Bad Bananas: A Story Cookbook for Kids

Author interview
Bad Bananas – A Story Cookbook for Kids is a wisecracking picture book on the short (shelf) life of a bunch of bruisers, with seven recipes that kids can make with their families.
P: Who did you write this book for? KB: “This book is for anyone suffering from ‘I’m borrred’ disease (maybe more for their families—as a kind of comic intervention).
P: Where did you get the idea for Bad Bananas? KB: “I just started to get these wisecracking lines about bad bananas–as rebels of the fruit world.”
P: As a children’s author, what made you write a cookbook? KB: “It was my editor’s idea. When she saw the storyline, she thought it would be a perfect activity book with recipes.”
P: There’s a lot of clever word-play in this book, is that intended for adults? KB: “Yes. I think we’ve all read books to kids that were better at putting the adult to sleep. I like to keep my stories fun for adults and kids–I especially like a surprise you don’t expect.”
P: Who did the illustrations? KB: “Jeff Faerber, a New York artist.”
P: Tell us about the illustrations; how did you two come up with the imagery? KB: “I started doodling images of these gang-banger bananas, with sticker tattoos, pierced peels and spiked-hair stems. I got the idea that they would have turf issues with rival bunches (grapes). Jeff Faerber added the red-necked renegades. Then there’s a biker banana and some fun pop-culture allusions…”
P: Tell us a little about the story. KB: “It walks you through the taboo subject of where bananas come from. As the characters take crazy dares and trying silly stunts, you see them mature and you learn how to use them in recipes.” 
P: What recipes come with the story? KB: “Banana cookies, smoothies, pancakes, muffins, fruit salad, banana pudding, plus more recipes on our web site. They’re low sugar, and they’re delicious.”
P: What do you like the most about the story KB: “Aside from the humor and the treats, I really like the message, that even a bad banana can turn out good.”
P: Who do you hope will buy your book? KB: “Anyone who knows a child; even older kids can enjoy the more subtle humor. It’s something fun the family can do together, trying different recipes on different days.”
P: What do you hope that readers will get out of this book? KB: “Family laughs, hands-on fun, and treats!”
P: If you could compare this book to any book out there, which book would it be? KB: “I saw a book about a witch that had a recipe at the end–Bad Bananas has so many elements to discover on each page, I feel it involves the reader much more.”
P: This is your fifth picture book; what other kinds of books do you have? KB: “Funny bedtime stories to help kids overcome fear, Spanish and bilingual books with text and pronunciation guide in one or both languages, a historical non-fiction about a girl—from my family’s history–who immigrated at ten years old, not knowing English, and what she did when she arrived alone at her U.S. destination.”
P: Beckstrand’s books have been favorably reviewed nationwide–including a nod in the Horn Book’s blog review. His first bilingual book: Crumbs on the Stairs – Migas en las escaleras: A Mystery has been purchased by schools and libraries across the country. Most of his stories have minority or bi-racial characters. He has 21 titles on and Kindle (add a review!). His titles are also available via, Baker & Taylor, Follett Library Resources/BWI Title Wave,, Brodart, Ingram and iTunes/Kobo/Sony. Ask for his books at your favorite bookstore or library.

Posted by Karl Beckstrand at 9/19/2011 12:51 PM