Interview with Kaz Windness, BITSY BAT SCHOOL STAR (Simon & Schuster, June 6/2023)

See writer e book web page (contains pre-order hyperlinks).

Kaz: Bats are my favourite animal to attract. In Fall 2019, I challenged myself to attract bats day-after-day (#100DaysofBats) and struck up a dialog with an illustration pupil who’s autistic like me, evaluating rising up neurodivergent to being like a bat in a faculty for mice. Every thing felt the other way up, and once I tried to behave like everybody else, it made me really feel confused, upset, and extra susceptible to meltdown. I noticed there was a narrative there and commenced writing and drawing Bitsy Bat.

I hope readers achieve a greater understanding and sympathy for what it’s wish to be autistic. I hope the e book conjures up extra compassion and inclusivity. I additionally need all youngsters to know that they’re particular and beloved precisely as they’re. The college star exercise that goes together with the e book is one thing I’m very happy with and excited for educators and college students to implement within the classroom. (

Don’t draw back from speaking about your distinctive id or struggles. Everytime I’ve confronted my fears and uncovered a susceptible a part of myself, slightly than being shamed or ridiculed, I’ve helped people who find themselves like me ultimately, simply ready for somebody break the silence in order that they knew they weren’t alone. Writing your reality will all the time resonate with readers. It helps heal others and your self, too.

I believe higher once I’m doodling on paper, so all my artwork begins as a pencil sketch. As soon as I just like the sketch, I take a photograph with my cellphone, electronic mail it to myself, and edit and paint the illustrations in Adobe Photoshop. Image books undergo lots of steps and modifications, so utilizing digital media has made the enhancing course of straightforward. There are two or three digital brushes I exploit on a regular basis as a result of they seem like actual paint and pastels. One web page of ultimate paintings normally takes two days to color, after all of the sketches and revisions are achieved. The entire e book took round six months as an example whole.

It was essential to me and my editor, Catherine Laudone, that Bitsy’s story mirror an genuine autistic expertise, supply compassion and sensitivity to all youngsters, and inform a enjoyable and interesting back-to-school story as nicely. It’s unusual for an autism e book to be written by an truly autistic particular person, and there are lots of misunderstandings about autism. We labored very exhausting to get each phrase proper. The e book grew into 48-pages to cowl all the things we would have liked and needed to say, so the artwork took extra time as nicely. BITSY BAT, SCHOOL STAR was a labor of affection, and I’m so happy with what we created collectively.

CAT vs. VAC, my second Simon Highlight leveled reader comes out later this 12 months. It’s stuffed with zany humor and I obtained to attract underpants on animals– a dream come true. I’ve three extra books popping out in 2024 and plenty extra to return. Keep tuned!

Additionally see different Interviews with Guide Creators and Recommendation For Younger Writers And Illustrators.