Leeds, West Yorkshire

Interview with Author Brooke Van Sickle

Interview with Author Brooke Van Sickle

Brooke Van Sickle Headshot - Brooke Van Sickle
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Brooke Van Sickle

Brooke Van Sickle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and Regional Webmaster for the Iowa-SCBWI region.

She’s also a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPa). PIRATES STUCK AT “C”, published by BiblioKid Publishing, is Brooke Van Sickle’s debut picture book.

She also has 2 more books expected in 2020. When not writing her own books, Brooke teaches other aspiring writers how to write and publish kids’ books at www.journeytokidlit.com.


She has two more picture books launching in 2020! The first is “Humans In-Training” about a dog who has to train his humans in stores everywhere in August. And the second is This is “MY Castle” about a girl who thinks all she wants is a castle, but what she really needs is a friend in stores everywhere in November.

Brooke Van Sickle Books for Sale

Pirates Stuck at 'C'

What Inspired you to write?

I’ve always been a writer. I used to write and tell stories all the time in elementary school, and I even took a class on writing for children in middle school. But somehow, I forgot that love for writing and brushed it off for a possible career choice until I was about 25 and realized I wasn’t enjoying the career path I’d chosen. That’s when I came back to children’s book writing.


For five years, I studied everything I could about how to make books for kids. I submitted my work and received critiques for years before I made the leap to publish my first picture book.

How did you get your first book Noticed?

In the summer of 2018, I quit my job to write full-time. After about 4 months, I realized I wanted to share that journey as a way of building my platform when my books finally came out.


That’s how I started Journey to KidLit, which is now a full-fledged company that helps writers learn everything it takes to write and publish a children’s book. During the launch of this blog, I worked hard to build up an email list and increase my social following on Pinterest and Twitter.


By the time my book came out, I had a launch team ready and was able to schedule a local book tour at daycares and preschools around the area to help get the book noticed.

What one bit of advice would you want to give yourself when first starting out?

The biggest lesson I learned was that not every manuscript I write will qualify as a publishable children’s book. Sometimes, my idea might not be fleshed out enough or my characters haven’t been developed enough. It’s important to remember that this is a writing craft that needs to be studied and worked on in order to create a story worth a child’s time. So I’ve learned to become very good at editing.

Do you think of this as a full time career or a Hobby with ambitions?

This is my full-time career. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, so I’m going to make it work monetizationally!

Which Author do you admire the most?

I have so many picture book and other children’s book writers that I love! Ame Dyckman, Ryan T. Higgins, Jory John, Josh Funk, Adam Rubin, Stacy McAnulty, Tammi Sauer, and Pat Zietlow Miller all push me to want to be a better writer.

Finally, What one bit of advice will help anyone Lvl-up their work?

I think the most important advice for someone wanting to write a children’s book is to study what makes a children’s book readable. It’s not about the short amount of words or the fact that you added illustrations. There’s so much more craft involved! If you want to write for kids, you need to study the market, know the target reader for the age group you’re writing for, and develop the basic plotting and character-building skills you need to have in order to write something worth a child’s time.

Thanks for sharing Brooke

It’s great to have Brooke contributing to the site, as she said, her site Journey to KidLit is full of awesome tips across Writing, Marketing and Publishing as well as a downloadable childrens book template. Check it out when you get a chance.