Friday, July 7, 2017

Interview with Children's Book Author Miri Leshem-Pelly





Miri Leshem-Pelly is the author-illustrator of 14 children’s books. She’s also illustrated 14 books for other writers. When Miri isn’t writing she can be found speaking at schools, kindergartens and libraries. She is invited to do more than 200 presentations with her books per year. Miri is also a Regional Advisor for SCBWI (Society of Children’s book writers & illustrators).
Miri is represented by Olswanger Literary Agency.

Miri’s works have won awards and her illustrations have been shown on several exhibitions.
Miri lives in Israel with her husband and two children, and loves reading books and going on nature hikes.

Her latest book is Scribble & Author.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



About the Book:

Title: SCRIBBLE & AUTHOR          
Author: Miri Leshem-Pelly
Publisher: Kane Miller Books
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book for Authors

Scribble & Author is written as a dialogue between the main character, Scribble, and the author who created her. 
Scribble's journey starts on a peaceful shore called THE BEGINNING, continues to the rough, adventurous MIDDLE, and leads finally to the gate of THE ENDING, but it’s not at all what Scribble expected… Scribble is a scribble and Author is an author, but who really gets to tell the tale?
A picture book about finding your own voice, making your own decisions, and writing your own story.
Watch the book trailer at Vimeo.

ORDER YOUR COPY:


Thanks for this interview, Miri Leshem-Pelly.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

I always loved books, especially picture books, and ever since my childhood I’ve been writing and drawing just for fun, as a hobby. When I was an art student I realized that illustrating children’s books is my dream. I started illustrating stories by other writers and then I thought - wait a minute. I can write too. Why don’t I illustrate my own stories? My first book as author/illustrator was published when I was 26 years old, and since then I had 14 children’s books published as an author/illustrator.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Scribble & Author?

I was thinking about my self as an author and my relationships with my characters, and realized something interesting: Authors love their characters very much, but they also must put their main characters into trouble, in order to create a plot. That led me to imagine what would it be like if I could talk with a character that I’ve created. What’s going to happen to the story if the character could interact with his author? So I decided to write down this dialogue and see where it would lead me…

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

I’m a mother of two children, but I started writing and illustrating for kids before I became a mom. So I guess the answer is that I am still a kid at heart, and I love it!
On my role as Regional Advisor of SCBWI chapter in Israel, I get to meet many other authors and illustrators of children’s book, and I must say that most of them are truly fun people who never stopped listening to their inner child.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Oh, must I pick one? There were so many! The first one that pops to my head is Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. As a child I was very much inspired by Pippi’s courage, strength and free spirit. I also enjoyed the humor and imagination in this story.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

First, they must understand that writing a good children’s book, even a short picture book, takes a very long time. You must take it seriously and learn the craft. Join SCBWI - this is the best way to get all the professional knowledge about the craft and business sides of creating children’s books. And one last advise - join a critique group for children’s books writers. I’m part of such a group and I owe them much of my success.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

Of course! Creating picture books is my favorite activity in the world. I hope to continue doing just that as long as I can.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Children's Book Author Interview: Nancy Stewart, author of 'Mystery at Manatee Key'



Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


About the Book:

Bella and Britt love to explore along the beach and at more remote places like Manatee Key as well.  It is there that they discover a manatee smuggling ring. 

The manatees have already been netted, so the girls must act fast!  But a kidnapper snatches Bella, hustling her into their hideout.  When Britt sneaks a look in the window, she discovers that the ranger is being held, too.  Now it’s up to Britt.  But what can a single girl do?

Mystery at Manatee Key is available at Amazon


Thanks for this interview, Nancy.   I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

As a university professor, I always wrote academic material; papers, journal articles and such.  I also taught courses in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.  But it was not until about ten years ago that I decided to put the two together and write my own books.  And I’ve never looked back!

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Mystery at Manatee Key?

Actually, this book is the fourth in the Bella and Britt Series, all published by Guardian Angel Publishing.  I’ve always wanted Britt to shine and take the lead in one of the books, and this one is it.  She single-handedly must figure out a way to extricate Bella and the beach ranger from a group of smugglers.  Also, living in Florida, I have a penchant for manatees; such timid creatures that need much protection from all the way-too-fast boats and Jet Ski traffic filling our waters.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

I eavesdrop (in the nicest way possible) and would recommend this habit for all authors and aspiring authors!  Listening to kids interact with each other and with adults is a necessity for those of us who need a child’s voice when writing for them.  A kid at heart?  No, but I do have great empathy with children and respect their dignity, and that position carries me through my books.

What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite picture book when I was a small child was Robert McCloskey’s Make Way   for Ducklings.  I’ve always adored animals of all sorts, and this book spoke to me in a visceral manner that I still recall.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

Read. Read. Read.  Go to the library and check out all the books of the genre that interests you, and digest them.  Join a writers’ critique group.  Writing is a solitary vocation, and interacting with other authors is so very important.  And join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)  This is our professional association and is rich in information, support, and writing wisdom.  Do remember, though, that as we grow in our craft, our appetite may change from one genre to another.  This is so typical, and it happened to me!

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I have a young adult novel titled Beulah Land, which takes place in the Missouri Ozarks. The seventeen-year-old main character battles an out-to-get-her villain, a dog-fighting ring, and her mother, who harbors a secret that could be deadly to her daughter.  The book is being published by Interlude Press this coming autumn.  A totally different genre than picture books, I am very proud of it and of its message of staying strong and true to oneself, a hallmark of the growing-up process. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Blast: Mystery at Manatee Key by Nancy Stewart


We welcome Nancy Stewart's MYSTERY AT MANATEE KEY Book Blast today!




Title: MYSTERY AT MANATEE KEY
Author: Nancy Stewart
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 36
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

Bella and Britt love to explore along the beach and at more remote places like Manatee Key as well.  It is there that they discover a manatee smuggling ring. 

The manatees have already been netted, so the girls must act fast!  But a kidnapper snatches Bella, hustling her into their hideout.  When Britt sneaks a look in the window, she discovers that the ranger is being held, too.  Now it’s up to Britt.  But what can a single girl do?

Mystery at Manatee Key is available at Amazon

 


Book Excerpt:
 
A dark animal circled slowly in the shallow water of Manatee Key. Walking closer, Bella whispered. “A baby manatee. And it has a patch of white near its snout.” Britt frowned. “But where’s the mother? It must be hungry. We should tell the ranger.”
“Yeah,” Bella said. “This one’s too young to be without her mom. Let’s go.”
The friends worked their way through the jungle-like brush back to their bicycles. Britt took the lead. “It’s really hot, but we gotta make time.” 
After a twenty minute ride down dusty paths leading to the main road in their coastal town, they reached the ranger station. “It’s quiet in here today,” Bella said.
 The ranger’s assistant glanced up from his reading. “Hi, girls. Can I help you?”
“We need to see the ranger and report an orphaned manatee,” Bella said.
He frowned. “She hasn’t come in today, and that’s not like her. I’ve called her phones. Nobody answered. And no one’s seen her. Have you by any chance?”
“No,” they answered at the same time.
 “Well, it’s a mystery,” he said. “I won’t call the police yet. But I’m getting worried. Now, about that manatee. Can you take me to it?”
 “Sure,” Britt said. “If you can bring us back to town. We rode our bikes here.” He nodded. “Of course.”


Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




About the Author


Nancy Stewart has been an elementary school teacher and a professor of education.  Having lived in London for ten years, she was a consultant to the University of Cambridge. She is the author of the Bella and Britt series picture books and the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins, a young girl whose life was forever changed by Winter, the dolphin (Guardian Angel Publishing.)  Her writing of One Pelican at a Time was featured on the PBS special, GulfWatch in 2011.  Nancy’s YA-LGBT novel will be published by Interlude Press autumn of 2017.  She is a member of the Rate Your Story organization as a critique judge.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Monday, February 27, 2017

Book Review: Squirrel Superhighway by Anna C. Morrison

Title: Squirrel Superhighway
Author: Anna C. Morrison
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
Pages: 16
Genre:  Children's Picture Book

Squirrel Superhighway features a dog on a self-discovery mission who is surrounded by many graceful squirrels. This is a vocabulary booster in a series of feel-good stories for children of all ages and those who read with and to them. The story includes squirrels, more squirrels, even more squirrels, and a dog who wants to be a squirrel!
 
Are you ready to get your child excited about faith? “I Have Faith” puts your child right in the footsteps of Danny as he begins to learn about faith. Danny and his older brother have been wanting a dog, but both know their parents don’t think they are ready for a dog. When Danny’s mom begins teaching him what the bible says about faith, he puts his faith into action. After praying and releasing his faith for a dog, doubt and even his best friend keep telling him that he will never get a dog. Over time Danny never loses his faith in the promises of God and finds that God is faithful and that faith works. Come along on this journey that is a real life event that took place in the author’s life as a child.
This book has great illustrations that support a wonderful story about finding faith in God. As you are teaching your child about principals in the bible; this book will help you teach faith. What a wonderful experience it is when we can see our children begin to develop their faith in God, and grow from a tiny mustard seed to a firmly planted tree. The back of the book has a parent/child discussion which will help children gain understanding in faith and some scriptures that Danny’s mom used to get him excited about faith.

For More Information

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Review:

Before I begin my review, I want to give praise to Guardian Angel Publishing for a fantastic book cover. This was what made me want to read this book. 

While this is supposed to be a faith-based children's picture book, it can be read by all denominations or even those who aren't so faith-oriented. No preachy anything in it; just feel good stuff. 

Duke is a cute little doggie who is infatuated with squirrels. Not only did they seem to be everywhere, Duke imagined what it would like to be a care-free squirrel and wanted to be one himself. But Duke becomes frustrated because he can't run on the tree limbs like squirrels do and he couldn't understand their language.  No matter how much he tries communicating with them, they didn't listen.  They just kept scurrying around leaving Duke frustrated and alone. Finally he discovers a game that he could play with them and he was happy again!

I loved this book and give it 5 rainbows.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Children's Book Author Interview with 'Squirrel Superhighway' Anna C. Morrison





Anna C. Morrison is an author of children’s books, including Silly Moments and Green Gooey Goop, with many more to follow.  She is also an adjunct professor for multiple colleges and universities, both face-to-face and online.  While she instructs various levels of English composition, she also teaches classes on literature, film, feature writing, and technical writing, among others.  In addition, she has worked with Adapt Courseware as a writing consultant on three video course projects, including college skills and composition.  Anna received her MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, and her BA in English, Creative Writing, from California State University, San Bernardino.  Anna is an active member of SCBWI and is available for book signings.  She lives in Southern California with her family and pets.   

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS


About the Book:

Squirrel Superhighway features a dog on a self-discovery mission who is surrounded by many graceful squirrels. This is a vocabulary booster in a series of feel-good stories for children of all ages
and those who read with and to them. The story includes squirrels, more squirrels, even more squirrels, and a dog who wants to be a squirrel!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Thanks for this interview, Anna.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

Thank you for interviewing me!  Writing for children occurred to me when I was an undergrad in countless English classes, and I realized that most of the books I loved were written for children or young adults.  When I wrote, since I was on the creative writing track, I also found myself writing for children and for young adults.  Childhood and adolescence is when the most brain development is occurring, and the life experiences in this timeframe shape us the most.  These are the memories that we carry with us into adulthood, so they should be not only educational but inspirational, so that we always strive to be better than we were the day before, which is my personal goal.  Children know this intuitively, as their job is to learn and grow, and I believe this is reflected in my work.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Squirrel Superhighway: It’s Good to be a Dog?

Squirrel Superhighway started in the back of my mind when I lived in Lytle Creek, California, with my young son and our animals.  My little dog used to love the squirrels who lived in the trees on and around our property.  They would chatter among themselves and scurry about on the highway that they created for themselves through the trees and on the telephone poles.  They were constantly harvesting pine cones for their seeds.  Bits and pieces of pine cones were scattered everywhere, and they even would throw them sometimes so that, just out of nowhere, a pine cone would come flying down in front of me.  One even hit a visitor on the head!  These squirrels were great characters, and my dog, I think, even wanted to be a squirrel sometimes, from the way he was fascinated by them.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

While my son is no longer young like when I used to read him picture books every night, and there are no other children in my life, I am probably a perpetual child.  I am always looking for opportunities to learn and grow, and I see beauty in everything I can, which are childlike qualities.  I think of what makes me smile or laugh and try it out on the page.  My inner child directs me.

What was your favorite book as a child?

There are so many that it’s difficult to select one.  I was a precocious reader, and I could read when I was four years old, which is when I started Kindergarten.  I already could read and was developing my skills when other children were still learning the alphabet.  I zipped through the reading selections offered at school and spent two or three days a week at the local library well into my teenage years, often surprising new librarians while the ones who knew me well just smiled.  While I enjoyed picture books early on, I quickly graduated to longer works, and I enjoyed the classics as well as contemporary works.  I devoured the Little House series.  I especially loved mysteries, and still do, such as Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden, and I even read all of Agatha Christie’s works before I was ten.  I have a wall of inspiration in my home, and she is figured prominently.

The one book I remember reading over and over again, always with a box of tissues next to me, was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  First, it empowered me because here was an author with my first name, which told young me that I could also be an author.  Second, it was about animals, and I love animals more than I love most anything else.  Third, it was about protecting animals and educating people about how animals feel and that we should treat them kindly, and this was such an important lesson to impart that I couldn’t imagine anything more important to teach people when I was this age, which was probably between ten and twelve.  After a few years, I set this book aside, and I don’t like to read things that make me cry anymore, but the lesson—and the desire to continue to share this lesson—stayed with me. 

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

If people would like to write children’s books, they should definitely read children’s books first, and they should read a lot of them.  What is it that they like the best?  Is it the humor, the art, the word play?  They should discover what style appeals to them specifically and work on developing that in their own work with their own personal approach to the genre.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I do have more children’s picture books in mind, specifically more in the “It’s Good to be…” series, and the next one in this series will focus on marine birds.  I love to walk in a bird sanctuary near my home, and there are many migrating seabirds, along with birds who live there year-round, and they interact in fascinating ways.  Since this is a waystation for birds from around the world, and some stop for a little while and then move on, while others choose to remain, it seems that the theme here is that everyone needs a home, even if it is only temporary, and it should be safe and secure.  Children can relate to that, and so can I, and believe the birds express it well, so it is the subject of my newest work in progress.  Thank you for having me for this interview!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Children's Book Author Interview: Kim Delgado, author of 'Where Do Dreams Come From?'



Kim Delgado is owner of KD Novelties an independent publisher of personalized children's books. She has written several award winning children's books and has gotten featured in several publications. 

When she is not busy writing books or running her publishing company, you can find her tutoring children who struggle with reading in her local school district. She is also a board member and serves in her local soup kitchen feeding the homeless and families in need. 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


About the Book:

A magical story that will satisfy even the most curious child and expand their imagination about Dream Land, the place where dreams are made. After all, what child wouldn’t love to know "Where
Do Dreams Come From?” 

In this magical adventure, your child’s imagination takes them on a visit to
Dream Land where they see how dreams are made. They learn about the "Dream Machine" and the fairies that work very hard to make sure that happy dreams are delivered to children around the world. This is the perfect bedtime story to expand your child’s imagination, encourage reading and instill pleasant dreams!

Voted Mom’s Choice Book of the Year Award and featured at the Book Expo NYC at the Jacob Javits Center.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:



Thanks for this interview, Kim.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

I always knew even when I was younger that reading books was a passion that I had.  I remember I received a book as a little girl and the back of the book had two choices the main character had to make.  If you chose option A, then you continue reading the end of the story for option A, if you chose option B then you read the end of the story for option B.  Both had different endings and I was intrigued with the choices I had to make, and how I was able to determine the end of story. As I got older and read many books I knew that with my creative mind I needed to use it to enhance children’s lives and write my own personalized stories for children.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Where Do Dreams Come From?

As a child and even as an adult we often ask ourselves, “how are dreams made, where do they come from and what do they mean?” Therefore giving me the inspiration to write this personalized children’s book where children become the star of their very own story all while learning where dreams come from.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

You have to be around children all the time to understand how their brain works and the types of questions they ask, but more importantly tapping into their imagination.  The most fun reading experience you can experience especially as a child is being the main character of your own story.  Seeing and hearing their name, and becoming a hero while saving the day, is the most rewarding reading experience for any child.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

Do it!! Don’t procrastinate! If writing a children’s book is your dream let it become reality in 2017.  It takes time and there will always be obstacles but don’t let them distract you from what you are destined to do. Just think of the smiles you will put on children’s faces when they read and cherish the book you have written! That alone should get you motivated to move forward.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I definitely have more books planned for this year as I’ve already starting writing one and have ideas for others.  My goal every year is to write three children’s books. I am also looking to work with more authors this year in getting their children’s stories published.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Board book: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Cartwheel Books; Brdbk edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Purchase at Amazon 
Book Blurb: 

The bestselling Giraffes Can't Dance is now a board book!

Giraffes Can't Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it's harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.

With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.