October 16

Parma Third Graders Interview Oliver Jeffers

My students love everything written by Oliver Jeffers. His new book, Once Upon An Alphabet is one of the hottest books in our third grade classroom. When I was given the opportunity to interview Mr. Jeffers for Nerdy Book Club, it seemed only fitting to have my third graders to conduct the interview instead. We hope you enjoy the interview!


Why did you decide to write about the alphabet?

I had lots of ideas for the start of stories, but none big enough to fill a whole book, so I thought a collection of short picture books was a good idea. I made it an alphabet book as that seemed like a good structure to put them all into, and save me meandering off into the completely obscure.

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Why do you write funny books?

I don’t necessarily mean to write funny books. They just come out that way. I keep trying to write serious books but funny things keep happening.

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I’m 8. I want to be an author. What do I need to do?

To be an author you need to look and listen a lot. And write a lot. And read a lot. And share your stories with people. And enjoy doing all of that.

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How did you come up with all these story ideas?

-I get my ideas by watching the world around me, reading books, listening to conversations and drawing things. Big ideas are often just a combination of small ideas, and you never know when they will come together in your head. The brain is funny like that, when you’re not trying to come up with an idea, that’s often when you do.

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Did you ever write a story that you thought was terrible, but other people liked?

-All of them are like that. Sometimes I think everything I do is brilliant, and sometimes everything I do is an utter failure. It depends on the day.

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Oliver Jeffers was born in Australia and bred in Belfast. Following his highly-acclaimed debut, HOW TO CATCH A STAR, he has gone on to create a collection of award-winning and bestselling picture books which have been translated into 29 languages around the world. Oliver thinks his favorite letter is possibly ‘O’ because it’s his first initial, because he was born in October and because it’s well-rounded. There are even two of them in Brooklyn, where Oliver now lives and works.

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Mr. Sharp’s third graders love learning, swinging on the tire swing, playing kickball, and all 26 letters of the alphabet. You can follow them on Twitter at @sharpleaders116.