Ask the Author: Amanda Jackson

What would you like readers to know about you? 

That I’m thinking of them as I write. I make up stories I wish I’d had when I was younger. My hope is that something I write helps someone relax and be more who they are. 


What is your book about for those who haven’t read it? 

My picture book, My Shape is Sam, is about a square named Sam. He lives in a world where everyone has a job, depending on their shape. Squares build and stack, circles roll and spin. But Sam wants to roll like a circle, so the story is really about challenging expectations and living authentically. 


What has been your inspiration for writing it? 

Wanting to give (and better embrace) permission to break the old, tired rules surrounding identity.  


What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write? 

The ending, for sure. This remains the only one of my stories to make me cry, and it was Sam’s resolution that did it. Self-acceptance is powerful and beautiful. 


What books or authors inspired you to become a writer? 

I got ahold of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series in second or third grade and fell completely in love with her imagination. That’s my earliest memory of being sucked into a fantasy world. I was hooked. 

Since then, some of my biggest author crushes have been Jessica Townsend, Matt Haig, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Leigh Bardugo, and more recently I read Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello Universe. It was stunning and I can’t wait to read more of her. 


What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book? 

Do it. Try to let go of the rules for proper writing, and just sit down and write the book that’s inside you (you can revise later). Second, find people who will cheer you on. Writing gets lonely, and an encouraging community is key. 


MY SHAPE IS SAM was illustrated by Lydia Nichols, published by Page Street Kids, and is distributed by Macmillan. It’s available everywhere. 




Connect with me at my author website:, on Instagram at Amanda_Jackson_Books or on Twitter @AJacksonBooks 

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