Interview with Ronald Wayne Robinson

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Ronald Wayne Robinson is the author of the picture book “You’re A Dog, Chase!”.

As we head further into the summer, I found another gem to consider for your summer reading list or even for beginning of school read-alouds. Ronald Wayne Robinson has written a marvelous picture book called “You’re A Dog, Chase!”. Ronald Wayne Robinson has a background in education, psychology, and sociology. He’s won an award from the NEA for his written and produced play “Education is the Key to Life” and created board games that teach the musical history of Soul. In “You’re A Dog, Chase!”, he tells a humorous story of a dog that accidentally loses his memory, and doesn’t realize he is a dog. I had the chance to talk to Mr. Robinson about his childhood memories, favorite authors, and what future projects are in the works.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: I can remember my third grade teacher, Ms. Bland, reading Charlotte’s Web to the class.

2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: My favorite author is Sidney Sheldon. He was so intriguing with his story and it was hard to figure out how the story would end!


3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Ronald Wayne Robinson: I like to write early in the morning (3-4 AM). Everybody is sleeping and I don’t have to worry about the phone ringing or I have a task to perform.


4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: I’m a Children’s Picture Book author. Children books give you a chance to be more creative in your story line. You don’t have to always follow what is suppose to happen. Sometimes you can make the impossible happen!

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Ronald Wayne Robinson: Writing is a way to let people know what’s going on inside of me! I’m an introvert.

You're A Dog-Talking Chickens-Picture“You’re a Dog, Chase” is the humorous story of a farm dog that loses his memory while playing Frisbee with his owner, Tyson. In his journey to figure out what he is, Chase visits with all the animals on the farm, imitating each until another accident brings his memory back. This cute story deals with the themes of responsibility while introducing children to the farm and farm animals. This would be a great read aloud for early grade teachers planning a farm unit.

*This book is also available in a Spanish Edition, “Tu Eres Un Perro, Chase!”

“You’re A Dog, Chase!” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information, you can visit Ronald Wayne Robinson’s website/page at Amazon.com.

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Book Recommendation for “Stop Doing That”: A Picture Book About Having Tourette Syndrome As A Child

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Stop Doing That CoverWith the summer breezing past us, it’s nice to find a great book to keep the education going for your child. I found a wonderful book to teach your child or to supply your next year’s classroom with an understanding story of a child with Tourette syndrome. Written by an author with Tourette’s, it’s a story that will help any reader understand what it is like to have Tourette’s. “Stop Doing That!” is a story that belongs in any school library or classroom.

First, a little about the author. Chris Mason grew up with Tourette’s syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and anxiety disorder. He later was diagnosed with depression and akathisia a few years ago. He has published five books, including his autobiography, an anthology of thirty short stories, and non-fiction book about coaching youth soccer which will be published soon.

The book “Stop Doing That!” is the journey of a boy named John. Teachers, his parents, and friends get upset with him from his constant blinking, coughing and twitching at inappropriate times. His mother finally takes him to the doctor, and he is diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. His family and John learn strategies for minimizing his tics and encouragement to share his story with his fellow classmates.

It all makes John determined to not be stopped from doing the things he likes to do and deterred from the person he wants to be. It’s a book of finding strength and getting support to face struggles that are experienced.

I think “Stop Doing That!” is a great way to include diversity in your home, school or classroom. It’s a way to continue learning during the summer months, and a way to extend learning in the classroom, and would make a great read-aloud for the beginning of the school year.

“Stop Doing That!” is available at Amazon.com.

Interview with Laura St John

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Laura St John is the author of the picture book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover”.

With all this beautiful summer weather, it makes me tune into all the beautiful nature around us. What better way to connect with that than a picture book that includes bugs and an important message. “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover” is a book that teaches children to accept themselves and others for their differences. Told with the cutest bug characters, the author Laura St John brings to life lovable characters expressing wholesome values and good decision making in her stories. I had a chance to talk to Laura about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and her writing routine along with her plans for future projects.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

 
Laura St. John:
I loved reading poetry. The simplicity of it and the rhyming. My father had written many poems and cards to my mother, and it was really cool to read his words after he had passed away. I made my own little poem booklet as a child out of colored paper, stapled together and still have that today in a box.

I had a tough teacher in middle school who made us read about twenty novels in one school year and write book reports on them. He assigned the classics, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dracula, The Hobbit and we all didn’t like all of that reading. But looking back, it taught us a lot about the world and about descriptive writing. He also made us memorize poems like “Annabel Lee” and recite them in front of the whole class. Don’t think students are doing much of that today.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

 
Laura St John:
My office is a quiet getaway place with a soft carpet that I can rub my feet into when I write. I prefer to have complete silence to gather my thoughts. My three dogs are usually laying near me when I write since they follow me everywhere. If I feel like writing, then I do. Sometimes you just don’t feel like it which, I guess, many call writer’s block. But if the mood hits then you better start typing or you’ll lose your thoughts. Thank goodness for computers as it is so much easier to type versus writing with a pen.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects? 


Laura St John:
My next book will be about a character that I created called the Alphabet Chef. She has been with me since the late 90’s. So, I am finally going to write a children’s book about her teaching kids about healthy eating habits. I also want to do a series of books with the bugs from my first book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover”. Maybe I can focus on some other human topics that easily can be expressed with the bugs. My writings are always to help change the world (I hope) in a positive way like in “The Christmas House”. I don’t like writing about dark topics or things that don’t inspire people to think.

Bug Book “Don’t Judge A Bug By Its Cover” is a journey of a ladybug named Lace and a suave bug named Mr. Roach. Every step though the bug world is a step of uncertainty. They have to learn to rely on each other and see the beauty within others to survive their adventure together. This book is a great way to teach the themes of anti-bullying, teamwork, and seeing the beauty within others. It will make a great addition to any child’s or classroom library.

“Don’t Judge A Bug By its Cover” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on Laura St John, please visit her website at: http://www.laurastjohnenterprises.com.

Interview with Sola Togun-Butler

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Sola Togun-Butler is the author of the book Where Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School In America

Looking for educational books to add to your child’s learning or augment your classroom’s read-alouds? I had the chance to interview author Sola Togun-Butler, author of the book “Where Do You Keep The Lions?”. She has written a book about her experiences as a young African immigrant attending an American school for the first time. It’s a book that highlights the importance of cultural diversity and awareness while encouraging children to ask questions when they are curious about other cultures. Sola shared with me her childhood reading memories, favorite authors, and what she has in store for future writing projects.

  1. What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

My favorite memory reading as a child was the ability to immerse myself into the life of the character I was reading about. I would completely forget about my own surroundings and literally feel like I was living in the world of the character. I enjoyed the ability to form images in my head of the character’s life and experiences. Even till this day, I would rather read a book and form the images in my own mind than have those images given to me in a movie or television show.

  1. Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

My favorite author is Chimamanda Adichie. She has the amazing ability to capture the attention of the reader with the title and maintain that attention throughout the book. Therefore, it was important for me to choose a title that grabs the attention of the reader and have a story line that maintains it.

  1. Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you

I prefer to write in the morning when I am really energized. I grab a hot cup of tea, open the window blinds so I have a beautiful view of the sunshine or rain, turn on Bossa Nova or music from Nigeria, Mali or Senegal, sit at my desk and just write away. I am inspired by both music and nature

  1. What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

I would like to continue writing children’s books about cultural diversity and sensitivity. The world is diverse, and curiosity about other cultures is normal and should be encouraged by parents. It is important for parents to talk to their children to identify any stereotypes or biases that they might have about other cultures that could negatively impact their interaction with peers from that culture.

  1. What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing opens up the world and takes one on a journey of self-discovery.

KeepLionsBkCvrWhere Do You Keep The Lions? An African Girl’s First Day of School in America. Kemi, an eight-year-old African immigrant girl is looking forward to her first day of school in the United States. But when her classmates start asking upsetting questions about Africa, the negative attention confuses her. With advice from her father, she decides to show her classmates a different side to their understanding of African culture. This book is a wonderful way to expose children to sensitive cultural understanding by encouraging positive questioning about new cultures.

This book is available on Amazon.com.

For more about the author Sola Togun-Butler, visit her author’s page at: https://www.amazon.com/Sola-Togun-Butler-Ph.D./e/B07SHL16PL.

 

Interview with Glen C. Kinnaird

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Glen C. Kinnaird is the author of the book “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”

Summer is here! I bet you’re feeling the heat already. Time for a great read for your little ones. Here’s a brilliant picture book that grabbed my heart. “Tony The Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show”. It’s the first of a series that introduces children to the behind the scenes of theater. Playwright and author Glen C. Kinnaird wrote this book as a story to teach children about live theater. He lives in New York with the real Tony the Theater Dog. He developed the story from experiences backstage at a national tour of a Broadway show. I had a chance to interview Mr. Kinnaird about his picture book series, authors that influenced him, and what future projects he has in store for us.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Glen C. Kinnaird: My favorite book from my childhood that really sticks in my mind was a book called Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. The book is set on a Cherokee farm at the end of the 1800s and it tells the story of Jay Berry, a young boy from a poor family, as he tries to capture a group of runaway circus monkeys. I was captured from the first pages and as a boy who struggled with identity as a child and found it hard to make friends, books became a way for me to imagine I was friends with the characters in the books, going on the adventures with them.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Now that is a tough question. I think C.S. Lewis is my favorite author of all time. Lewis writes in both rational argument and imaginative analogy that helps me consider more deeply my faith. I remember thinking to myself it was the first time I had read someone who was both an intellectual and spiritual at the same time.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Glen C. Kinnaird: I am shamed to say I am a writer who goes with inspiration. I do not have a set routine yet, although I did not find my interest in becoming an author until 2012 when I began another young adult trilogy called, The Legend of the Crystal Lotus. It has been a story that has taken me almost eight years to develop the world, the characters and I have revised the plot lines about four times over the years. “Tony the Theatre Dog” took almost two years to write and had three different plots and story lines when we started. The illustrator began her drawings as I was doing the final editing on the book. I would bring her images and a description of what I wanted on the page. She did not see the actual text until I showed her the first draft summer of 2017.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Glen C. Kinnaird: I would like to find my Southern Voice as a writer. I feel that my childhood was kind of odd and I think there are a ton of kids that need to hear a voice that understands. So, this means I need to dive into those memories and some of them may be painful. It took time to explore those memories. I think I suppressed a lot of the pain. Now that I am almost fifty coming up in August, 2019, I see joy in my childhood where in years past the only thing I could see looking back was painful memories.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Glen C. Kinnaird: Writing is like flying for me, looking for new worlds.

Tony the Theatre Dog - 9 x 7-3Tony The Theater Dog series starts with the book “Puttin’ On A Show”. Tony takes the reader through the preparation of a theater production. Kids are introduced to the jobs that help put a theater show together. Different locations are explored, and Tony even brings peace to the cast and producer inspiring everyone to work together as a team.

 

“Tony the Theater Dog: Puttin’ On A Show” is available at Amazon.com.

It is due to release on July 15, 2019. Pre-order is available.

For more information on Glen C. Kinnaird, please visit his website at: https://www.tonythetheatredog.com/.

Interview with Erin Spaulding

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We’re almost to the biggest weekend to kick off the summer. Time to start stocking up on some good reads for your little ones to help keep them occupied during the long summer months. Here is a great book to consider by the author Erin Spaulding. Erin draws from raising her family to come up with family-oriented stories. Her own childhood and the raising of her children inspire her. In fact, going on adventures with her daughter gave Erin the idea for the book “Eden Visits the Orchard”. It’s a great mother and daughter reading adventure to learn and share time this summer.

I had time to talk with Erin about her childhood reading memories, favorite authors and what writing means to her. 

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Erin Spaulding: I used reading as an escape. I could lose myself in stories when I felt alone or scared. 

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Erin Spaulding: My favorite author in high school was Stephen King. I read a variety of his stories and I enjoyed his style for drawing you in especially with his series. I also appreciate his struggle to be taken seriously as more than a horror writer.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Erin Spaulding: For me, writing is a type of therapy. I enjoy writing multiple genres based upon what is happening in my life at the time. I have been working on a series of books related to my children as well as a middle grade book inspired by the current crises of violence in schools.

EdenVisitsOrchardCVR“Eden Visits the Orchard” is the recent release for Erin Spaulding. When Eden and her mother visit the orchard, they have a surprise tour guide. Join Eden as she learns about how an orchard and farm work. For ages 4-7. Great for farming units and introductions to farming. It is available at Amazon.com.

 

Interview with Celeste D Hightower

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As we start into the beautiful spring season into summer, you may start thinking about what books would be good to have for those hours you need to keep your child occupied. Celeste D Hightower might have an answer for you. She is an author that has created a picture book based on her Christian persona used to inspire children’s guidance in faith. Her book, Big Baby for Jesus and the Super Holy Spirit, will help guide how to create positive outcomes at home and school. I had a chance to talk to Celeste D Hightower about her book, how being a preacher’s daughter and foster parent have inspired her, and what to expect in future projects.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Celeste D Hightower: I’m a preacher’s kid. So, we read the Bible a lot growing up. I thought for sure the moment I had a chance to stop, I would. LOL However, that upbringing grounded me in many ways.

  • What subjects would you like to write about in the future?

Celeste D Hightower: It will always be faith based. As a Christian and a foster parent, I see firsthand the positive impact a relationship with God can have on children.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Celeste D Hightower: Writing is a way to develop a story that will captivate children’s imaginations.

BigBabcvrBig Baby for Jesus and the Super Holy Spirit helps children learn to build a positive relationship with God. It teaches that the positive thoughts deep inside is God’s way of speaking to them. God loves and supports his children, and wants them to follow his word. This book will entertain your child as well as help them make positive choices with scripture reinforcements. It’s hard to do what is right, but with the Super Holy Spirit and Big Baby’s help, a child can learn to conquer the world.

 

Big Baby for Jesus and the Super Holy Spirit is available at Amazon.com.

Also available as an audiobook and Spanish edition.

Interview with DeWana Green

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DeWana Green is the author of the picture book “Vonny B and Me”.

Spring is a great time to start thinking about summer reads. The best way to start gearing up is to consider some new picture books. I’ve found a darling story called “Vonny B and Me”. I had a chance to talk to the incredible author, DeWana Green. DeWana was a foster child that overcame many challenges in her life. She graduated from university with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She works in healthcare and bio tech, and teaches at the college level part time. She’s an inspirational speaker and has her own jewelry line that benefits foster children seeking higher education.

I had a chance to talk with DeWana about the challenges and memories from her childhood, what inspires her to move forward, and what projects she is planning in the future.

  • What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

DeWana Green: My favorite memory from reading as a child was learning to read. I learned to read very young. In fact, I was three-years-old when I learned to read fluently.  

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

DeWana Green: My favorite author from childhood was Shel Silverstein. I was obsessed with “I Know Where the Sidewalk Ends”. Also, I loved Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”. As an adult I like Maya Angelou and Robert Fulghum.

  • Do you have a writing routine?

DeWana Green: When it comes to writing, I don’t really have a writing routine. I write best when I am near water. I do have a couple writing rules: 1. I always write from an outline 2. I never force my creativity to flow, so I have never had writer’s block. If there is no flow, it’s a no go… I only write when I feel it. I write when I am inspired.

  • How did you get the idea to write “Vonny B and Me?”

DeWana Green: VBM was inspired by the relationship of my son with learning differences/special needs and his dog. It truly demonstrates that we all have areas that we can excel and be great!

  • You have faced many challenges growing up. How has this helped you to inspire young people?

DeWana Green: It has only been since my divorce over the past 4 years that I have really embraced the pains and fears of my past. I realized that it took ALL of it to make me who I am today. I am always mentoring young adults in some facet of life. There are times I have young adults onboard doing intern work for me and helping research my ideas and concepts. There are other times I am simply spending one-on-one time with them and reminding them that there is NO-thing that they could ever encounter that they cannot overcome once they have decided to overcome it in their minds.

  • I noticed you design jewelry. What are the ideas behind some of your designs.
  • DeWana Green: Yes, I love to jewelry design. It’s a great creative outlet. Each piece I make comes with a unique writing about that piece. My ideas are inspired by nature and the colors of sun, ocean, and sky.
  • What would you suggest to future aspiring writers?

DeWana Green: My suggestion for aspiring writers is simply take time to understand your gift by writing and learn how your gift flows. We all flow and are inspired uniquely and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that creative energy that’s responsible for so many different books.

  • What plans do you have for the “Vonny B” and Me series?

DeWana Green: The plan is for there to be 5 books in the series. I had 5 different concepts when the idea came to me for the initial work. So up next we will find that VB goes on a unique trip with some friends to some cool places! What I love the most is the subtle lessons that children learn from the book(s).

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

DeWana Green: In the future I see myself writing more in the VBM series. I would like to finish it out. Also, I see superheroes in my future as I have gained some inspiration in that area.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

DeWana Green: Writing is the ability to take an imaginary world living in my head and bring it to life on paper so that everyone can experience it too.

vonnyBandmeCvr“Vonny B and Me” is a captivating picture book about a dog and his boy. A seven-year-old boy and his dog take you on a journey of love as you follow their relationship of friendship and courage. The boy has many challenges, such as a learning difference. But through the love of his dog, he can face them. This is a touching story to teach about dealing with differences, changes, and using communication to solve problems. It will make a great addition for any child’s or teacher’s read aloud library. This is the first in a planned series.

“Vonny B and Me” is available at Amazon.com.

For more information on DeWana Green, please visit her website at: www.courageousme.net.

Interview with Denise L. Jefferson

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Spring is in the air. What a great time to add to your picture book library with a newly discovered author. Meet Denise L. Jefferson. She’s the author of Button Joe. It’s a humorous picture book about a boy that likes to eat buttons. She is also the author of “Dragons Don’t Take Vacations”. I had the chance to talk with Denise about where she gets her story ideas, what inspires her, and what writing means to her.

1) Do you have a writing routine? Share what writing routine works for you.

Denise L. Jefferson: I really don’t have a writing style or routine. I gather my book ideas from almost anywhere. Sometimes I like the different environment when traveling, because you get to experience or interact on a different scale. Or people watching might spark something?

2) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Denise L. Jefferson: Future projects. I’d like to expand to adult Christian or inspiration.

3) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Denise L. Jefferson: Writing to me is like dreaming on paper. Your thoughts and imagination can be limitless.

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Denise Jefferson’s book is available at Amazon.com.

Denise L. Jefferson’s book Button Joe is about a scrappy little baby boy that loves to eat buttons. As he grows, he has to learn to break this habit. What he learns along the way makes a humorous, warm story for the whole family.

Button Joe” is available at Amazon.com.

Interview with Madeleine Matthews, Author of “How To Save The Dragon”

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Madeleine Matthews is the author of the picture book “How To Save The Dragon”.

I love finding picture books that help develop children’s thinking. Here is a great find to add to any parent’s read aloud library. How To Save The Dragon is a delightful picture book that helps teach impulse control for children. Through character-based explanations on how the brain works, it guides the young reader through an adventure through the brain with two friends, a dragon and elephant. I got a chance to interview the author of this book, Madeleine Matthews. She shared her childhood memories, favorite authors, and what she has in store for future writing projects.

  • Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Madeleine Matthews: My favorite author is Daniel J. Siegel. I absolutely love his approach to discipline as teaching & love how he sheds some light on the most challenging moments in our lives as parents by explaining the biological perspective.

His work was an inspiration for me. I thought that all parents and children should benefit from knowing the science of brain integration and the brain dynamic during a tantrum. This is why, in my book, I created a story line to illustrate a tantrum as an alarm, and also the two characters to explain the wonderful internal resources available for each of us & the power of focusing conscious awareness to activate and grow the more evolved structures in our brains.

  • What is your favorite memory of reading as a child?

Madeleine Matthews: My favorite memory is a feeling of immersion actually, in the summer break at my grandparents’ place, in rainy days when we couldn’t play outside, and I relished Alexandre Dumas books.

  • Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Madeleine Matthews: Writing routine for me is about realizing that internal struggle, where you’re kind of avoiding to actually sit down and write. So my routine involves a beautiful notebook, and a pencil & for the most part it is a sort of dialog I have with myself: “Just put pen to paper, scribble at first even, and then there’ll be plenty of time to rework & re-word until I am happy with the outcome.”

  • What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Madeleine Matthews: In my future projects, I would love to create stories that incorporate more concepts that convey bite size science that works in the area of social emotional development & building executive functioning.

  • What is writing to you in one sentence?

Madeleine Matthews: Writing to me is creative freedom, and the beauty of encapsulating messages & meaning.

How To Save The Dragon is a helpful picture book to describe how a child’s brain works HowToSaveDragCVRand to help introduce them to impulse control. Introducing the concept of a temper tantrum in the form of a story adventure, the young reader is guided to understand how to start their own impulse control through the help of lovable characters. This is a great addition for every parenting library.

This book is available at Amazon and is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Follow the author Madeleine Matthews at Instagram.