Author Spotlight: Kari Ann Gonzalez with How to Hatch a Reader

Happy Monday and welcome to Glitter Reviews!

Today we are excited to feature Kari Ann Gonzalez on Author Spotlight. Gnome Road Publishing will publish her witty and funny picture book How to Hatch Reader on August 15, 2023. Rachel Suzanne did the humorous illustrations.

Summary from Goodreads:

Learning to read can be tricky, but a good teacher can make all the difference!

When your feathered friends start begging for books, you want to be ready with all the right tools. First, find a cozy place to rest their chicken cheeks and help them peck the right story. Make sure to avoid the scary ones (and any books with fowl language). Help your chickens practice letter sounds, point out common words, and encourage every chicken scratch. Don’t forget to celebrate with a dance party! Before long, words will be flying off the pages . . . unless that fox gets in the way.

With warm colors, adorable characters, humor and hints of forthcoming mischief, How to Hatch a Reader is the perfect addition to any home, library or classroom, helping kids build confidence in their own skills while encouraging a love for books and reading with others.

My Favorite Things

-Chickens exclaim, “BUWACK!” whenever the girl absentmindedly scares them.

-The sneaky fox.

-It is about learning to read and funny chickens.

-On point wordplay, wit, and humor.


How to Hatch a Reader combines the children’s experience of learning to read with humorous chickens. What inspired you to write this witty story?

Inspiration is all around us. This story idea hatched in 2020 when we got our flock of chickens. With the library still being closed due to Covid we didn’t have access to our local read-to-a-dog program, so we started reading to our chickens. The kids loved it and the chickens seemed to love it, too. They always flocked to our storytimes!

A girl teaches chickens to read by learning phonetic sounds, sounding out letters, recognizing familiar words, labeling favorite things, and pairing words. Please tell us about your thought process for making a story that is both educational and funny.

As a mom of two young readers, this story came from the heart. I fell in love with the idea of writing a funny book that kids would love about reading to chickens. But, in the thick of helping my daughters learn to read, I also wanted to create a practical resource for caregivers supporting young readers.

How to Hatch a Reader had me cracking up. My favorite parts are when the chickens “BUWACK!” every time the girl says something that scares them, like a fox or deviled eggs. Your combination of wordplay and humor is engaging and on point. Do wit and wordplay come naturally, or did you master these literary devices? If it is the latter, please share with us how you mastered them.

I am so glad you enjoyed the story! I adore all forms of humor. Some wordplay comes naturally, but my secret? Research! I love to read for research, and when I was nearing final revisions, I researched puns and idioms to see what might fit.

Rachel Suzanne’s comical and dynamic illustrations go superbly with your writing. And there is a sneaky fox! What is your favorite spread, and why?

I am egg-static to have been paired with Rachel Suzanne! She brings such a clever style to the project, and I love how she brought this story to life! My favorite spread is the funky chicken disco scene. The sunglasses are epic!

What do you hope children will take away from How to Hatch a Reader?

Learning to read is tough! I hope children feel the encouragement and celebrate every egg-citing milestone along the way. Bonus points if they celebrate with a funky chicken dance party!

Please tell us about your writing routine.

Well, routines are tough. I have two amazing daughters that keep me pretty busy and I have a day job as well. So, I suppose my ‘routine’ is not keeping a routine? I write as much as I can after the kiddos go to bed and you will often find me using voice-to-text in my phone to capture story ideas for when time permits.

Can you share with us your best writing tip?

Read for research. Simple, but still such an awesome tip. It will help you recognize what stories you are drawn to, what has already been written- or what gaps there are in the market. Also, I highly recommend analyzing picture book structure. Such a great practice to understand the dynamics of why your favorite picture books work so well!

What is next for you?

I just announced my second picture book IF YOU LIVE ON A FARM releasing in 2025 through Feeding Minds Press. It is a lyrical ode to farming and I am so excited to share this book with the world. I have more news to share very soon!

How many chickens do you have, and do they have names?

We have 4 lovely chickens. Their names are Barney, Rhoda, Daney, and Veruka.

What came first, the egg or the chicken?

My flock confided in me, but I’m sworn to secrecy. 😉

I read on your website that you love glitter. Me too! Why do you love glitter?

It is the gorgeous, sparkly arts and crafts medium that keeps on giving. We did a family art project for St. Patty’s Day two years ago, and I will still find a little green sparkle occasionally. It just reminds me of how much fun we had!

What is your favorite dessert to bake?

As a prior bakery manager- this is tough. I have a huge sweet tooth! I have to say cake. I love eating upside-down cake, and I love to make cakes that look like other things. I’ve made a cake car, cake sushi roll, and a cake book. Of course, the book cake was one of my favorites.

Let’s say an apocalypse occurs, and there are two places you can go for safety. One is a nearby modern city, and the other is a remote community in the countryside. Where would you go and why?

Oh, good question. We’d have to stay on our backyard hobby farm. The chickens are such homebodies. 😉

Kari Ann Gonzalez’s photograph, from her website.

About Kari Ann Gonzalez

Kari Ann Gonzalez is a picture book, middle-grade, and young adult author who enjoys writing funny and lyrical stories. How to Hatch a Reader is her debut picture book, and you can expect her second picture book, If You Live in a Farm, in 2025.

You can find Kari at:

Website: Kari Ann Gonzalez, Children’s Author
Twitter: @karianngonzale1
Instagram: @kari_gonzalez_writes
Goodreads: Kari Ann Gonzalez

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.


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