Q & A with Connecticut Authors: Janet Lawler
September 23, 2022 • Features & News, Q & A

Registration is open for the 2022 Connecticut Book Awards!

When: October 23, 2022 | 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Hartford Public Library


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COVID is still with us, although easing off a little, thank goodness. Did you have a favorite comfort genre to turn to when things were looking bleak? Something that lifted you away and to a different place for a while?

May I say Harry Potter is a comfort genre? I think so! Years ago, while reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban at bedtime, I was totally spooked by the evil dementors. I stopped reading the series that night. But during the pandemic, I started the series all over from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and read straight through all seven books. I was so satisfied, and very sad, when I was done. (Then, to stay in Harry’s world a bit longer, I watched all the movies in order.)

Where do you get your inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere, in everyday experiences and observations of the world around me. I’ve even had story ideas come to me in dreams. In one dream, I had a story idea and an offer on it from a publisher, so I was quite disappointed when I woke up! (I did write that story, but it hasn’t found a home.) In a more universal way, nature offers me peace and space that somehow encourage my creative flow. I also use walks and vigorous exercise outdoors to recharge when energy and inspiration lag.

Who made reading important to you?

My parents were always busy working to make ends meet, so I do not remember them as frequent readers. But they emphasized the importance of education and always trying one’s best. I must give credit to the many educators and authors who caused me to fall in love with books from as soon as I learned to read. Books transported me to new places and taught me new things. Throughout my childhood, I loved school, books, and my public library. I still do! 

How would you describe your books?

Heart, humor, hope, and community form the foundation for most of my fiction. Curiosity and awe of the natural world underly my nonfiction picture books. All of my writing is meant to be shared and read out loud! I love how words make music and how words spoken and read with children make emotional connections and foster literacy.

What one thing would you like to learn to do?

I would love to learn to be a professional artist. Then I could illustrate my own stories. I recently read Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over, written by Nell Painter, and concluded that this is not a realistic ambition for me! So, I’ll just continue to marvel at what different artists create when my picture books are professionally illustrated.

What message would you like to send to young readers?

Always make something you love to do part of your life. And remember to laugh a lot!



Janet Lawler is the author of many books for children and is particularly inspired by the natural world. Her inspiration for this book came after listening to a YouTube recording of ten hours’ worth of walrus sounds, after which she wanted to learn more about these interesting creatures and share that knowledge with young readers. She had great fun creating words that reflect the weird noises walruses make! Janet Lawler lives with her family in Connecticut.





Learn about how these captivating creatures flop and plop and call and play their way in and out of the icy waters they call home.

Diving, feasting, twirling—catch a glimpse of the joy found in a walrus’s icy home. Follow as it plays hide-and-seek with a friend, lounges on an ice floe, and demonstrates an impressive repertoire of sounds. Janet Lawler celebrates the many wonders of being a walrus in a story that’s brought to life through Timothy Basil Ering’s exuberant artwork. Readers curious to learn more will find a glossary at the end, along with some cool walrus facts: Did you know that a walrus can eat more than four thousand clams in a feeding frenzy—and that some walruses weigh more than a car?

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