PictureBookBuzz: Hello Cassandra Federman, tell us about yourself.
Cassandra: I’m an author/illustrator and a mom. I grew up reading comic books and drawing superheroes. At age 13 I decided I’d never cut it as a comic artist, so I gave up drawing entirely. After college I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film/TV and worked in production, casting, and acting. I was miserable and it wasn’t until I married a writer that I finally realized why. I’d been trying to tell stories for a living, but had been approaching it from the wrong angle. That’s when I started writing for children and purchased a sketchbook for the first time in over a decade.
PictureBookBuzz: What inspired your book, This Is a Sea Cow (Albert Whitman & Co.)?
Cassandra: I spent a semester of college studying in Belize, where I helped the local manatee experts track and tag their manatee population. During my time there I met up with a British non-profit group in the early stages of building a manatee rehabilitation center. My first day at the center, a report came in about a baby manatee whose mother had been killed in a boating accident. I got to help with the rescue, bottle feedings, snuggles, etc. This Is a Sea Cow is my love letter to manatees (in all their glorious strangeness). I hope my readers will come to appreciate just how fascinating these animals are, and maybe someone will even grow up to snuggle, feed, and rescue manatees professionally.
PictureBookBuzz: Tell us a bit about your illustration process for the book.
Cassandra: The book is designed to appear as though it’s a child’s school report, so the illustrations are a collage of penmanship paper, pencils, crayons, and other found objects that I arranged in Photoshop.
PictureBookBuzz: What are you currently working on?
Cassandra: Right now I’m primarily focused on the interior illustrations for This Is a Sea Cow. In my spare time you might find me revising other manuscripts, working on a new book dummy, sketching, reading, or matching wits against my precocious toddler. (And on occasion, winning.)
PictureBookBuzz: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Cassandra: My website is cassandrafederman.com. Check there for book news, links, and artwork. You can also find me @CassFederman on Twitter and Instagram.
I’m part of two debut groups called @picturebookbuzz and @notable19s. Check them out on Twitter to learn about some other amazing authors and illustrators with books coming out in 2019!
We are a group of picture book authors and illustrators whose first picture books will be released in 2019. Read about our roads to publication here.