Author Spotlight: Lauri Fortino

  • Published on October 21, 2016

Welcome to the second in the series of author spotlights. Last month I introduced you to Rebecca Johnson and her award winning Insect Series.

This month I have great pleasure in introducing you to Lauri Fortino and her first picture book The Peddler’s Bed.

Lauri Fortino and The Peddler's Bed

I first got to know Lauri a few months ago on her blog Frog on a (B)log where she shares her passion for picture books. Lauri is a library assistant by day and a picture book writer by night. In her day job, she gets to read and enjoy a great variety of books, especially picture books.

I have often thought that if I hadn’t become a teacher, I’d have worked in a library. How wonderful to be immersed in books and reading stories all day; and what a bonus to be paid for it! It sounds almost as much fun as working with little ones. (I‘m sure it’s not quite that simple, but I can dream!)

After reading some engaging reviews of other picture books on Lauri’s blog, I noticed she had one of her own. I loved the cover and the folk-tale feel to it. I was also a bit intrigued by the title and wondered what might happen to The Peddler’s Bed.

Though disappointed that the story was not available as an ebook (ebooks are instant gratification), I was delighted to find a lovely recording of the story tucked away in her teaching resources. It was love at first hearing and I straight away ordered a print copy, which I have enjoyed numerous times with little ones. I couldn’t wait to interview Lauri and share her wonderful first book with you.

Welcome to readilearn, Lauri. We are looking forward to getting to know you a little better.

Thanks for inviting me!

Lauri, When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew at age 11 that I wanted to be an author. For an autobiography assignment in fifth or sixth grade, on a page entitled What I’ll be Doing in 1998, I wrote “I want to write children’s books mainly about animals.” It took a few more years than that—17, to be exact—before I got my first published book. But even before age 11, I was writing and illustrating my own stories.

Where do you write? Do you like to be by yourself in the quiet, or do you like to write in a noisy space?

It’s easier to concentrate if I’m alone in my office. I like having my dog asleep at my feet. He’s good company.

What do you use to write – pencil and paper or computer?

I almost always use my computer to write my stories, with the exception of notes—ideas, titles, words, sentences–that I jot down in little notebooks or on scraps of paper.

When do you write?

I work full-time as a library assistant at my local public library, so I primarily write in the evening when I get home, or on weekends.

When do you get your ideas?

An idea can come to me anytime, but most often while I’m getting ready for work in the morning or while I’m out walking my dog. Then I have to hurry and write it down before I forget.

Do you think of the story in your head before you write it?

I usually have the beginning and ending worked out before I sit down to start writing.

What gave you the idea for The Peddler’s Bed?

The idea for The Peddler’s Bed grew out of a sense of gratitude I felt toward family and friends for their generosity. When my husband and I got married and moved into our house, a lot of our furniture was given to us, including our bed. The fact that my husband and dog both snore may have had an influence on the story as well.

What do you like best about The Peddler’s Bed?

I really like how the illustrator, Bong Redila, took my vision and enhanced it. He brought the story to life through his vibrant use of color, playful characters, and unusual angles.

The peddler's cart
This illustration by Bong Redila from The Peddler’s Bed, published by Ripple Grrove Press, is Lauri’s “favourite picture in the whole book”. (Used with permission)

How would you like teachers to present The Peddler’s Bed to children?

There’s a teacher’s guide available on my blog at In it, you will find all sorts of ways to use The Peddler’s Bed in the classroom. The guide offers activities relating to reading, writing, mathematics, science, and more. In addition, the book has a folktale-like feel and could be introduced as part of a lesson on folktales or fables.

Are there any messages you would like them to discuss?

There’s a subtle message in the story about treating others with kindness and generosity, no matter their socioeconomic status.

Do you have any advice for teachers in their role as writing guides?

I encourage teachers to include more story writing in their curriculums. Allowing children to use their imaginations and write about whatever they choose will help them learn to enjoy writing instead of viewing it as work.

Do you have any advice for children as writers?

Write about the people, places and things that interest you. If you do that, you’ll always do your best writing. If you dream of one day becoming an author, know that your dream can come true.

What is your favourite picture book? Who is your favourite author?

I have far too many favorites to name just one. I read dozens of picture books each month and am always discovering new books, authors, and illustrators to add to my list of favorites.


Thank you Lauri Fortino for sharing these insights about your book The Peddler’s Bed and your writing process. We wish you success.

Thank you, and thanks for having me!


To find out more about Lauri,

visit her Blog/Website: Frog on a [B]log

or connect with her on social media

Twitter: @Lauri14o


The Peddler’s Bed is available at the following links:


Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


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This interview and information about Lauri is available to registered users as a free printable resource in readilearn literacy resources: Author Spotlight (register now for free). The information may be displayed in your classroom or included in a class book about authors and illustrators.

Remember to subscribe for access to all resources.

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Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

I’ll see you next week with a new interactive resource Transport Sort. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Happy teaching and learning.



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    The inspiration for The Peddler’s Bed is very sweet! As another who has a snoring partner and dog, I can relate to how creatively inspiring it can be 🙂

    I adore picture books. One is never too old to enjoy them. 🙂
    These illustrations are charming. And I love, love, love the message of treating others with kindness and generosity. Always. Thanks for sharing this book.

    That is very true, Sarah. I’ll never be too old to enjoy a good picture book. Thank you for your lovely comment. The book is definitely worthy of it.

    Thank you for your wonderful comment, Patricia. They are gorgeous illustrations and complement the story beautifully.

    Wonderful interview with a super talented author! Even though I’ve connected with Lauri through her website and FB page, I learned more about her in your post. I didn’t know there was a teacher’s guide available…thanks so much, Norah…I love this new series!

    Vivian, Thank you so much for reading and commenting so positively about Lauri and her picture book. I’m pleased you learned new things about her in my post. I appreciate your support for the series.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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