In Love with Books? A New BookSmitten Podcast

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Guest post by Heather Shumaker

If you love the world of children’s books, you might delight in this brand-new children’s book podcast.

It’s called BookSmitten. Four children’s book authors co-host the pod, which is devoted to seeing “a hopeful, human world through children’s literature.”

Who’s it for? If you’re here on Imagination Soup, it’s probably for you.

We’re all things “kid lit.”

Want to peek behind the scenes and find out how a picture book is made? Or discover non-white main characters in fantasy adventures? Curious about what authors writing today think about the importance of diverse books, #OwnVoices, and writing outside of our experience?

For years, I’ve truly enjoyed Melissa Taylor’s Imagination Soup. She even reviewed my first published parenting book (It’s OK Not to Share), which was a thrill. For me, taking all the goodness wrapped up in Imagination Soup and talking about it with three other book-savvy, big-hearted people is what BookSmitten is all about.

“We’re here, we’re happy, we’re human, and we’re BookSmitten!”

Listen in! BookSmitten

Here’s a bit more –

The four co-hosts write picture books to young adult (teen) novels, with a sweet spot in the Middle Grade (ages 8-12) range.

BookSmitten is co-hosted by Kelly J. Baptist, Jack Cheng, Patrick Flores-Scott, and Heather Shumaker, and it’s produced with the help of a literacy-loving children’s librarian, Josie Schneider.

New episodes come out every two weeks on Wednesdays. You can listen on Apple podcasts, Audible, Google podcasts, Overcast, Spotify.

Becoming BookSmitten

The idea for the podcast came about during the tumultuous summer of 2020. How can we bring people together rather than split them apart? How can we encourage hope and humanity through the books we create and share with kids? We gathered together some hopeful, creative, passionate people, and BookSmitten was born!

One wonderful development is that all four of us bring a unique perspective. We’re sharing from our family backgrounds, sharing our voices, and learning together.

Starting the podcast, we didn’t know each other well, which was part of the fun. All four of us had overlapped at kidlit conferences (back when big gatherings took place). Being cooped up in the pandemic, we missed those conversations. “I wish she lived in my home town.” or “I wish we could keep talking about books together.”

Now, with the BookSmitten podcast, we can share it all with you.

Being together keeps us human. It keeps things real. And it adds a dose of inspiration. I’m continually inspired by Kelly’s prodigious output (two new books out in 2021!), Jack’s creative process, and Patrick’s goal of reaching struggling readers. There’s so much to share.

We plan to feature guest authors and amazing literacy-folks and librarians from time to time, as well as invite child writers on to the show. We’re all about supporting the aspiring young author.

Suggest new episodes or ask questions:

If you adore the book recommendations and writing insights from Imagination Soup (which I do), the BookSmitten podcast could be right up your alley.

And yes, we use mentor texts ourselves, continually improving our writing.

We hope you’ll join us. Try it out. You can listen or subscribe to BookSmitten here.

Thank you, Melissa! We love what you’re doing to boost worthwhile stories and the thrill of reading and writing with Imagination Soup.

This guest post was written by Heather Shumaker, one of the four co-hosts of BookSmitten.


BookSmitten landing page:

BookSmitten contact:

Jack Cheng’s recent blog post introducing the podcast.

Heather Shumaker’s recent 5 minute YouTube video about the podcast.

Podcast Authors

Kelly J. Baptist is the 2015 winner of We Need Diverse Books which launched her publishing career in the Middle Grade anthology FLYING LESSONS AND OTHER STORIES. She is also the author of ISAIAH DUNN IS MY HERO, THE ELECTRIC SLIDE AND KAI and more titles in the works.

Jack Cheng lives in Detroit, MI. He’s the author of the Golden Kite award-winning Middle Grade novel SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS.

Patrick Flores-Scott Patrick is a teacher, trained-playwright, and author of two Young Adult novels: JUMPED IN and AMERICAN ROAD TRIP.

Heather Shumaker is the author of books for adults, including the early childhood parenting books IT’S OK NOT TO SHARE, and IT’S OK TO GO UP THE SLIDE, and the author of the Middle Grade ghost story THE GRIFFINS OF CASTLE CARY.

Note from Melissa: I’m so grateful for Heather’s introduction to this wonderful new podcast and for the amazing books that she writes. I’m 3 episodes into the podcast and LOVE IT! Look for more guest posts from the other BookSmitten team members coming to Imagination Soup very soon.

BookSmitten: A New Children's Book Podcast

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