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The Power of Story

Being a children’s author, I’ve always known about the power a story can have on a child. Whether it be a picture book story putting a child on the path of lifelong reading or a young adult novel that reassures a teen he’s not alone in his personal struggles, children’s stories are powerful and empowering. But until I “met” Maria, a student in one of my online writing courses, I hadn’t realized just how extensive this power can be.

Maria lives with her family in Damascus, Syria. Rocket explosions and the violence of war are part of her everyday life, as is the struggle for things we in U.S. often take for granted– food, clean water, electricity, and the internet. But amidst all the uncertainty, Maria finds comfort in stories. More specifically, she uses stories to provide her young son with an escape from his daily reality.

Like Scheherazade of storytelling lore, every night Maria tells her son a new story. “In darkness, we spoon every night on the same pillow and I start whispering the story words inside his ear, and that’s when the magic starts. My son’s soul and mind leave his body secure in my arms and travel to the story world like a hypnotized schizophrenic and never comes back until he hears ‘happily ever after.’” Amazingly, she makes up her stories each night, sometimes continuing them over to the next. But every night, there is a story. A story that her young son relies upon, as much as the food or water he requires for nourishment.

Story empowers Maria’s son, showing him a safer, brighter, happier life. It transforms him to a place where he can escape the harsh reality of life in Syria, giving him hope for his own “happily ever after.”

 

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SCBWI BookStop Begins!

SCBWIBookStopLogo

Check this out! The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators starts its annual member BookStop blast. Members created posters for their books (published in 2017) to be shared with librarians, educators, writers, readers, basically anyone who interested in children’s books!

You can find my two latest titles, MAMA LOVES YOU SO, and MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN, by clicking on “T” (for traditionally published) and scrolling down to my last name. I even made a partial reading video of MAMA. If you’re so inclined, please “LIKE” my pages, so I’ll know if anyone is enjoying them.

And please, browse all the other fabulous titles! Such bookish eye candy! Just click HERE.

 

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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen Goodbye

Sarvinder Naberhaus offers a final farewell on EMU’s Debuts, along with some great advice for writers. Enjoy!

EMU's Debuts

It’s been an exciting ride having Blue Sky White Stars and LiNES come out in the same year and a few months apart. One took 4 years to be born, and the other less than 2 years. Both have simple sparse verse. It’s been quite a ride.

Blue Sky Cover w text

When I wrote Blue Sky White Stars, I had no idea if anyone would like it. When I wrote LiNES , I hoped people would like it.

(click here for teacher ideas to go with BSWS)

(click here for teacher STEM ideas to go with LINES)

lines-9781481490740_hr

People ask which is my favorite and I have to say LiNES. Both ideas just came to me and I wrote them down as fast as I could to catch all of it.

On thinking about what to post, of course I loved getting to know my fellow Emus and being part of the nest. It was…

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Lost Boys is Born

LOST BOYS by Darcey Rosenblatt is out! I was so impressed with the writing and story that Darcey created. Very powerful.

EMU's Debuts

bookish darceyIt’s not often that you get to say this is the day I’ve been waiting for my whole life – a birth of a child or a wedding maybe or – drumroll please – the birth of your first book. For me today is that day. LOST BOYS can be found in bookstores and should be received by all who preordered! To say this day was a long time coming is sort of like saying Harry is a wizard – merely stating the obvious. My first draft of this book was “finished” over ten years ago.

The idea for this story – historic fiction about the Iran/Iraq war – came to me like lightning — complete with one of those spine-tingling, goose bump-filled moments that writers learn not to ignore. Then for months I did my best to run away. I ran because this was not my story to tell…

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Interview: Terry Pierce

I recently “sat down” with author-illustrator Julianne Black for an interview at The Book Turnip! Please check out the interview and the treasure of children’s book-related posts on her blog. Cheers!

Book Turnip

I got a chance to catch up with superstar Terry Pierce about her new release My Busy Green Garden! Terry has several published books out, two coming soon and  (fingers crossed) another manuscript going through the acceptance process right now. Her contact links are below the interview – definitely check out her work!


MBGG (My Busy Green Garden) is full of wonder! The intricacies of all the critters going about their routines plus the engaging rhythms of the story make it a joy to read at bed time. When creating it, do you ever read the work-in-progress text aloud to children?

First, thank you for the interview, Julie! It’s always a pleasure to talk about children’s books and writing. And what a great first question to answer. While I’m writing a picture book I always read the story aloud (as I write it) because picture booksare

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Blue Sky White Stars, the book journey

Author Sarvinder Naberhaus shares the journey of her new book, BLUE SKY, WHITE STARS. Every book has its own unique journey and this one is no different. Plus, Sarvinder shares her personal experience in working on the revisions. Enjoy!

EMU's Debuts

My journey with this book started with getting my agent. I had given Joan several of my manuscripts and was excited when she called and took me as a client. 

She sent Blue Sky to my editor, and when Lucia saw this manuscript, she asked if she could call me.Of course I was very excited!  I had just gotten a few rejections and I was planning on revising it. Lucia had a vision for this book right from the start. It was really her vision that brought it all together.

Of course that vision included Kadir Nelson as the illustrator. When I went to his website and looked at his artwork (this was before I knew who Lucia had in mind), it hit me that he was the perfect artist for this book, with his rich blues and deep browns. He has also done books that contained several of the…

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