sixth book I have both written and illustrated. The others are “Wolf Wolf!”, “Moonpowder”, “Fu Finds the Way”, “Blackout” and “Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom”. I have also co-written a young adult novel entitled “Swim That Rock”

What are you working on next?

Currently I am creating the illustrations for Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, written by Rick Riordan. I am in the middle of a painting of Daedalus and Icarus. Lots of feathers and melting wax…

What is the inspiration for your drawings?

I get inspired by all sorts of things, but mostly I am inspired by the children’s book illustrators whose work was at the forefront during the late 1800’s through the 1930’s. Artists like Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, N. C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish.

How many books have you written or drawn?

Blizzard is the fifteenth book I have illustrated. I have also illustrated over fifty book jackets. Wow, that’s a lot now that I think about it.

What message do you hope that children will get from your new book?

I am not exactly sure my book has a “message” per say, it’s more of an adventure tale. I feel like this was an unusual event at an earlier time, a time when kids had great adventures and parents didn’t have to worry about where their children were, because the neighbors all looked after one another. I like recording those moments.

Ps. I am am a big fan of your illustrations

Thanks Andrew! And thanks for having me stop by your blog!

Don’t miss getting the all-new holiday book Blizzard that will be in stores on November 17th.


Follow the blog tour for this exciting new book online

Thursday, November 6 Mundie Kids
Friday, November 7 Kid Lit Frenzy

Monday, November 10 The Children’s Book Review
Tuesday, November 11 The Kids Did It
Wednesday, November 12 OC Mom Media
Thursday, November 13 As They Grow Up
Friday, November 14 Curling Up With a Good Book

Monday, November 17 Ben Spark
Tuesday, November 18 Mr. Schu Reads
Thursday, November 20 Elizabeth Dulemba

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