This week I’m shining the Author Spotlight on the first author of the Book Butterfly series: Josh Funk. Declan, our very first Book Butterfly, raved about the book Pirasaurs! (listen here if you haven’t already). It was hard not to love Declan, Declan’s review, or the book itself. When I got an alert after sharing the interview that Josh Funk had reached out on Instagram, I literally clapped with excitement. SO! Now it’s time to get Funk-y.
I’m always curious about an author’s history, so I looked up a few interviews with Josh Funk. The interviewers asked a variety of questions but Josh’s responses stayed focused on some qualities I wanted to highlight: how fantastically positive and fun he is, how inspirational he is for other aspiring authors, how much he encourages folks to go after writing, and even how he is 17% psychic.
I also found that in addition to Pirasaurs!, Josh is the author of other great books including Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. Beyond making me slightly hungry, the title of his book made me wonder ‘where do pancakes and French toast come from anyway?’
Well, I was surprised to find that pancakes may have been around for about as long as grinding tools have been around – 30,000 years or so. The theory is that if people were making flour, then it isn’t too much of a leap to see folks mixing said flour with a few ingredients, finding a hot surface and voila! A type of pancake was born. Personally, I’d like to salute the first person who made a pancake because I can think of few things more delicious than a Nutella-filled crepe at a Christmas market.
Now, what about French toast? They are a more recent culinary creation. I found one reference for bread prepared in this way (soaked in egg and cooked on a stove) as early as the 4th or 5th century. Equally delicious in my view and just as fair to pair with Nutella, the French term for French bread is ‘pain perdu’ which means ‘lost bread’. Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it? And yet, can you imagine a brunch menu without it? French bread to me is all about transformation, resourcefulness, and embracing a variety of toppings.
Which brings me back to Josh Funk. How does a talented author translate Pancakes and French toast into literary characters? With a flare for creativity and a lot of hard work. Reading through his interviews and history, he mentions how many rejections from agents and editors he received for his books until he found what was right for him. Just like the first person to discover a new recipe, it takes trial and error, dedication, and optimism to end up with the right combination. (It also takes a little flair of crazy- to see or believe in something no one else has.)
I keep coming back to the phrase ‘lost bread’. ‘Lost bread’ could have forever been just that – scraps for trash. But over the years it has been elevated in a number of ways thanks to great minds who tested and tasted things until they got it right. In this case, Josh Funk making two foods part of a children’s book. So, thank you, Josh Funk, for pushing through and sharing your books and elevating characters potentially overlooked. I salute you (with a pancake-nutella-french-toast sandwich in hand.)