Thursday, September 27, 2018

My Book Review of The Adventures of Jilly and June in China on Whispering Stories

Photo courtesy of: Whispering Stories

Author: Denise Crew

Reviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating: 3 Lemon Drops

                  Whispering Stories Review: The Adventures of Jilly and June in China


Monday, September 24, 2018

Girls and Bullying on CHW

Photo courtesy of: Alexas_Fotos; courtesy of Pixabay

Here is my article on CHW about girls and bullying.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Interview With Author Anne Miranda

Photo courtesy of: Anne Miranda

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing multi-award winning author and illustrator, Anne Miranda. I was particularly delighted when Anne agreed to do an interview with me. Many of her picture books lined the library shelves in my classroom and were a treat to read to my students.

Born in the United States, Anne has spent the last twenty-four years living in Spain and raising her children. She has two grown sons; the youngest one is an illustrator with whom she collaborates. 

An all around creative spirit, Anne has quite an impressive literary resume that includes: Night Songs, To Market, To Market, Beep! Beep!, Glad Monster, Sad Monster! and Who Said Boo? 

Anne's books have also been recognized for outstanding writing and illustrating, earning her many awards such as, the 1999 Parents' Choice Gold Award and an Abby Honor.

Now that you've been introduced to Anne, let's get to know more about this enterprising woman.

Hello, Anne and welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I was raised by my mother and grandmother. When I was little, my grandmother worked at Korner & Wood, an elegant turn-of-the-last century bookstore, in Cleveland, Ohio.  

My mother was a first grade teacher and then went into publishing when I was a teen.  Our house was chock full of books.

I particularly loved picture books and clever rhyming books and songs. I still do.  I basically write books that are a combination of these two genres. 

Is writing your full-time profession?

Yes and no. I work part time, but writing is my only source of income. 

How long have you been writing?

Off and on, since I was in university.

Which genres do you write?

Picture books and educational materials.

Photo courtesy of: Anne Miranda. 

What do you find most challenging about writing for your genre?

Coming up with an idea.  I detest staring at a blank page.  I prefer having an assignment from a publisher.  With a framework, writing is more like doing a puzzle.  It’s much easier to problem-solve than to invent from scratch.

How many books have you written?

17 trade books. Many little books, stories and other materials for educational publishers.  I have no number to report.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

Once in a blue moon, I hear from a reader.  That’s great.

Photo courtesy of: Anne Miranda

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Be born into a publishing family, if at all possible. I was lucky. I was drawn into the publishing world by my mother, who was first an editor at J.B Lippencott, then at Scholastic, and finally managing editor and VP at Kirchoff/Wohlberg. I worked with and for her until she retired at the tender age of 80.  I am still represented by Ron Zollshan at Kirchoff/Wohlberg.

The only other advice I might have is to forge ahead.  These days, it’s possible to self-publish and a beginning writer can get his or her work into the marketplace without having to pass a publisher’s ridged standards.  If a writer plans to go the traditional trade book route, get a very good rep.  It’s next to impossible these days to get a manuscript read by a major publisher without one.   

Can you tell us a little about Crazy Cow Designs?

I design T-shirts and other print-on-demand items Zazzle as the Crazy Cow. It helps to keep my mind and my hands busy and hones my Photoshop skills.  Many of the items have illustrations I did for Night Songs and Does a Mouse Have a House?

What inspired you to start The Niceness Network?

I’m from the mid-west and from an era where folks were just plain nice to each other all the time. I think it’s a good habit to choose and to foment. I started the Niceness Network as a way to celebrate the positive things that are happening in the world, and the good that people do for one another. 

Photo courtesy of: Anne Miranda

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?

I'm the mother of two fantastic guys, who are now all grown up. They both played basketball and I spent most of the last twenty years taking them to practice and going to games.

I started a barbershop group in Madrid called, The Barbees, many years ago with some friends. The group has grown and has won three gold medals in Spain. In addition to writing, I also paint, illustrate, do assorted crafts, garden, cook, and I love to dance. I'm very earthy-crunchy.

Can you tell us about any new releases coming out?

My newest book is Tangled, illustrated by Eric Comstock, published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. It's on their Spring 2019 list.

What are you working on now?

My younger son is an illustrator and a great source of ideas for projects.  We are collaborating on a YA fantasy novel of his imagination, and a picture book I wrote that he is illustrating.   

How has living in Spain influenced your writing?

That’s hard to answer.  Living here has taken me far away from my audience and from the writing and publishing community. I work in a vacuum.   

What are your favorite books, movies, TV shows?

My favorite book is Wind in the Willows. I am a massive Harry Potter addict. I'm a fan of fantasy, and sci-fi movies and TV shows: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and so on. As a mother of sons, I saw all of the super hero movies, a fair amount of Anime, all of the Disney and Pixar movies, and every action movie ever filmed. We consume a huge amount of media at my house.

Where can we learn more about you?

Thank you, Anne, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you lots of luck in the future and continued success!

Photo courtesy of: Anna Miranda

Friday, September 14, 2018

Book Review Of Women Who March By: Adena Raub Dershowitz

Author: Adena Raub Dershowitz
Illustrator: Heather Workman
Publisher: Adena Dershowitz
ISBN: 9780692053782
Length: 28 pages
Rating: 5 Lemon Drops
A child-friendly story of the 2017 Women's March with an inclusive message.


Through simple rhyme, Dershowitz, presents a complex topic about a historical day in an easy to understand format for children. The illustrations and verse enable the reader to effortlessly journey with the character as she marches through the pages, while teaching us about diversity and inclusiveness.

Not only does the book pay tribute to this important day in a respectful and thoughtful way, the events are presented accurately: the signs, the flags, the messages, the unity of people, from all walks of life, lifting up their voices to demand equality and fair treatment for everyone, as well as, drawing attention to the rapid environmental changes we are experiencing; I witnessed similar sights at many marches.

One unifying theme I particularly enjoyed, was the encouragement of children to get involved in the political process and the list of age-appropriate ways for them to accomplish this task. I feel this expectation offers wonderful validation to children as citizens of the world.

Another element I appreciated was the suggestion that children ask questions. In an age where facts have been diminished or downright ignored, it is crucial that children learn to think for themselves. 

Heather Workman's soft-hued illustrations are charming, appealing, diverse, and offer a wonderful element to the book. Children will enjoy viewing the positive images of people of all colors smiling and working together to make the world a better place.

As an early childhood teacher, I would definitely use this book for social studies lessons on cooperation, acceptance, social activism, and current events followed by the meaningful conversations this book so clearly provides.  I highly recommend!
Woman Who March on Amazon.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Loved it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

My Book Review of The Day That A Ran Away on Whispering Stories

Interviewer: Ellwyn Autumn

Rating: 5 Lemon Drops

Teachers, you'll like this one!

Loved It!

Monday, September 10, 2018