Countless Challenges That Kids Face
Posted by Literary Titan
Success follows a young boy who is working on a school assignment to discover what the meaning of success is by interviewing people he knows. What was the inspiration for your story?
The inspiration for this particular series of stories comes from my students over the years. As an elementary school teacher, I have seen countless challenges that kids face. I am inspired by them to write stories that touch on big life lessons, such as identity, perseverance, kindness, and courage. This story came to me while I was on a walk with my oldest sister one Sunday morning. She and I were chatting about my students, her own kids who are now adults, and life in general. If you have sisters, or have been around sisters, you know how we can bounce all over the place in conversations! Anyhow, as the day went on, the idea became more and more clear, and the story sort of wrote itself!
The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Helen Ayle?
I agree, the art is fantastic! Helen and I have been collaborating for about two years. We discovered one another for our very first project, a book called Good Deeds Gone Wrong that also has the same main character as Success. We have collaborated on seven projects so far. She is a wonderful artist and illustrator. Her ideas are creative, and I love how she brings different perspectives in the illustrations. My favorite from this book is while Stephen was lying awake in bed… I love the colors and mood on that page!
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The main themes that I wanted to explore through this book are identity and defining success. I think it is important for kids to consider this idea of identity — who we believe we are and how we see ourselves. I also hope kids understand that success looks different for different people. Ultimately, I hope kids think about success a little differently, just like the main character. I see children come through my classroom each year who are so uniquely talented, and often don’t feel successful based on school criteria. They maybe struggle with reading or math, but perhaps are incredibly logical thinkers. Or maybe they are amazing artists, or kind and helpful people who jump up to assist anyone who needs it. I have kids who are incredible public speakers, dancers, writers, athletes, and mathematicians. Ultimately, I hope this book helps kids feel seen and understood. I hope it helps them consider that each person is gifted in different ways, and that is what makes the world function well. We need all of the talents and perspectives!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I just released another piece about a week ago that Helen illustrated for me called A Big Family’s Big Trip. I was inspired to write a story after reading the 1978 Caldecott winner The Relatives Came. The story is about my family’s trip to Israel in December 2018- January 2019. My parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 2019, and they announced that rather than having a big party, they wanted to take us all on a big trip to Israel! It was an amazing adventure, to say the least. And Helen did a fantastic job creating the thirteen characters inspired by my family! She has also finished illustrations for another book called Tough Turning Ten that will be released this summer. AND I’m also putting together a book for another series that I have with an exceptional illustrator named Pablo D. A’lio. That series has brief lessons for everyday activities that are also wise words of wisdom for life. We created three books of Grandpa’s Lessons, and now we are diving into Grandma’s Guides… We can learn a lot about life from activities like fishing, hiking, cooking, and gardening. Plus grandparents always have the best advice, right?
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
Posted on April 24, 2022, in Interviews and tagged author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, childrens books, christian books, ebook, goodreads, kids books, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, picture books, read, reader, reading, Ruthie Godfrey, story, success, sunday school, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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