Interview and Giveaway with Erin Hagar, Author of Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures


Julia Child: An Extraordinary Life in Words and Pictures

DuoPress 2015   160 pages   Ages 8-13

Julia Child knew how to have fun, and she also knew how to whip up a delightful meal. After traveling around the world working for the U.S. government, Julia found her calling in the kitchen and devoted her life to learning, perfecting, and sharing the art of French cuisine. This delicious, illustrated middle-grade biography is a portrait of the remarkable woman, author, and TV personality who captured our hearts with her sparkling personality. “Bon appétit!”

“Full of Julia’s trademark gusto, this book serves up an excellent introduction to the life of this famed chef.” – School Library Journal

Amie: What inspired you to write a book about Julia Child?

Erin: This book  started with the idea for its structure. The publisher had the great idea to adapt the visual format of Brian Selznick’s amazing The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2007) to a biography, depicting major moments in the subject’s life in visual sequences. It’s an amazing concept. We brainstormed possible subjects, and I suggested Gordon Ramsay because my family loves Master Chef, Jr. After discussing it a bit, we thought, “Why not the television cook who started it all?” Voilà–Julia it was!

Amie: How do you think this will appeal to middle-grade writers and readers? What influence do you think it will have?

Erin: For writers, I hope it sparks an interest in writing biographies. There are lots of similarities, I think, between fiction and biography. In both, you’re trying to show the arc of a person’s experience, how she grows and changes,  the details of her life that affect those changes. The main difference with a biography, of course, is that you find those details in your research. As a fiction writer, I struggle with plot, so it was great to not have to come up with the reasons behind her actions, like why she moved to France, for example. The reason was there.

For readers, my hope is that kids read this book and realize they don’t have to be an expert at something from a young age to be successful at it as an adult. Of course, lots of kids do have talents and interests that are evident early in their lives, and that’s great. But many are still figuring out what they like to do, and that’s okay, too. Julia is a wonderful example of someone who wasn’t sure what she wanted to do or be. She didn’t know until she was almost 40! And then she went on to become one of the very best.

Amie: If you could have a conversation with Julia Child, what would you ask her? If you could have her make you any meal, what would it be?

Erin: Oh, wow. I might be too star-struck to say anything at all.  But I’d have to get over that and seize the moment. I’d ask her how she was able to maintain her friendship with Simca (her co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking) after deciding she couldn’t work with her anymore.  I’d also ask how she maintained her energy into her older adulthood, but she’d probably just find that question annoying.

As for a meal, I’d eat anything she made. But I’d love to have her quennelles de broche, a labor-intensive dish that involves working pike through a fine sieve, grinding the bones and everything into a cream that you batter and poach. It was one of the first dishes she made Paul after starting Le Cordon Bleu, and it blew him away.

Amie: Time now for the all important question…or questions as it is! Jello or pudding? Snakes or spiders? Lakes and mountains or oceans and sandy beaches?

Erin: Pudding (increased chance of chocolate, as opposed to Jello.) Snakes. And I grew up on the Eastern Shore, so I have to go with oceans and beaches.

Amie: Thanks for being here, Erin! We’re excited for your new book and wish you tons of success.

In honor of Julia Child’s birthday, we’re giving away one copy of Erin’s book! Just fill out the rafflecopter form below to enter.


Erin Hagar writes fiction and nonfiction for children and teens. After several years working in curriculum and instruction for colleges and universities, she earned her M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and now lives in Baltimore with her husband, two children, and a few too many pets.

Find Erin at her website, twitter, and facebook. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amie Borst is the author of Cinderskella and Little Dead Riding Hood, and  Snow Fright (coming 2016). She likes to eat all the food and given a choice, she’d have Julia Child make Chocolate Almond Cake. Then she’d eat all the cake. Visit Amie’s new websites at:,, and her blog 
  1. My favorite foods are cakes and pies. Julia knew how to do them! I’d love to win the book for my grandson, who is three and loves to cook!

  2. I can’t possibly pick a favorite recipe! Julia Child is an absolute legend, it’d be a dream to learn to cook even 10% as well as her!

  3. Oh, I’ve always loved watching her shows. In college, one time when my roommate was having a bad day I made dinner for both of us, pretending I was Julia doing her show while preparing the meal. We had a good laugh with that. Can’t wait to read your book – sounds amazing.

  4. I’ve started to really love goat cheese! I put it in things like scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes and salads . . . it seems everything’s better with goat cheese. 🙂

  5. Fun interview. The book looks terrific. Can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for the post. I am in favor of anything that contains caramel, like a bowl full of it with a spoon!

  6. I’ll also have a place in my heart (and stomach) for mashed potatoes!

  7. Sounds like a delightful (and delicious!) book! My very favorite foods are usually savory rather than sweet, and I would say a perfect beef stew (or should I say Boeuf Bourguignon) with homemade boule bread is pretty amazing on a cool fall or winter night!

    • My mouth is a waterfall. And now I’m thinking of crisp air, sweaters, and tall boots….and it’s still 95 degrees outside!

  8. Butter! Oh my goodness how that woman loved butter…. but what an interesting lady. Turns out French cooking is like any other kind of cooking – you just have to stir your soul into it. I can’t wait to see this book… what fun.

    • Apparently I used to eat sticks of butter as a child. Guess I have more in common with Julia Child than I originally thought!

  9. Anything with pasta!

  10. And butter. Wasn’t that the ‘magic’ ingredient of many of Julia’s recipes?

  11. I love chicken, and anything to do with Julia Child I love. She was an amazing person!

  12. I don’t have a specific Julia Child recipe, but I adore elaborate multi-layer cakes with fancy fillings – wish I could actually make one myself!