My Writing and Reading Life with Adam Lehrhaupt, Author of There Was a Hole

My Writing and Reading Life Interview with Adam Lehrhaupt
The Children’s Book Review

Adam Lehrhaupt is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children, including Warning: Do Not Open This Book!, Chicken in Space, I Will Not Eat You, Wordplay, This is a Good Story, and Sloth Went. He has traveled to six continents, performed on Broadway, and lived on a communal farm. He currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with his wife and two sons.

I write because …

It is an amazing way to step away from your everyday life and enter a new world. A place where your creativity can run rampant. There are so many different styles of writing that there is a path for anyone or any mood. You can write poems, stories, haiku, or even just a funny tweet. All you need to do is sit down and see what comes out. It is very liberating and the results can often surprise you. Few things bring a smile to my face like those first few moments after finishing a manuscript.

I read because …

I was going to say, see the answer above. But while I previously read to escape, and I still do love the escapism of reading, I use my reading time in a different way now. It allows me to get into another author’s headspace. To see how they build a character, a scene, or a story. By understanding their process better, I can learn ways to improve my own.

Even though my first book was published almost a decade ago, and I’ve published almost 20 since then, I know I still have a ton to learn about the literary industry and being an author. Reading is a huge help along that path to improvement. Plus, there are so many amazing books out there! How can you not want to read them?

There Was a Hole: Picture Book Cover
My latest published book is …

There Was a Hole illustrated by the amazing Carrie O’Neill

I wrote this book because …

I felt there was a need for this type of book in the market. At its heart, There Was a Hole is a book about loss and finding a way to manage the emotions that come with it. Everyone experiences loss in their lives. Maybe it’s the loss of a pet, or loved one. Maybe you moved to a new town and left friends behind. Or perhaps your parents separated. Whatever the experience, there are a lot of feelings wrapped up in the experience.

Several years ago, my family and I suffered a loss of our own. Actually, it was a few losses in quick succession. Whenever something big like that happens, I immediately head to the library or bookstore to see what stories are available for helping children deal with these emotions. Unfortunately, the books I found didn’t seem to hit the mark for what I thought was possible. With that in mind, I tried to write one that did. Could I write a story that didn’t just acknowledge the feelings you have, but showed you that they were completely valid and normal? That everyone has them? And most importantly, that there are things you can do to help yourself feel better?

As it turns out…I think I did.

Best moment …

Is the dog. Carrie’s work with this secondary character lends a whole new level to our understanding of what is happening on each page. It’s amazing. As readers are drawn through the illustrations, this character is used to help us see better how the main character is, or is not, handling the emotional turmoil building inside her.

My special place to write is …

Actually, I don’t have a special place. I write at my desk, in front of the TV, at the beach, in the mountains. Pretty much anywhere. It’s one of the great things about technology today. I can use my computer, iPad, or phone to jot down an idea as soon as it comes to my head.

Necessary writing/creativity tool …

People. I need interactions with other people to really get my creativity going. Separation is one of the hardest things we’ve all had to deal with during the past few years. Hopefully, this book helps readers with that too. I know it helped me.

The person who has been my greatest writing teacher or inspiration is …

My readers. I love visiting schools, events, and stores to talk about books and writing with my readers. We create characters together. We dream up plots. It’s amazing to be in a group of people who enjoy books. It definitely makes me want to write them.

Currently reading …

A non-fiction book called The Vikings: A History by Robert Ferguson and The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown.

Favorite bookshop …

Oh, wow! I have to choose just one? I don’t think I can do that.

I love my local indie, Doylestown Books. They are a wonderful store with all kinds of books and a very knowledgeable staff. Also one of the best children’s bookstores, Children’s Book World, is just a little further away. They’re even doing a pre-order for There Was a Hole where you can get a personalized signed copy. Some other faves are Books of Wonder in NYC, Read With Me Books in Raleigh, The Blue Bunny near Boston and so many more. In case you can’t tell, I love bookstores.

All-time favorite children’s book I didn’t write…

Picture Book: Where the Wild Things Are

Chapter Book: The Graveyard Book

Favorite illustrator …

Ooh. Another tough one. I have worked with so many great illustrators on my books and have such talented friends.

That said, I would love to have had the chance to work with Floyd Cooper. He was an amazing illustrator and an even better person. I still remember meeting him for the first time. Floyd was already a rockstar and he took the time to answer every question a naïve, long-haired, young author asked. Even though he probably spoke to 50 other authors and illustrators that day, he remembered my name the next time I saw him and asked how things were going. It would have been amazing to see him bring one of my stories to life.

A literary character I would like to vacation with …

Winnie the Pooh. He’s got such a great outlook on life. Plus, I bet he’s got enough honey for us both. Yum.

When I am not reading or writing, I am …

Spending time with my family. My kids play travel hockey and that takes up most of our weekends. My schedule most days looks like this: read, write, rink.

Follow Adam on Twitter and Instagram @Lehrhaupt, Facebook @adamlehrhaupt, and at

There Was a Hole: Picture Book Cover

Written by Adam Lehrhaupt

Illustrated by Carrie O’Neill

Ages 4-7 | 32 Pages

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press | ISBN-13: 978-1534111226

Publisher’s Synopsis: Lily has a hole. It eats her joy, makes her angry, and—no matter what Daddy does to try to help—it just keeps growing. So Lily retreats. But a friend lets her in on a secret (he has a hole too!) and shows her the best way to repair holes: spend time on friends, family, the things you love, yourself, and kindness. Those patches don’t make the hole go away, but they help. A lyrical and age-appropriate story for learning to cope with grief and loss.

Buy the Book

Discover more books There Was a Hole, written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Carrie O’Neill, by checking out our reviews and articles tagged with books about grief and loss . Be sure to follow along with our Writing and Reading Life series.

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April 19, 2022 at 12:35PM Bianca Schulze