Creative Contributors: Sarah Warren
In this new blog series, we’re highlighting the creative minds and collaborators behind each Bravery issue. This week we are featuring Sarah Warren, the author of Dr. Maya Angelou's feature biography in issue 10 of Bravery. She is an educator and a talented author who has written multiple children's books. To learn more about Sarah and her work, read our inside scoop and check out her website.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an early childhood educator. When I started teaching, I noticed that my students were wild about superheroes. I wanted to introduce them to real-life heroes, but most picture book biographies at the time did not reflect our diversity. I decided to take matters into my own hands and write new books for my preschoolers. They were a tough audience! I also started taking classes at a local literary center because I didn’t know the first thing about writing for children.
What is your favorite genre to write?
I love it all. As a creative nonfiction writer, I use many of the storytelling techniques that pull readers into fiction. Plus, my favorite picture book writers are as sensitive and deliberate in choosing their words as poets. That’s a big goal for me, too.
What is one of your most favorite things you've written?
I have a forthcoming picture book about my son and his loud, wild infancy. It’s good to remember the horror and fun of parenting in those early months.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love doing school visits. It’s always a thrill to read my work in front of students and teachers. I love to explore their thoughts and reactions. My books are just a tool to jumpstart fascinating discussions with future leaders, heroes, and visionaries.
What's something hard about what you do?
I work from home while caring for my toddler. Life can be very distracting! I have to get up pretty early to give storytelling my undivided attention. That’s hard.
What is your dream project or collaboration?
My husband and I made a picture book for a local charity. I was the writer and he was the illustrator. It was tough. I had LOTS of big ideas—I drove him bananas. But the book turned out awesome. Now that he’s speaking to me again, I would love to do more books for fun to promote organizations we care about.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress that was so famous that I would be on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine.
Talk us through your process for writing the feature biography of Dr. Maya Angelou.
I reread her autobiographies and consumed every interview I could find. I listened to her performances. I also thought a lot about how reading Dr. Angelou’s books made me feel when I was young: understood, included, hopeful, and capable. I found interviews where other people shared their responses to her poetry and prose. I worked to connect the moments throughout Dr. Angelou’s life that shaped her point-of-view and her extraordinary ability to express herself.
This is part of an ongoing series on our blog called "Creative Contributors." We love working with all different types of creatives and are excited to highlight a variety of work and creative processes. Click here to read other features in this series.