In Her Own Words:There are always three questions: How old are you? How many books have you written? Where do you get your ideas? The first two questions are easy. I was born in 1928, and I have written more than a dozen picture books, including an adaptation of a biographical note by Margaret Wise Brown, three works of historical fiction for young people, and one play. More are now in progress.I am probably best known for A Gathering of Days, which won both the Newbery Medal and the American Book Award (Children's Fiction) in 1980. But I have always had a special affection and respect for picture books, which are, I think, a literary invention of the twentieth century - maybe the literary invention! A picture book is very different from an illustrated book, where the words do the work and the pictures show what is already described. In a picture book, the words tell part of the story and the pictures tell part of it too. When I write the text of a picture book, I have to think about what parts of the story are my responsibility and what should be left to the artist. It is usually harder, and takes longer, to write the words for a picture book than most people imagine.About the third question: It's hard to say, really, where I get my ideas. Most of the time ideas come naturally, like thinking about what to make for dinner or wondering why something happened the way it did or looking at a snow-storm and knowing it's beautiful. Sometimes it seems that knowing you have an idea for a story when you do have one is what makes you a writer.But there's something else. Writing has to do with caring of special kinds - about the world and all that goes on in it, about finding the words that will tell about those things, and about the people who will read the words. If writing is something you can do, and you get the right ideas, then you become a writer. If, in addition, you especially care about children, then you write children's books.I didn't start out intending to be a writer, and there were many years when I did other things: study physiology or child development, teach children's literature, or be with my family. I was nearly forty years old when my first book was published! But I do not think I would have written more, or better, had I not done these other things. Everything that has happened in my life has its place in my writing.