Saturday, February 8, 2020

Kate Messner Keynote: The Creative Superpower of Curiosity

Kate Messner begins her conference-kickoff keynote

Kate has been widely and successfully published across age categories and genres, and has twelve books coming out just in 2020!

Her secret?

She tells us about finding this quote,

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." —Albert Einstein

And how much this quote resonates for her. She shares stories about her curiosity as a child, and as a teacher, and how her curiosity lead to writing her first picture book, Over and Under the Snow.

She shares the habits she's developed to help generate ideas, to follow her curiosity to different books she's written, in different genres.

"I've found that I can always afford fifteen minutes of idea chasing." 

Kate's inspiring stories about the power of inspiration to find her projects includes how curiosity influences other authors and illustrators, including Martha Brockenbrough, Don Tate, and Nikki Grimes.

The power of

I wonder...

She speaks of courage, and the power of speaking up, and the long journey to telling her latest novel, and "the fire behind" Chirp.

How curiosity is the opposite of fear. And how curiosity and empathy go hand-in-hand.

She even offers us a "license to chase curiosity."

With moments of reflection and deep feeling, poetry and power, Kate's keynote is open and energizing and so, so inspiring!

And it ends with a rousing standing ovation!


Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder, too. Her titles include award-winning picture books like Over and Under the Snow, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, and How to Read a Story; novels like The Seventh Wish, Breakout, and Chirp; the Fergus and Zeke easy reader series with Candlewick, Scholastic’s popular Ranger in Time chapter book series; and multiple works of nonfiction, including Insect Superpowers, The Next President, Tracking Pythons and the soon-to-be-released History Smashers series with Random House. Before becoming a full-time writer, Kate was a TV journalist and National Board certified middle school English teacher. Follow her on Twitter @KateMessner and check out her website,

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