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Spooktacular Book Birthday -- Meet Witch and Wombat Author/Illustrator Ashley Belote

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Witch and Wombat is kind of based on myself as a kid. I spent pretty much my entire childhood asking for a cat, but we couldn't have one because my mom was allergic. So it is all about learning to adapt to a changing situation and learning that sometimes things don't turn out how you want them to. They can be even better. -- Ashley Belote

On this spooktacular episode, we meet the very talented author/ illustrator Ashley Belote, whose STEMsational books include the brand new Witch and Wombat, Frankenslime, Valenslime, Listen Up, Louella, and Don't Wash Winston (available for pre-order now). We talk about the importance of read-alouds, of the joy of illustrations that leave you searching for clues and hidden gems, and how to create STEM/STEAM connections for all ages.

[01:10] Ashley's Background and Adventures in Learning

  • Growing up in a publishing family

  • Lifelong love of art.

[03:17] The Whole Book Approach

  • Impact of Megan Dowd Lambert's "The Whole Book Approach" course.

  • Fostering curiosity and critical thinking through an interactive approach to sharing books.

[05:09] Ashley's Approach to Illustration and Writing

  • Childhood inspiration and personal connection to characters and plot.

  • Adaptation and accepting change.

Read Aloud fromWitch and Wombat

[15:20] Ashley's Art Process

  • Character sketches.

  • How illustrations inspire writing.

  • Approach to character development and maintaining consistency.

I feel like most of my life has revolved around trial and error, which I think is great because, in my opinion, the best way to learn is by just trying things. I typically start with a character image in mind. I'm a visual learner. I see a lot of things in my head when I'm reading and like everybody does, but it's hard for me to really kind of communicate well without using visuals. A lot of the times when I'm working on creative projects, I have to see a character drawn out before I can write about them." -- Ashley Belote

[19:28] Ashley's Experience Illustrating for Other Authors

  • Separation between authors and illustrators in traditional publishing, with examples from Frankenslime and Valenslime

[22:50] Social Emotional Learning and Listen Up, Louella [26:22] Childhood Book Influences

The thing that I love most about those books is there are so many little details in the illustrations that you have to search for. And I knew as I was developing my art style, that I wanted to be that kind of illustrator and hide as many little details as possible so that kids will have to search and be like, oh, my gosh. I didn't see that the last time. So the heavy visuals and the little details really inspired me and informed my career. -- Ashley Belote

[29:13] The Lifelong Educational Value of Books

  • How books shape individuals and create lifelong memories.

[32:30] Future Books

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