The Creative Convergence Podcast #14 – Bethany Barton

Bethany Barton is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. Her 2015 book  I’m Trying To Love Spiders (Viking/Penguin) garnered numerous awards and starred reviews,  including the 2016 Children’s Choice Award 3rd/4th Grade Book of The Year. Her 2017 book  Give Bees A Chance (Viking/Penguin) was a 2017 SCIBA Award finalist, was listed in Scripps  National Spelling Bee “Great Words, Great Works,” and was featured in the New York Times.  Her books have been translated into 3 languages. Her newest book, I’m Trying to Love Math, was released in July of 2019. 

As well as illustrating her own stories, Barton has illustrated for other authors, including Todd  Hasak-Lowy’s middle grade novel 33 Minutes (Simon & Schuster.) She often spends several  weeks of the year touring; doing school visits, speaking to authors and educators, and sharing  her stories and creativity with young readers at schools and libraries across the globe. 

As a member of the motion picture union IATSE Local 44, Bethany Barton also has a busy  career in the art, prop, and set decoration departments for film & TV. Notable projects include  ABC Network’s The Muppets, The Middle, and `black-ish, as well as movies like Bumblebee,  and hundreds of commercials. She is also an accomplished miniatures fabricator, and general  maker-of-things.  

Bethany is represented by a dashing fellow named Stephen Barr at Writers House in NYC. 

When Bethany and her husband, Production Designer Michael Barton, aren’t working on films  or commercials together, they’re busy laughing, eating guacamole, and enjoying the heck out of  their son Leo.  

Mission. In her books, Bethany is passionate about helping kids (and grown-ups too) face their  fears using superpowers like facts and humor.  

“When you learn more about something that scares you, you take away a lot of the mystery  about that thing— and with it, a lot of the fear. Once you learn why the “scary thing” has to look,  act, or be a certain way… you may even find yourself appreciating it! 

Then, take it a step further: if you can learn to laugh at the thing that scares you, you take away  all of it’s power.”  

Empathy, truth, and connection is a large part of everything Bethany makes. Her creations are  an attempt to “say what everyone is thinking” – and in doing so, help break down barriers…  allowing people of every age to find commonalities; to connect; to identify with each other.  

“I’m personally inspired by the things that all people have in common… by the thoughts and  emotions we all share. When we draw attention to those things, we start to feel a kinship and a  connection with other people. Like we’re all on the same team. It disarms us, helps us to break  down our usual defense mechanisms and lets us enjoy just being a person with other people. It’s my biggest compliment when someone says, “I’ve totally felt that way!” or “I’ve had that  exact same thought!” That’s what I’m trying to do. To celebrate that we’re all the same in a lot of  silly ways.”  

You can follow more of Bethany’s adventures via Twitter, Instagram, and even her oft-forgotten  Facebook page.

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