We were honored to interview internationally acclaimed Italian children’s book author Davide Cali, who has written over one hundred children’s books, which have been published in over thirty countries. His picture books include Grown-Ups Never Do That (Chronicle), I Hate My Cats (Chronicle), and The Queen of the Frogs (Eerdmans). Born in Switzerland, Davide now lives in Italy.

What made you decide to become an author?

I grew up reading comics so, since I was a kid, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I’ve actually worked as a cartoonist for several years. When I discovered the universe of picture books, I thought they spoke a language quite similar to the comics language, so I tried to write some.

What are you most passionate about this job?

I guess being free to imagine whatever I like and turn it into a book.

What’s a typical workday like?

For many years, my daily routine is quite confused. I don’t have any strict schedule. I have my main things to do, like drawing, writing, answering interviews or emails, meeting kids on zoom, etc., but in the end, every single day goes its own way.

The Writer, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Monica Barengo | 🛒 Click here to order

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Who knows? They just come.

How much research do you do before you begin a book?

It depends. I do it when necessary. For a big book I’m doing right now I spent one week only reading about the subject. For another one I’ve done years ago, about mythological monsters, I collected material for one year.

Where do you find your inspiration for new stories and characters?

I read a lot: books, comics, manga, and press. I watch movies and I travel a lot. I guess all this enriches my engine of stories!

What has been the most memorable reaction you’ve received from a reader?

Once, at a book fair, a guy asked me: how could you know my own life? I apparently wrote something that happened to him for real, and he was curious to meet me.

The Writer, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Monica Barengo | 🛒 Click here to order

What do you hope kids learn from The Writer?

I never write to make anyone learn anything. I think that everyone can learn something from a good story, but my writing is not meant to teach anything. Then I learned, meeting my readers, that everyone understands my books his own way.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I play one of my guitars. But I’m buying myself a bass too, just to change a bit. I also like watching movies and reading comics.

Can you tell us one thing people may not know about you?

Mmm… I don’t know. I like sushi (I can also make it), I dislike summer, I don’t play football or practice any sport. When I was young, I worked on video games, and I had a walk-on part in a movie, a TV show and a commercial. It’s been a looong time ago.

The Writer

Written by Davide Cali
Illustrated by Monica Barengo

A dog has an important job to do, especially if his human is a writer. Without a dog by his side, the writer would forget to eat. He’d never get out of his pajamas, and he’d probably stare at the computer all day long. But even the best French bulldog can’t do everything. Maybe this perfect pair needs someone new in their lives… 

Illustrated in warm, earthy tones, this witty story reflects the ways dogs change our lives for the better. Our canine friends can make—and find—the best companions.