Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning author of over 90 books, with close to 4 million books sold. Her best-selling What Is . . .? board book series with WorthyKids includes What Is Easter? and What Is Christmas?, which have sold 300,000 to 400,000 copies each. Michelle has helped pen a New York Times bestseller, hosted TBN’s Joy in Our Town TV program, blogged for Guideposts, and taught “Writing for Children” at Taylor University and at more than 100 writers’ conferences. Michelle is married to her high-school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two married daughters, one grandson, and two granddaughters. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys bass fishing with her husband and cheering on the Chicago Cubs. Michelle lives in Bedford, Indiana.
Tell us about I Love You… Bigger Than the Sky. Where did you get the idea for the book?
When my daughters were little, we used to always try to “one up” each other when discussing how much we loved one another. I always started with, “I love you bigger than the Sky” which, of course, ended up being the title. Then I started wondering how various animals would tell their babies just how much they loved them, and that’s when the rest of the book took shape. I love how it turned out. Ag Jatkowska did such an amazing job illustrating it, and our little book has already garnered two industry awards this year: first place for the Best Children’s Book in the 2020 Christian Book Market Awards, and second place in the fiction Children’s Book of the Year category of the 2020 AWSA Golden Scrolls! Very excited!
You’ve written so many children’s books. How do you continue to come up with new ideas?
I find ideas through memories of my own childhood as well as memories of funny sayings and experiences with my own children. And, since I now have four grandbabies, I have another generation to inspire me and generate great, kid-friendly ideas. Honestly, I have way more ideas than I can ever possibly turn into books. One of my former editors introduced me once at a conference as “an idea machine” which was a huge compliment. However, having a good idea is just the first step; turning that idea into a story with a story arc and beautiful, rhythmic language is the really hard part. Thankfully, I love the whole process.
You also write books for adults. Be honest: which is more fun?
That’s an easy one—writing for children is WAY more fun. Truly, my heart beats so fast when I start thinking about a new children’s book idea and begin researching the topic and exploring the best way to tell that story. I love writing both fiction and nonfiction for kids. In all honestly, I have never truly “grown up.” Most of my favorite people are children. 😊 I love looking at the world through their eyes. Writing for children is the best job ever!
Of all the books you’ve written, have any of them stood out as your favorites? If so, which ones and why?
That’s a tough one because every book I write feels like a child, and I never love one child more than another, you know? But I will say that “What Is America?” has been one of the most heartfelt books I’ve ever written. I was inspired to write this book after experiencing “The American Adventure “at Epcot. As I watched the patriotic presentation through teary eyes, I knew right then I needed to write a patriotic book for children capturing the emotion I was feeling at that exact moment. So, I did, and “What Is America?” was birthed. It’s my hope that “What is America?” will help unite and heal our country and cause children across this great land to celebrate America.
What is your favorite fall family activity?
Fall is my very favorite season. It’s so beautiful here in Southern Indiana in the Fall—lots of yellow, orange, and red bursts of color dot the highways and backroads. So pretty! It’s hard to narrow it down to jut one favorite activity but I’d say going to a nearby Fall Festival that features corn mazes, petting zoos, and hayrides, and eating lots of yummy fall food like pumpkin pie and persimmon pudding. It’s also fun to carve pumpkins with the fam. My son-in-law Wes is amazing at it! Last year, he carved my pumpkin to look like a dachshund! It was impressive.