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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Robert Broder

Robert Broder is a children’s book author and founding publisher of Ripple Grove Press, an award-winning, picture book publishing company. Since he began building his skills and experience in publishing, he has read hundreds of picture books and thousands of submissions. He has a passion for well-told and beautifully illustrated books. Rob consults with writers and publishers as a developmental editor, ghost writer, and creative director.

Author photo of Robert Broder.

He lives in Vermont near Lake Champlain with his wife, daughter, two cats and a very old dog. He likes to drink coffee before his family is awake and likes to go for a run as the nocturnal animals head home to sleep.


Collage of the 6 book covers of Robert's picture books.

Robert’s the author of Ripple Grove, illustrated by Melissa Larson (2022), Better Than New: A Recycle Tale/Mejor Que Nuevo: Un Cuento de Reciclaje, illustrated by Lake Buckley (2022), Our Shed: A Father-Daughter Building Story, illustrated by Carrie O’Neill (2021), Crow and Snow, illustrated by Olivier Tallec (2020), Rabbit, Hare, and Bunny, illustrated by Bryan Langdo (2019), and Paul and his Ukulele, illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky (2018).


His newest picture book, Reading Together, was released on April 9th.


Welcome Robert!


Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? What is your favorite type of book to write?)

My favorite type of books are picture books. I’ve been writing for about 30 years, but really started putting much more time into my writing about 15 years ago. I’ve always jotted down little ideas or lines that popped into my head. Which is how I wrote Snow & Crow. I found an old journal entry years later that said a scarecrow says goodbye to a snow each spring. And from there, the story was developed. My favorite places to write are coffee shops, libraries, and my couch. My favorite places to stew and develop a story are on walks or runs through the farm or a wooded path.


I love your note that started Snow and Crow. What is one of the most fun or unusual places where you’ve written a manuscript?

I have written while sitting at a bar using their cocktail napkins, because I didn’t have my notebook with me. And I needed to get the idea down before it left my head.

Fun! Too bad the napkins aren't a bit bigger. Who was your favorite author, illustrator, and/or your favorite book as a child?

Book cover - little boy in a red snow suit looking over shoulder at his prints in the snow.

Ezra Jack Keats' A Snowy Day


Hmm, am I sensing a theme? What was your inspiration or spark of interest for Reading Together? 

Book cover - Family lying on the floor, with their dog, reading lots of books.

A few years ago, I was staring at my daughter’s bookcase and realized we hadn’t read a picture book in a while. All the ones we read every night, over and over… and I started to miss them. And then I started to reflect on all the different types of books, different genres over the years and how they inspired our family. How the stories became a part of us. So, I started jotting down some words.


Those books do become such an important part of early bedtime routines and later precious time together. It was interesting talking to my kids and finding out the ones they most remember (Tacky The Penguin by Helen Lester) and the ones I remember, too (I Love You The Purplest by Barbara Joosse). How long did it take from the first draft to publication for Reading Together?


I started writing “Reading Together” in 2019. Which went through many drafts. And I shared it with a publisher in 2021. And then got signed in 2022. And now it’s finally released in 2024. J


Shoot - having been a publisher doesn't reduce the number of drafts or revisions. 😊 What was the toughest aspect of writing Reading Together? And what was the most fun part of writing this book?

I think the toughest and most fun aspect about writing this manuscript are both the same. It’s the poem-y type style that I wrote in. I had never written a story in such freestyle form. So, I wasn’t too focused on adding dialogue. So, it just felt more relaxing, more me.


Interesting point. it works really well as you have written it. When you first saw Melissa Larson’s illustrations did anything surprise or amaze you? Which is your favorite spread, or one you really like?

I had worked with Melissa before with Ripple Grove, and another book when I was a publisher, so I knew I was getting an amazing artist behind this book.

Internal spread - Dad and Mom peeking into the room of a young girl curled up on her bed reading, surrounded by an imaginary sea.

Text © Robert Broder, 2024. Image © Melissa Larson, 2024.

My favorite spread is the last page where the girl is reading alone in her bed.

I sent Melissa a picture of my daughter reading alone in her room, that I snuck when she wasn’t looking, because I think it captures the whole point of the story.


It is a wonderful illustration. I love the way the girl's imagination, spurred by her book, surrounds her. Is there anything special you want your readers to know about Reading Together?

I think it’s one of my favorite things I’ve written. It just captures a special moment of reading to your child. And how reading books can inspire a child to grow up to be a reader and have a passion for books.


You definitely did that! Are there any projects you are working on now that you can share a tidbit with us?


I do have another project coming up that I’m very excited about, but I’ll have to wait a bit to start sharing it.


We'll have to keep our eyes open for upcoming news. What is your favorite National Park or Forest, regional park, or city park? Or the one you’re longing to visit. Why? 

Photo of Mount Mansfiled in Vermont © Jared C. Benedict.

© Jared C. Benedict

My favorite spots are hiking Mount Mansfield in Vermont, because I just have so much history hiking that mountain and its very special to me. And I love Arches and Canyonlands National Park in Moab Utah. Because it’s so unique and beautiful, and again, have fond memories hiking there.

It is really a beautiful mountain and park. Thank you, Robert for sharing about yourself and your new picture book with us.

Book cover - Family lying on the floor, with their dog and cat, reading lots of books.

Be sure to come back on Friday for the Perfect Picture Book #PPBF post on Reading Together.

For more information about Robert Broder, or to contact him:


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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