By Emily Mellentine, Kristin Fuhs Wells Communications Intern
We recently spoke with children’s book author Kim Freeman, who wrote Ice Cream Man with Glenda Armand, illustrated by Keith Mallett. Freeman lives in Bloomington, Indiana and enjoys writing books that inspire children to follow their dreams.
Can you tell us more about your background as a children’s book writer and what inspired you to focus on writing books that inspire children to follow their dreams?
Freeman: When I was a child, I loved going to the library and checking out stacks of library books. The more I read, the more I dreamed of becoming a published author. I believe that children’s books can make a huge difference in a child’s life and that belief is what inspires me to write for young readers.
Augustus Jackson’s story is not widely known. What drew you to this little-known visionary, and how do you think his story can inspire young readers?
Freeman: When co-author Glenda Armand and I were researching the history of ice cream, Augustus Jackson’s name kept popping up. This amazing man followed his dream of becoming a cook, worked at the White House under three presidents and became known as the Father of Ice Cream. We were surprised that there were no books written about him and we are thrilled to be able to share his inspirational story. We hope that young readers will follow their dreams just like Augustus Jackson did.
Can you share a little bit about your creative process when writing for children?
Freeman: When I’m working on a nonfiction story, I do as much research as possible before I begin writing. When I’m working on a fiction picture book, I just relax and let my imagination take over. I write whatever comes to mind and don’t worry about editing until I get the first draft down on paper.
You offer presentations both in-person and via Zoom. Can you tell us more about the topics you cover in your presentations and how they tie into your writing and books?
Freeman: I like to include hands-on activities during my presentations. In addition to storytime and Q & A sessions, I offer STEAM art/writing activities. I also offer ice cream-making sessions based on the recipe in Ice Cream Man. This activity has been a hit with all age groups.
Do you have any upcoming projects or themes you’re excited to explore in your future children’s books?
Freeman: Glenda Armand and I had a wonderful time collaborating on Ice Cream Man. We had so much fun, we decided to collaborate on some more stories. We have two nonfiction picture books out on submission and are currently working on a Christmas story.
What message or takeaway do you hope young readers get from your stories?
Freeman: I hope that my stories entertain young readers and inspire them to dream big.
How has living in Indiana shaped your writing?
Freeman: I have lived in Indiana my whole life and most of my relatives have, too. Many of my story ideas come from remembering the good times I’ve shared with family and friends while growing up in this lovely state.
Do you have a Hoosier writer you look up to? If so, who and why?
Freeman: There are many wonderful Hoosier writers. However, the writer who had the biggest influence on me was Bob Hammel. He was the sportswriter for my local newspaper, and I began reading his articles at a very early age. His work fueled my love of reading and inspired me to become a writer.
Interested in being featured in a future Indiana Authors Awards blog? Email Anna Bowman, Communications Manager, at Abowman@indianahumanities.org.