“When I was very young, I wanted to be an animal trainer with big cats. Then after that, it was an actress. But, I was always writing. I would say from early elementary on I wrote poems or stories. We [my parents and I] took a lot of long car trips across the country, and I was in the backseat of the car with a notebook because there was nothing else, no screens or anything back then, and I got hooked. I was like, ‘This is what I want to do when I grow up.

And, so the story of author Michelle Knudsen begins.

Knudsen’s “Library Lion,” which is dedicated to her Cornell University Library colleague and late friend Carol Buckley, is a heartwarming story written for children, but memorable and beloved by readers of all ages.

The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) will be speaking with Knudsen in early 2023 to explore this loveable lion, as well as some of her almost 50 other published works. The event will be hosted in person at the Bridgewater branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive, on Saturday, January 21, 2023 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Registration is required to attend: https://sclsnj.libnet.info/event/7130026

“In many ways, ‘Library Lion’ is my favorite; it’s very special to me because of the library connection,” said Knudsen. “And, just the fact that people respond to it so strongly. That’s what you hope for, right? Like, that’s exactly what you would dream of happening with any book that you write. But, I also love the work I do for older readers – my Evil Librarian series and my Trelian series.” 

“We are so excited to have Michelle Knudsen at the Bridgewater branch,” said Allie Ziff, manager of youth services programming and collaborations. “‘Library Lion’ is always a favorite on librarian-curated booklists and we cannot wait to hear more about Knudsen’s writing process and her other titles.”

Knudsen is excited to return to participating in in-person, face-to-face events, even more especially here at SCLSNJ because she has extended family living in Somerset County. The upcoming event will also allow a lifelong library lover some time to explore the Bridgewater branch stacks.

“I remember going to my local branch and working my way through the shelf that had all the dragon stories and the fairy tales, and it was just always a very welcoming place,” said Knudsen. “It was cool and comfortable. And, you could go and stay as long as you wanted and sit on the floor with a book, then take them home. It’s just amazing.”

Knudsen spent years writing poetry and short stories, acting in theater productions, and struggling to find her voice and place. She has this advice to share with other hopeful writers: 

“Read as much as you can; the kinds of things you want to write extensively, but also other things because all different kinds of writing can feed your own creativity,” said Knudsen. “And, then, write a lot. Don’t get too precious about it. Don’t try to make it great – which is hard. Be okay writing things that aren’t good. Just accept that your first attempt is probably going to be messy.  It’s all about revision, it’s all about perseverance.”

Continued Knudsen, “You might think that some books are kind of boring, but maybe you just haven’t found the right story for you. There are so many different kinds of books and there’s no right or wrong – as is evidenced by my very eclectic TBR pile.”

Read Like Michelle Knudsen – Explore Her TBR (To Be Read) Pile:

To learn more about this program, call (908) 458-8415 or email bridgewater@sclibnj.org. To discover all SCLSNJ has to offer, visit SCLSNJ.org or connect with SCLSNJ on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.