Tag Archives: children’s picture book

Interview with Nancy Stewart, Author of the Children’s Picture Book, ‘One Pelican at a Time’

After having been an elementary school teacher, a management consultant with New Options, Inc. in New York City and a university professor of education, Nancy Stewart now writes children’s books full time.  She, her husband and three sons, lived in London for eight years, where she was a consultant to several universities, including Cambridge.

 Nancy travels extensively throughout the world, most particularly Africa.  She is the US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education.

Nancy is the author of One Pelican at a Time and two other Bella books:  Bella Saves the Beach and Sea Turtle Summer.  All three are published by Guardian Angel Publishers.

She and her family live in St. Louis and Clearwater Beach, Florida. 

You can visit Nancy online at www.nancystewartbooks.com or at her blog www.nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com.


Q: Thank you for this interview, Nancy. Can you tell us what your latest book, One Pelican at a Time, is all about? 

One Pelican at a Time is about the gulf oil spill of 2010. Bella and Britt love living by the beach.  But when they see oil washing up on shore, they ask to help and are told that kids can do nothing.  They watch and wait until their old friend, the crooked beak pelican, dives into the oily gulf water, and they take matters into their own hands.  Do they save him, or is it too late?

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters? 

Two good friends, Britt and Bella, are the main characters and work in concert to try and save the pelican.  Dan, the umbrella man and Mr. Heath at the bird sanctuary, complete the picture of supporting characters. 

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination? 

The girls are from my imagination, although I saw my Britt splashing with her parents on a Florida beach just as I was beginning to write the book.  Usually, though, for me the characters are an amalgam of my imagination and a real person.  

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write? 

I tend to be somewhat organized by the time a manuscript has begun.  I do find that along the way, however, my muse makes an appearance and things change, usually for the better, I am happy to say. 

Q: Your book is set in a beach anywhere.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?  

Although I don’t mention a city, it could take place in New Orleans or any of the coastal cities so devastated by the oil spill.  It really is an every beach book, a cautionary tale of what happens when adults are not careful with our environment. 

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story? 

Yes, it is pivotal to the story development.  The marine life is threatened by an oil disaster.  What the girls do to help save it is the story.  

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening? 

As Pelican is a picture book, it has far less pages than 69.  I’ll, if I may, choose page 6 and read that: 

Bella gazes at the old crooked beak pelican perched on his favorite piling. She promises him that Britt and she will keep him safe.  But, how? 

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts? 

But he did come back to the surface, covered in heavy tacky oil. After seeing his oily feathers, the girls took action. 

“Help!  Help us help the pelican, “both girls screamed.

Normally on such a hot summer day, the beach boy would be renting colorful umbrellas to his customers. Instead, he sat alone on the sand.“What’s wrong?”He jumped and ran toward the girls. 

“The old pelican! The old pelican! We have to save him!”Bella sobbed. 

“Come on. No time to lose!” The young man sprinted down the beach toward the clean-up crews. 

“Ah, I know that old bird,” nodded the crew chief. “Let’s go get him.” 

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Nancy.  We wish you much success! 

It’s been a pleasure being with you today. I want to thank you for letting me talk about One Pelican at a Time.

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Interview with Cheryl C. Malandrinos: “I have a basic idea and then I let things happen as they may.”

Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.     

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.


About Little Shepherd

Obed is in the hills outside Bethlehem when the angels appear to announce the Savior’s birth. Can he trust that the miracle of the first Christmas will keep his flock safe while he visits the newborn King?

Q: Thank you for this interview, Cheryl. Can you tell us what your latest book, Little Shepherd, is all about?

Thanks for having me here today. Little Shepherd tells the story of the first Christmas through the eyes of a shepherd boy in the fields outside of Bethlehem. Obed is tending his first flock when the angel appears. He wants to join the others to see the newborn King, but he’s afraid something will happen to his sheep if he leaves them alone.

Some wise words from his father help convince him, but Obed is anxious to return to the fields after meeting the Holy Family. What he discovers is that it is a night of miracles.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

There are really only two in Little Shepherd—Obed and his father. Obed is very responsible for his young age of five and is determined not to let anything happen to his sheep. He knows how much his family depends upon them for food and clothing.

His father and the others witness the angel’s appearance. He is the one who suggests they visit the newborn King. His actions that night surprise Obed a bit, but like a good son he obeys his father, despite his anxiety.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

In this instance, Obed is imaginary, but I can see Obed’s father having been the shepherd who said, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us.”

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

Typically, when I’m working on something, I have a basic idea and then I let things happen as they may. My original idea is rarely what the finished manuscript ends up looking like.

With Little Shepherd, I knew I wanted it to be about a young shepherd who visits the Savior on the first Christmas, but the first draft had no conflict. I had to talk it through with a writing friend a bit to discover what Obed’s conflict would be.

Q: Your book is set outside and in Bethlehem. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

God dictated the setting for this one.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

It does because of the need for historical accuracy.

Q: Open the book to page 9. What is happening?

Obed is visiting with the Holy Family. He sees that everything is just as the angel had told them. He hears the wolves howling in the distance but none of the other shepherds, including his father, seem concerned.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Off in the distance, a wolf howled. Obed moved closer to his flock, scanning the hills for any sign of a pack that might race in and steal his sheep. His family depended upon the sheep for food and their wool for clothing. No sheep would be lost under his watch.

He shivered inside his cloak. While the days were getting warmer, the nights still chilled him. He walked over to the large fire blazing inside the pit. He rubbed his hands together and held them up to the fire to warm them.

Above him, the sky twinkled with millions of stars. Obed couldn’t remember a night so clear.

Suddenly, a bright light filled the sky.

Obed trembled. “Father, what is happening?”

His father dropped to the ground, his right hand blocking his eyes from the intense light.

Obed pulled the edges of his cloak closer to his face as he squinted up at the mysterious form hovering overhead. He shivered, but this time it was not because of the cold.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Cheryl. We wish you much success!

Thanks again for having me. I hope your readers will stop by my new blog dedicated to the book, which can be found at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.  There’s a video trailer for Little Shepherd in the sidebar.

Readers can also find me at http://ccmalandrinos.com/, become my friend on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.


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Interview with Children’s Picture Book Author Diana Rumjahn

Charlie and Mama KynaDiana Rumjahn received her bachelor’s degree in social science from San Francisco State University and has worked at the university for over the past two decades. She is currently an administrator at College of Creative Arts, where she received the “Star of the Month Award.” She wrote, directed, filmed, produced and edited the international award-winning film Going Home, which has been shown worldwide. Charlie and Mama Kyna is her first published book. You can visit Diana on the web at www.dianarumjahn.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Diana. Can you tell us what your latest book, Charlie and Mama Kyna, is all about?

A: Charlie and Mama Kyna is a charming book with beautiful illustrations for children. The story and illustrations are based on my internationally acclaimed film, Going Home, which was shown worldwide, including 45 film festivals and London Film Festival.

The story is about a little stuffed animal frog, named Charlie who runs away in fear after accidentally breaking his mother’s favorite vase. Charlie makes his way to the city and meets a stuffed animal Lion, named Leo and a stuffed animal giraffe named Joe outside Mrs. Cupcake’s Bakery. The three become best friends and live inside a little orange tent outside the bakery.

After awhile, Charlie becomes homesick, misses his mother, Kyna, decides to go home and invites Leo and Joe to live with them. On the next sunny day, Charlie, Leo and Joe, journey to find Mama Kyna’s home.

Q: Is this your first novel?  If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

A:  Yes.

Q: How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

A:  It was a little challenging. When writer’s block happens, I stop writing and take a break. Listening to my favorite music, drinking a hot cup of tea and or taking a walk helps me break up writer’s block. Sometimes I would completely drop the current project and move on to the next. Later on, new ideas for the project being shelved will flow automatically.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

A: They have asked me for another book and film. Everyone has a favorite picture in mind.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

A: I do not have a set routine. When I am inspired to write, I can write every minute of the day until the project is done.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

A: I listen to inspiring music by Enya, watch a movie that I have never seen before, concentrate on the next film project, start filming on the new project, take a walk, or hang out at a café.

Q: What book changed your life?

A:  For me, it would not be a book. My film, Going Home, changed my life.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

A:  If Only

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

A: That I am a filmmaker and author who creates the lives of stuffed animals on film.

Thank you for this interview, Diana.  I wish you much success on your latest release, Charlie and Mama Kyna.

Thank you for interviewing me. It was pleasure.

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Too Many Visitors 2Author: Susan Chodakiewitz
Title: Too Many Visitors for One Little House
Publisher: Booksicals
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Language: English
ISBN: 1419654705


The crabby neighbors of El Camino can’t bear all the music, fun and laughter at the house of the new family on the block as aunts, uncles, cousins and grannies arrive for a big noisy reunion. Too Many Visitors for One Little House is a joyful story about the importance of being included.


This book took me back to my old children’s picture book days and how I miss writing them!  As a children’s book author (many moons ago), I can relate to Susan in many ways.  She has a message and uses the whimsicalness of a children’s book to do it.  So enjoyable!

Ever had snotty neighbors?  Or better yet, have you been that snotty neighbor where everything the other neighbors are doing that changes the way you have been living up to that point is driving you up the wall?  Susan Chodakiewitz’s Too Many Visitors for One Little House could have been written about me!  Susan’s message rings loud and clear: if you can’t beat’em, join’em!

The illustrations by Veronica Walsh were beautifully displayed with whimsey and charm which makes reading to your toddler even more enjoyable.

You’ll fully enjoy this cute little picture book.  Highly recommended!

4.5 stars

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