Author Annette Whipple on Expository Nonfiction- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

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Hello world!!

Welcome to my book blog, Blissfully Bookish. For this last Q & A of 2021, please welcome a nonfiction author who does very well with expository literature: Annette Whipple. Check out her new book, Scurry! The Truth about Spiders, published by Reycraft Books. See her journey below…

BUT first- YAY! Annette is generously giving away a free signed copy of either Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls or Scurry! The Truth About Spiders (US only). All you have to do is comment on this blog post- contest ends Nov 25, 2021.

Please describe the journey to publication for this book.
As the third book in The Truth About series, this book’s journey was much easier than others since I knew the structure of the book and even knew some of the facts I wanted to research.

Where did you draw the book’s inspiration?
For this series, I knew I wanted to include animals that are often misunderstood. Spiders definitely qualify! Plus, they’re beautiful!

What is your writing process, and does it vary depending on the project?
My writing process is different, yet similar, for each book. I began by learning some general information about spiders. From there, I brainstormed what I might want to include. I shared my brainstorming method here. After brainstorming, I created a list of possible questions I might address in the book since it’s a question-and-answer picture book. Then, it was time to research! My research included lots of books, websites, and consulting with a couple of experts. I even held a tarantula during my research.

Please paste a short and compelling excerpt from your book.

“The spider controls what kinds of silk it makes. Thick or thin. Dry or sticky. The threads can stretch, but they’re strong—stronger than steel.”

What would you say are some of the ways in which to make nonfiction, especially expository, more commercial and engaging for children?

I love this question because it took years for me to figure out how to make my first book in this series, Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls, just right for the trade market. I actually put that manuscript aside for a couple of years while I was working on another book (The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide). When I returned to it, I had read hundreds more kidlit nonfiction titles. I knew my manuscript was too old for the topic, too long, and unfun. It was just too teacher-y. (I was a classroom teacher. This is not surprising.) Owls are fascinating, and I wanted everyone to know every fact I did. But that didn’t work.
So, I used all the same research. I completely changed the format to a question-and-answer picture book (or chapter book—I wasn’t certain when I began drafting). I rewrote the text to be much shorter and less detailed. I added humorous sidebars. I chose to make those sidebars from the owls’ perspectives. That means Whooo Knew (and all the books in this series) is officially informational fiction, despite the main text being expository.

Do you have other WIPs or projects in the pipeline you would like to mention?
Next year Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs and Meow! The Truth About Cats will be out with Reycraft books to make it a five-book series. I’m actively seeking an agent with some other manuscripts, too.

Please share your favorite books that have inspired you and served as mentor texts.
Ooo! I love this question. I have so many. How about I mention a few informational authors who I learn a ton from? Heather Montgomery, Sarah Albee, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Melissa Stewart, Steve Sheinkin, Jennifer Swanson, and so many more!

What is the best (one) piece of advice you would give to other writers?
The publishing world is hard. Don’t do it for the credits or money. Write for the joy of it.

And a bonus question just for kicks! If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I’m not going to choose a spider because too many people want to squash them. How about an owl? Or a firefly?

Annette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder while exciting readers about science and history. She’s the author of ten fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press), The Story of the Wright Brothers (Rockridge Press), and Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls (Reycraft Books). The Truth About series also includes books about dogs, spiders, frogs, and cats. When Annette’s not reading or writing, you might find her baking for her family in Pennsylvania. Get to know her and explore her resources for teachers and writers at


Twitter: @AnnetteWhipple

To buy:

18 thoughts on “Author Annette Whipple on Expository Nonfiction- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

    S. K. Wenger said:
    November 28, 2021 at 11:29 am

    What a fantastic series with excellent topics! Congratulations on bringing us more next year!


    mbhmaine said:
    November 23, 2021 at 5:22 am

    Whoa! What a wonderful cover! Thanks for a great interview and a sneak peek at this book. I’m definitely going to look into the other books in the series and appreciate the opportunity to win a copy of one of Lydia’s books. I’m off to check off the link to brainstorming now…


    ivankadimitrova said:
    November 22, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Congratulations on this wonderful series! I loved the brainstorming details. Lydia, thank you for an excellent post and interview!


    ivankadimitrova said:
    November 22, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Congratulations on this wonderful series and the upcoming book. Can’t wait to read it. I love the brainstorming details. Excellent! Lydia, thank you for this wonderful post and interview!


    Kim McD said:
    November 19, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Congrats! The book sounds fascinating and I know many students who would enjoy!


    chardixon47 said:
    November 19, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Congratulations Annette! I like spiders so this is a must read for me. 🙂 I always have a few house spiders-LOL They catch those annoying insects. Thank you for sharing your journey and process.

    Liked by 1 person

    katiefischerwrites said:
    November 18, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s really encouraging to see how you were able to put a story aside until the time was right.

    Liked by 1 person said:
    November 18, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    Wow! Congratulations, Annette! So many wonderful titles. I can’t wait to check out your series!

    Liked by 1 person

    Sarah Meade said:
    November 18, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    Congratulations, Annette! My littles and I love WHOOOOO KNEW? and we’re looking forward to reading SCURRY. Great title!

    Liked by 1 person

    cbloomy said:
    November 18, 2021 at 9:33 am

    I never squoosh an inside spider, but I do escort them back to the great outdoors. Can’t wait to read this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    seschipper said:
    November 17, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    Love this interview! Thanks do much for sharing!! The cover of SCURRY us incredible! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Angie said:
    November 17, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    Oooh, I love the cover! What a fabulous close-up! Spiders are pretty creepy and amazingly awesome. Can’t wait to read your book! Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    brennajeanneret said:
    November 17, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    OMG! My son is going to love this one! Big congrats 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Carolyn Bennett Fraiser said:
    November 17, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    YAY Annette! Great interview. This series looks absolutely A-MAZING! I’m not a fan of spiders (like most people) but you make them approachable — which is great for kids. Can’t wait to dive in.

    Liked by 1 person

    Joyce Uglow said:
    November 17, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Oh! Publishing with the incredible Reycraft Books is a dream. This series looks like a winner, too. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    Kim A Larson said:
    November 17, 2021 at 12:08 pm

    Congratulations, Annette! The series sounds fascinating and the photo of the spider is frightful yet hypnotic. Thanks for sharing about your books and process.

    Liked by 1 person

    Annette Whipple said:
    November 17, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Thanks so much for the fun interview, Lydia!

    Liked by 1 person

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