Q and A with Sherry Weaver Smith: THE WOLF AND THE SHIELD

Sherry Weaver Smith The Wolf and the Shield BOOK COVERToday I welcome Sherry Weaver Smith to Dog Reads, a blog that features interviews with authors who’ve written a canine story for kids or young adults. What is the title of your book? Pub date and publisher? Genre? Targeted age group? Illustrator?

The Wolf and the Shield: An Adventure with Saint Patrick, Pauline Books and Media, January 2016, Ages 8-12, Nicholas McNally Illustrator

AOB: Who is your key dog character(s) and what kind of dog is he/she? Feel free to list as many different breeds or mixes as necessary. Tell us a little more about him/her.

Aisling is an orphaned Gray Wolf pup, who likes to chase after anything that makes a sound, falls asleep quickly after playing, and curls up when she’s cold. She has light gray fur like birch tree trunks mixed with the soft white of a snowy path on the way to an adventure. She lives in 5th century Ireland.

AOB: In 70 words or less, provide a succinct plot description of your story.

Ever since Kieran’s father’s death, he’s tried to take care of his mother and little brother. When Saint Patrick helps him to rescue a wolf pup, his choices become more difficult. Should he leave home to join Carrick’s warriors? Will someone discover the wolf he’s been hiding and kill it? Join Kieran as he cares for the orphaned pup and searches for a shield strong enough to protect everyone he loves.

Links to reviews or blurbs.

AOB: What inspired you to write this story?

I found an article that described how Celtic saints turned to animals as friends when they couldn’t find their way. At other times, they saved animals at a point in history, where unlike today, it wasn’t common to rescue them.

St. Patrick stopped his friends from hunting a deer and her fawn who were resting on a hilltop where the group of men wanted to build a church. St. Aidan protected a hungry wolf by feeding it meat that the saint needed for himself. St. Melangell saved a hare from a hunt by hiding the fleeing animal in her robes. Sometimes, saints needed saving. Otters protected a saint, Cuthbert, so absorbed in prayer that he found himself over chilled in the North Sea. The furry creatures wrapped around his legs.

I was inspired by these caring people, who had so little but often were willing to give that away to animals.

AOB: What was the biggest challenge you had writing your story? How did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was also the most fun: trying to imagine a story while also making sure it was historically accurate. I faced an exciting pile of books to do research regarding St. Patrick’s spirituality, plants and animals, customs, tools, food, and many details of 5th century Ireland.

AOB: What other YA/MG books have you written? Do any of them feature a key dog character? If so, which ones?

What are these stories about?

The Wolf and the Shield: An Adventure with Saint Patrick is my first book.

AOB: What kind of story can we expect next from you? Is it about a dog? If so, what is it about?

My next book, Search for the Hidden Garden: A Discovery with Saint Thérèse, will be published in August 2016. In the story, ten-year-old Charlotte and her friends think they are only looking for adventure when they happen upon a hidden garden. But they find much more than they expected—and face a threat to the trees themselves. Can Thérèse, an extraordinary fifteen-year-old girl preparing to become a Carmelite nun, help Charlotte to find the true treasure hidden inside the garden? And will Charlotte discover the mission she’s been on all along?

AOB: What else would you like us to know about you or your story?

It might seem hard for children to relate to St. Patrick, who lived so long ago. He had the courage to return as a priest to Ireland, where he had been a slave. For many Catholics, he is a symbol of having courage to follow God no matter what.

But I think children, by tapping into their deep compassion for animals, can relate to this story of St. Patrick, Kieran, and a wolf pup. Taking care of a pet is one of the earliest ways that kids show kindness and responsibility—all on their own—even at the risk that those first friends may become sick, hurt, or even die. Children show great courage when they journey through pets’ lives and end of life, and kids connect with Kieran, across time and across place, in this universal story.

AOB: Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? And why?

Yes, Where the Red Fern Grows. I didn’t have a dog as a child (I had a cat), and I never had to move to a different home. But I still understood the beauty of a red fern shading the graves of two beloved pet dogs when a boy has to leave that place behind when his family moves. The title of Where the Red Fern Grows points to the way places can hold memories. As a writer now, I’m still looking for red ferns. I’ve written a series of poems for adults about graveyards that wonder about the stories memorialized there.

Sherry Weaver Smith AUTHOR PHOTOAOB: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

For me, the best part about creative writing is creativity—finding ideas! Ban writer’s block by:

  1. Carrying a 3×5-inch blank notebook or your phone to record your ideas—at all times.
  1. Collecting images of things that you like for your story: in newspapers, magazines, your own photos, or online.
  1. Lining up a playlist that evokes the characters of your story in their world. When I was first writing, I lived in bright California surrounded by brown hills. Kieran in The Wolf and the Shield protects his tiny wolf pup in a dark oak forest. So, I found lots of songs, like a movie soundtrack, that echoed this landscape.

Readers can learn more about Sherry Weaver Smith on her web page or by following her on Twitter. Thank you Sherry Weaver Smith for joining us at World Reads! Thank you Sherry Weaver Smith for joining us at Dog Reads!

Q and A with Sherry Weaver Smith: SEARCH FOR THE HIDDEN GARDEN

Sherry Weaver Smith SEARCH FOR THE HIDDEN GARDEN BOOK COVERToday I welcome Sherry Weaver Smith to World Reads, a blog that features interviews with authors who’ve written a story set outside of the United States for children or young adults. What is the title of your book? The pub date and publisher? Genre? Targeted age group?

Search for the Hidden Garden: A Discovery with Saint Thérèse, Pauline Books and Media, August 2016, Ages 8-12, Rebecca Thornburgh Illustrator

Where is it set?

Lisieux, Normandy, France

In 70 words or less, provide a succinct plot description of your story.

In a school in France, a ten-year-old girl finds a treasure map to a hidden garden and four special trees inside. With the help of her friends and a prayerful older girl, Thérèse, she works to uncover the mystery. But when she leaves one classmate out of the adventure, danger comes to the garden. Can Thérèse help Charlotte to understand the real mystery—and will it protect the trees?

 Links to reviews or blurbs 

How are you connected to the setting of your story?

First, I am connected to the setting since it was the home of St. Thérèse. Although she spent almost her whole life in the town of Lisieux, and the end of it in just one building, a Carmel or convent, she believed she was helping the whole world through her prayers. Just as reading this blog or books about the world connects us to different cultures, Thérèse really did feel that her faith was relevant not just to the Sisters she knew, or people in Lisieux, or in France, but everyone in the whole world. So in writing, I have had to have the belief, that although I could not be in France, I could somehow describe the place and time of Thérèse by reading research and her autobiography.

Second, I received the great gift of gaining ideas from Genevieve Sauvage, a curious and delightful French citizen who has spent many years sharing French culture and language with all who are interested. She is married to my father-in-law, the grandfather of my twelve-year-old daughter. The couple lives in France, and Genevieve shared many nuances of French language, customs, and nature with me to add to my prior travels in the country.

What inspired you to write this story?

I started to become inspired to write the story as a search for a hidden garden and as a treasure map when I began reading The Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse, which is her autobiography. On a huge piece of paper, I wrote and drew beautiful images and words from the book, such as an apricot, “fields enameled with cornflowers,” fir trees, the swing at her childhood home, and swirls of snow. What I created from her words looked like a garden full of fruits and fun places for children.

Then one afternoon, a friend of my daughter brought over a treasure map she’d found at a garage sale. As the two girls started making up stories about the dusty map and began digging in my backyard, I looked at what I’d drawn and decided on a plot for my own story.

What was the biggest challenge you had writing your story? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was that St. Thérèse became a nun at the age of 15. When she went into the monastery, she didn’t speak with many people in the outside world. My characters are children so for them to become friends with her, Thérèse would need to be quite young, too. But as a child, she wouldn’t be able to share much of her spirituality. I overcame this by making Thérèse age 15, just at the point of almost entering Carmel. In the novel, she shares some of her core ideas, but of course, historically she hadn’t created most of her theology by age 15.

What kind of story can we expect next from you? Is it set outside of the United States? If so, where? And what is it about?

Yes, I am working on another “Friends with the Saints” story set outside the United States, this time in Norwich, England, a country I’m most comfortable with out of the three I’ve written about.

The novel doesn’t have a title yet. Set in the medieval period, a young girl tries to save her family’s bakery (targeted by a shady guild) by going on a quest set by holy woman Julian of Norwich, but her friend, the son of a fisherman, inadvertently causes disasters when he tries to help.

What else would you like us to know about you or your story?

In Search for the Hidden Garden, a gardener who works at a large mansion, Jean-Marc DuBois, created the map and planted all the flowers and trees for children to solve and enjoy. Many years later, when Charlotte finds the map, Monsieur DuBois has lost much of his memory, and the garden itself becomes his history, a way of showing what has been important to him.

My Uncle David inspired this character. My uncle didn’t have any problems with his memory, but he passed away at a young age, much too young. Still many children remember the model train displays he created to share with everyone each Christmas on his land in a rural area of Ohio. Beyond books, there are so many creative ways to share with, and inspire, children—holiday lights, the sets of school plays, the food and games at backyard birthdays.

Sherry Weaver Smith AUTHOR PHOTOCan you remember the first book that made an impact on you? And why?

Yes, I love Where the Red Fern Grows since it evokes a sense a place in a poignant way. I didn’t have a dog as a child (I had a cat), and I never had to move to a different home. But I still understood the beauty of a red fern shading the graves of two beloved pet dogs when a boy has to leave that place behind when his family moves. The title of Where the Red Fern Grows points to the way places can hold memories. As a writer now, I’m still looking for red ferns. I’ve written a series of poems for adults about graveyards that wonder about the stories memorialized there.

Readers can learn more about Sherry Weaver Smith on her web page or by following her on TwitterThank you Sherry Weaver Smith for joining us at World Reads!

Author Interview with Janet Fox: THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE

Janet Fox THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLEToday I welcome Janet Fox to World Reads, a blog that features interviews with authors who’ve written a story set outside of the United States for children or young adults.

Janet, what is the title of your book? The pub date and publisher? Genre? Targeted age group?

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, March 2016, Viking. Middle grade, ages 10+

Where is it set?

Mostly Scotland, though it begins in London.

In 70 words or less, provide a succinct plot description of your story.

When Kat Bateson and her brother and sister are sent to a Scottish castle-turned-school at the start of World War 2, they believe it will be a refuge from the London Blitz bombs. But the castle is creepy; spies may be in hiding; and the Lady who runs the school is not what she seems – and Kat discovers that all the children are in mortal danger.

Link to reviews or blurbs readers can check out to hear all of the great feedback Janet’s book is getting.

Here’s a link to a starred review from Kirkus.

How are you connected to the setting of your story?

I’ve been to Scotland several times, and my mother is first generation American, from England.

mqdefaultWhat inspired you to write this story?

An image of a chatelaine that I saw on the internet inspired the story. I was online – just hanging out – when a friend of mine posted a picture of a piece of jewelry. I stared at it, instantly mesmerized. It was a 17th century German chatelaine with 12 charms, and those charms looked weird. The more I stared the weirder they looked.

At that point, the entire novel came into my head, almost complete – including the setting and time period, and most importantly Kat, my main character. I wrote the first draft really fast – although it went through a long revision process.

Janet Fox Author PhotoWhat was the biggest challenge you had writing your story? How did you overcome it?

The multiple points of view were tricky to handle. I moved things around until I thought they made sense. In the end, I printed out each POV, laid them out in a long hallway, and shifted them until the story was coherent.

What kind of story can we expect next from you? Is it set outside of the United States? If so, where? And what is it about?

I’m working on a possible sequel, still set in Scotland, still in Rookskill Castle. It’s a continuation of Kat’s experiences with magic and World War 2.

What else would you like us to know about you or your story?

I feel very connected to Kat, who struggles with reconciling her practical nature with the possibility of magic in the world.

Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? And why?

C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books! And they directly inspired this book, with their blend of fantasy and history.

You can learn more about Janet Fox and her wonderful books on her webpage or follow her on Facebook, and Twitter.  

Thank you Janet for joining us at World Reads! I’m super excited to read CHARMED! It’s at the top of my pile of nighttime reading books. Congratulations for all the well deserved accolades your book is receiving.

 

Author School Visits: 12 TIPS

dog-reading-294x214For checklists and the mechanics of conducting a successful author school visit go to your publisher’s web site and search ‘school visits’. Random House, for example, features a site called Set up a Visit that outlines basic information you and the host school should follow.

Because even the best planned events might experience some sort of hiccup I also read numerous posts on the subject from authors who shared their experiences in the trenches of elementary schools. Here are my top eleven tips to minimize some of those hiccups:

Tip # 1

Alexis O’Neill

Before you do anything, sign up for blog posts from School Visit Experts. Alexis O’Neill offers a place for published authors to find and share advice on how to create and deliver quality programs for kids, teachers, and librarians. It’s an awesome blog about author school visits. Even if you’re not yet published, sign up and start learning now!

Tip # 2

In 9 Ways to Get Teachers to Love Your Author Visit O’Neill brings up a valid point about the Q&A session of an author talk. Sometimes it’s hard for the author to hear the kids’ questions, and their questions are often repetitive or off-track. To best prepare, ask teachers for questions ahead of time, and then choose which to answer. Another option is to develop your own questions and build them into your presentation.

IMG_6006

Waimea Canyon Middle School – 6th grade

The number one question I always get is: “How did you come up with the story idea for Lara’s Gift?” Instead of waiting for someone to ask this question, I ask the audience: “What do you think is the number one question kids ask me?” The kids become engaged and multiple hands shoot up.And even if you answer this question in your presentation, be patient with the student who asks this question again. Happens to me every time.

IMG_5999

Kapaa Elementary School – 5th grade

Here I am in Kauai on a school visit where the hugs were boundless and the leis welcoming. The teacher at this school even arranged and invited the only pair of borzoi living on the island into the classroom to give the kids a chance to meet a real borzoi!

Tip # 3

In 4 Ways to Make Librarians Love Your School Visit, Toni Buzzeo gives great advice: Understand and design presentations to respond to local curriculum. When you are in a school, you are temporarily in the position of an educator. Because every school hour is precious in this age of standards-driven education, and because in all but five states (see map), those standards (entitled the Common Core State Standards) are national, it is easier now, than ever before, to incorporate them into your presentations. Start here and then solicit help from teachers you know to refine your presentations. Remember that the more you add value in your presentation and help teachers accomplish their goals as educators the more likely you’ll be invited back.

Tip # 4

images

Credit: Catherine Linka

If you are working with a bookseller to set up a school visit, Catherine Linka, author of 7 Ways to Make Indie Booksellers Love You recommends that you be absolutely clear from the first conversation with a bookseller if you need to charge for a school visit. “It is fine with us [Flintridge Bookstore] if this is how you make your living, but do not expect us to get the business for you. We will, however, be happy to supply books after you have made the deal. If you can afford to do free school visits, it will be a treat for us to call our customers and set those up.”

Tip # 5

26539_OBrien_Coming to school poster_March_Page_1

Credit: Laura Purdie Silas

Laura Purdie Salas gives great advice in From 5 Things I’ve Learned about School Visits: send posters and free books once the author school visit contract is signed. She had some mini-posters printed with a bunch of her book covers and an announcement that “Laura Purdie Salas is coming to school on ________!” On the back of the posters she printed tips to help adults prepare for her visit. She sends 3-4 posters plus 2-3 of her trade hardcover books in advance. She says, “The cost is well worth the extra excitement the materials generate.” I took her advice and created my own poster.

Tip # 6

O’Neill stresses the importance of connecting with your audience by Telling Stories about Yourself. Whether you are speaking to an adult audience or to kids, remember to weave in a story or two about yourself – ones that listeners can connect with. Dig for funny or poignant nuggets from your growing up years, disappointments/heartbreaks, celebrations (disastrous or otherwise), unexpected kindnesses from others, family vacations (or lack thereof), school (conflicts or triumphs).

Tip # 7

bookplate.1What do you do if the bookseller at your school event doesn’t bring enough books? O’Neill offers a great solution in From Economical Bookplate Solutions: send them a signed bookplate for every book sold that goes unsigned. It’s disappointing – to you and to readers — when schools or bookstores run out of your books during your appearance. Being able to autograph and personalize a book can mean the difference between a sale and no sale.

 

Tip # 8

It is worth repeating what Dan Gutman says in The Perfect Author Visit in that a successful school visit usually comes down to how much preparation the librarian, teachers, PTA, and principal put into it. Here are some suggestions from Gutman that you can share with your host school:

Tell students the author is coming at least a month in advance. Put the author’s books on display in the school library. Put a display of book covers up in the hallway.

Have classes read the books and write book reports or think up questions to ask the author.

Throw a contest and have the winners receive autographed books.

Have an art class make posters, banners, and bookmarks welcoming the author.

Have a writing class write reviews of the author’s books.

Arrange for the students on the school paper to interview the author.

Call the local newspapers. Maybe they’ll send a photographer to cover the event. If they don’t, take pictures yourself and submit them.

If the author writes about a specific subject, create a theme day around it at school.

Talk it up. The more excited you are, the more excited the kids will be. And when the kids are excited, any message the author gives them will really hit home.

Tip # 9

Camille Powell

Librarian Camille Powell

Camille Powell, a.k.a. Miss BookMoot gives lovely insight on author visits from a librarian’s perspective in Advice for Authors on School Visits. The section that hit home most with me was “what to talk about”:

 Often, kids know how a manuscript becomes a book. It is interesting and even MORE fascinating if you tell the story of something exciting, horrible, difficult that happened during the process.

Students have been taught how to use a library or how to do research . Share something interesting that happened or that surprised you while you did your research. Where did you go to do your research? Got pictures?

Talking about revision is interesting IF you can relate your challenges in the writing process. If you are sharing a manuscript page bleeding with corrections and suggestions, make sure they can see the details on the page with a visual (a slide or overhead.)

Illustrate and explain a specific editing change. If you are lucky you will be presenting in the school library but be prepared for a gymnasium or lunch room-sized venue. Think of those kids at the very back. Can they see and appreciate what you are sharing?

Writers of historical fiction sometimes share artifacts or facts from the time period they write about. Share some true stories from that time too. Something drew you to writing about that event or time period, what was it?

Tip # 10

Author Kimberly Norman

Author Kimberly Norman

Be sure to contact author, Kimberly Norman. She’ll be happy to add your name by state to her list of authors interested in doing school visits. Kimberly also offers great advice on ensuring a successful author-kid encounter. All she asks is that you provide her link to your webpage and/or mention what she’s doing in a blog post to help spread the word so more kids can meet authors that inspire the love of reading. Thanks for setting this up Kimberly Norman! Kimberly also shared with me some information about a group she belongs to on Facebook called Create Engaging School Visits. Be sure to check them out too!

TIP # 11

Author Kate Messner

Author Kate Messner

Participate in Read Aloud Day and Skype with an Author! Every February Scholastic spreads the word about authors working with schools through Skype to promote reading. Author Kate Messner created a webpage where you can sign up and list your name and availability. I signed up for the first time this year and locked in two author Skype visits at two different schools. Kate’s site must get a lot of traffic from schools because I signed up a few days in advance of the designated Read Aloud day. Thanks Kate for taking the initiative to bring schools and authors together.

Tip # 12

Authors know how important an opening is to hook readers. The same goes for school presentations. Be sure to read O’Neill’s article on Great Beginnings which features examples of how authors like you have started their talks.

Author Rick Riordan

Author Rick Riordan

And finally, if you ever feel like you’re “trying to fill a reservoir with an eye-dropper” as you plan one school visit after another wondering if your hard work will ever pay off, read My Overnight Success by Rick Riordan for inspiration. You will carry a deeper appreciation of what it took Riordan to get where he is today, as well as be humbled by the doubt he felt along the way.

A BIG thanks to the generous authors and writers that make up the children’s book writing community. To those authors cited in this blog post, hugs all around for taking the time to share your experience.

 

 

Q & A with Stephanie Hemphill: SISTERS OF GLASS

Stephanie Hemphill SISTERS OF GLASS Book CoverToday I welcome Stephanie Hemphill to World Reads, a blog that features interviews with authors who’ve written a story set outside of the United States for children or young adults. A good friend of mine gifted me Stephanie’s book, SISTERS OF GLASS (Knopf, 2012) for readers 10 and above. I loved it so much for its descriptive language and story I reached out to Stephanie to join us on World Reads.

 

Where is SISTERS OF GLASS set?

Murano, Italy

In 70 words or less, provide a succinct plot description of your story.

Maria is the younger daughter of an esteemed family of glassblowers on Murano. Her father’s dying wish is for Maria to marry into the nobility even though her rightful elder sister Giovanna is better suited. Both girls prefer Giovanna to marry, but they can’t circumvent their father’s wishes. Maria dreams of becoming a glassblower. The family business begins to fail, so a young glassblower, Luca, arrives and further complicates matters.

Links to reviews or blurbs :

Poetry for Children

Kirkus Reviews

Horn Book

Starred review from Booklist:

A romantic tale of destiny, fidelity, and true love is perfectly placed in fourteenth-century Murano, Italy (of glassmaking renown), and just as judiciously told through verse. Giovanna and Maria are daughters of a brilliant glassmaker. Upon his death, he declares that Maria, the younger daughter born the week he made a tremendous discovery, is to marry a nobleman. Vanna, the older and more marriageable both by tradition and nature, retreats from her warm relationship with Maria into bitterness and anger. Maria is disdainful of her training to be a society woman and yearns instead to spend her time with her art, or in the family’s furnaces with Luca, an employee whose skill with glass is the marvel that leads Maria, who once aspired to be a glassblower, to fall in love with him. How the sisters navigate their divide, reconcile, and begin to work with one another to create livable futures from the hands they have been dealt outshines their respective love stories without minimizing them. Though the verse is anything but sparse, nothing is wasted in the telling of this lyrical tale. In a landscape, time, and plot rich with descriptive opportunity, Hemphill’s verse selects and illuminates the best bits, intensifying them like light through glass.

— Heather Booth

Stephanie Hemphill Author PhotoHow are you connected to the setting of your story?

I’m not sure that I have a direct connection in terms of heritage to the setting of my story, but Renaissance history and specifically the Italian Renaissance has been a long time fascination of mine. And of all the places that I have traveled, Venice is the city that I love the most.

What inspired you to write this story?

As with many of my books the idea of writing about glassblowing was suggested to me by someone else, in this case an editor. I then did a little research to see if I felt I could invest in the subject and add something unique to the larger discussion about the topic, which in this case was fictitious late 15th century glassblowing families. I discovered through research that a real person named Maria Barovier was one of the few women glassmakers of the time and one of the few known women ever permitted to have her own furnace. I personally had been brewing a story about sisters around in my head. So when I discovered that because glassmaking was such a revered art one daughter of a glassmaker was allowed to marry into the nobility I mashed up the three ideas and found my way into a story.

What was the biggest challenge you had writing your story? How did you overcome it?

With historical fiction I find that I am always challenged by a desire to be historically accurate and yet not entirely abandon poetry. I often have to sacrifice images or ideas because they are anachronistic or too modern. I enjoy writing strong young women but they cannot be completely outside of the norms of their time period and yet I want a contemporary reader to relate to Maria and Giovanna. I compromise and revise and revise and revise.

What kind of story can we expect next from you? Is it set outside of the United States? If so, where? And what is it about?

I did follow up SISTERS OF GLASS with a book set outside of the United States about Mary Shelley and her creation of Frankenstein and love affair with Percy Shelley called HIDEOUS LOVE. She and Percy and her half sister, Claire, travel throughout Europe in the novel, from England to France to Italy to Switzerland where Mary finds the inspiration to write Frankenstein and they meet Lord Byron. It’s a twisted tale of travel, inspiration, literature, love and loss.

The book I’m currently working on and will be out in Winter 2018 is a contemporary prose novel about girls in a school for the educationally exceptional called The Prime.

What else would you like us to know about you or your story?

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Venice and the adjacent island of Murano before I began writing and that certainly enriched SISTERS OF GLASS. It’s not always possible for me to travel to the location of my book, especially when the novel is set outside of the United States, but I know the visceral details and my own experiences help the story when I do. Venice is both breath-taking and unique. It’s not too difficult to imagine what it was like in the late 15th century when you’re there because all travel is by foot or boat (or bicycle), no motorized vehicles are permitted in the city. The windy cobblestone streets, bridges and cathedrals date back to the fifteenth century and even earlier. And the glassblowing houses on Murano use many of the same techniques that were employed in 1490.

18Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? And why?

I think as a young child the first books I loved until the pages fell out, the ones I could recite before I could read without text or pictures, were Dr. Seuss. Perhaps in some way I was destined to become a poet because of Geisel’s early influence.

The first book I can remember being read aloud that had no pictures was Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. I could not have been more than four or five, and I looked forward to bedtime and my father reading a new chapter. It was way better than television.

The first chapter book I read over and over on my own was Charlotte’s Web. It still makes me cry even though I know what’s coming, and that’s because of the characters. I read books over and over because I love the characters. They exist beyond the page for me in my mind and my soul, and I think Charlotte’s Web was the first book that showed me that.

Readers can learn more or connect with Stephanie Hemphill on Facebook.

Thank you Stephanie Hemphill for joining us at World Reads! I LOVED SISTERS OF GLASS and highly recommend it for any reader interested in verse novels, strong female characters, poetic imagery, and engaging storytelling.

 

 

All materials © 2016 Annemarie O'Brien. Web site by Websy Daisy. Illustration © 2013 by Tim Jessell