I’m excited to share with you an inspiring biography picture book of a puritan woman named Anne Bradstreet, whose passion for writing poetry broke barriers. POET, PILGRIM, REBEL: THE STORY OF ANNE BRADSTREET, AMERICA’S FIRST PUBLISHED POET is written by Katie Williams and illustrated by Tania Rex.
Let’s dig in and find out more about author Katie Williams’ 2021 debut picture book and her direct connection to the main character, Anne Bradstreet.
First and foremost, thank you for writing such a wonderful story that highlights the achievements of a strong and courageous woman. This is truly a must-read for all children and a great addition to any library.
Where did you come up with the idea for this story? Is there a backstory behind Anne Bradstreet that connects with you?
A few years ago my mother told us that our family lineage had been traced directly back to Anne Bradstreet. I thought it was really cool, but didn’t think about it much until I got more into writing picture books. She seemed like the perfect person to write about, especially given all she had overcome as a female writer during that time.
How long did it take you to write this story?
The story went through several major revisions and probably took about a year to write, not including revisions after it was acquired by Beaming Books.
What kind of research did you do to help write this story?
I was lucky to find a primary source on Anne Bradstreet, the book Mistress Bradstreet, by Charlotte Gordon. It was packed with great information about her early life, and was not only informative, it was just a really good read! I also had Anne’s beautiful poetry which is written in such a heartfelt way that it continues to resonate over 400 years later.
How many revisions did you go through?
I honestly stopped keeping track of the revisions, but I’m sure there were over 10. I tried out different points of view, settings, timelines…and once I settled on the who, what, and where, I still had to trim it down to a manageable length! It was a really fun challenge, and having mentor texts like Jen Bryant’s Six Dots really helped.
As a mom, nurse, and author, how do you find time to write?
I sneak it in here and there. Sometimes on breaks at work, sometimes late in the evening (just like Anne!), sometimes on weekends. I realized early on that if I didn’t write, I couldn’t sleep, so I’m very motivated to make it happen!
What’s coming up next for you?
I recently signed with Suzy Evans, a wonderful agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She’s been submitting a new story of mine, and I’m also working on a new picture book biography. Fingers crossed for more good news at some point!
If any readers want to learn more about you or follow you on social media, where can they find you?
I’d love to connect with readers!
They can find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatieWills79,
Or my website: https://katiemundaywilliams.com/about-katie/
Thank you again for sharing this remarkable story with us.
Thank you so much for having me!
You can purchase POET, PILGRIM, REBEL: THE STORY OF ANNE BRADSTREET, AMERICA’S FIRST PUBLISHED POET here: