Bounding for Books Blog Tour - Kim Chatel

Today I'm delighted to host Kim Chatel, author of A Talent for Quiet (Guardian Angel Publishing) for the Bounding for Books Blog Tour.
About A Talent for Quiet:
Reanie is a shy girl. She has a new step dad whose shoulders seem to fill their small house. Afraid to disappoint him, she retreats to her room whenever Bill asks her to play. But when he invites her on a photo safari in the creek, Reanie can’t resist. As father and daughter splash through the water, they encounter many creatures. Bill teaches Reanie how to handle a camera, and her new step-dad doesn’t seem so strange anymore.
Illustrated with Kim Chatel’s photography, this is more than a story. It is a journey with Reanie as she finds her voice and her artistic talent. The back of the book includes 4 nonfiction pages about photography: a glossary of terms, tips on taking better pictures and historical tidbits about photography.

Here's my short interview with Kim:
#1. Children's writers seem to have a knack for thinking like a child. What were you like as a five-year-old?
I chose this picture because this is exactly as I remember myself: scruffy, a little wild and a complete tomboy. I’m about 9 or 10 in this picture at Girl Guide camp. I loved camping then, and still do. Soccer was my sport and the muddier the field the better. I had already joined my first camera club by this point and found magic in the darkroom, watching pictures appear in the developing tray.

I had many good friends as a child, but I also remember being perfectly happy alone. While other girls played Barbies (which I despised), I made library cards for all my books and played librarian! I was also big into arts and crafts. I once spilled a whole bowl of red tempera paint down one wall in my room. I frantically cleaned it up, thinking I was going to get into terrible trouble, but my mom just shook her head. What could she say? My room was such a disaster of papers, books and craft stuff anyway, the paint was hardly noticeable!

#2. What inspired you to write A Talent for Quiet?

Though photography has always been a hobby and I sold cameras for many years, it has never been something I wanted to do professionally. However, I loved being able to take this art and merge it with my passion for writing. For some time, I had thought about making a photo collage of wildlife pictures I had taken over the years. Before my daughter was born, we lived along the Yamaska River in Quebec. The shores of this little river teemed with life. I spent hours crouching in the water, trying to get shots of gophers, muskrats, herons, turtles and other critters. I remember it as some of the most relaxing times in my life.

The story in A Talent for Quiet is about a shy young girl named Reanie who is not certain about her new stepdad, Bill. Bill is wise enough to know that a bond can be forged while learning and creating. He takes her on a photo safari in a creek and teaches her how to use a camera. During this afternoon, Reanie learns two important things. First, being shy and quiet can actually be a worthwhile talent when you’re trying to capture wildlife on film. Second, she learns to trust and even like Bill.

Writers often find inspiration from life experiences. A Talent for Quiet is no exception. Many of the photos are ones I shot over 10 years ago along the Yamaska. And Reanie’s story reflects my own relationship with my stepsons.

#3. Share the best feedback from a child you've received for your writing.

Nothing thrills me more than getting a letter from a student. Sometimes I get them by email. Sometimes after a school visit, I get whole packets of them as thank you. With the schools’ permission, I have posted some of these along with the delightful artwork on my site.
Here’s my favorite from Anya:
Dear Mrs. Chatel,

Thank you for coming to the school. I know that you are a very very very nice girl. It must be hard to make the rainbow sheep. I know what your talent is. It is making a rainbow sheep. I like how you made the colorful pictures. You must be a hard worker to make all those pictures.

From Anya
Dear Anya,
I think you’re right. Making critters out of wool seems to be my talent. It took me a long time to find it, but fiber art brings me a lot of pleasure. You’re also right about working hard. I work every day at my writing and my art, but I feel blessed that I can spend my time doing something I enjoy. Every one has talents. In my new picture book, A Talent for Quiet, Reanie learns that even being shy can be a talent. I hope you never stop looking for new talents hidden inside you and when you find one, it brings you as much pleasure as mine do.

Your friend,
Kim Chatel
You can read more student letters or send one yourself at

Kim's books are available wherever books are sold. Click HERE to find your favorite place from which to order. Books can also be ordered directly from Guardian Angel Publishing.

Kim's next stop will be on Mayra Calvani's blog. Follow the Tour - Click on the Logo:

Watch trailers for all the books featured on the tour by clicking on the logo for Blazing Trailers. Enjoy!


Joy said...

Good morning Donna and Kim. Love the picture of you as a child. I liked to camp when I was younger and still do. Your photographsa are inspiring to me.
I look forward to following you on this tour and can't wait to have you as my guest.

Joy Delgado
Illustrator and publisher of bilingual children’s books

Mayra Calvani said...

Great interview and what a great picture! :-)

Donna J. Shepherd said...

That's okay, Margot! I'm visiting all the interviews and learning lots more about my fellow authors. What fun!

I love that pic, too, AND the book. Glad I was able to put the spotlight on Kim.

Kim McDougall said...

Thanks everyone! I look at that picture and I can remember exactly where I was! I made the washstand holding the basin. It was the first camp craft we made every year. Hmmm... I think I feel a story coming on.

Kim Chatel

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