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Bringing Joy to the Reader

Susan Weiner Author Interview

Susan Weiner Author Interview

Pirates and Spooks, Beware! is a fun collection of poetry around the theme of pirates. What served as your inspiration when putting this collection together?

My inspiration for this book of children’s poetry actually came from my background as a graduate student in history at UCLA. I studied seventeenth-century English history. After I left graduate school I wrote historical articles on pirates for a few years. Once I even made the front cover of a magazine with a piece on Ann Bonny, a fearsome eighteenth-century pirate woman who out fought the men on board ship. Several years later I wrote a poem for fun on Stinky Pete, a smelly, unhygienic swashbuckler who managed to court and marry 11 women despite his untidy ways. I had fun writing it and I knew I was hooked. From then on I began to work on a collection of pirate and spooky poems featuring my real historical knowledge of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean. All my pirate poems are based on my real research in original texts and documents from the eighteenth century. I wrote the poems to amuse myself and children and hope they will do so bringing joy to the reader.

I enjoyed the vibrant illustrations in this book. What was the art collaboration like with Bobbie Kogok on this book?

Working on the illustrations with Bobbie Kogok was a delight. I met her through my church and we became close and fast friends sharing in the fun a children’s book is to create. I knew of her background in art and asked her to illustrate my book because I liked her and the whimsy she creates in her pictures. She is a busy artist now creating more children’s illustrations for books. She always has a project in hand.

When do you do most of your poetry writing?

I do my writing mostly in the early morning. I like to rise by 4 am when the world is still quiet and waking up. I can think best in the morning and delightfully, I live next to a horse farm. So in the still morning light that breaks over the paddock beside my house, I get to watch the deer wander over and feed on the grass that sometimes grows all the way up to their tummies. It’s a magical time for me and one where I feel the most delight in writing and crafting a poem.

Will you be publishing more theme based educational books for kids?

I have in mind a children’s mystery novel about a young girl who must solve the theft of a magical item before the misuse of it wrecks havoc on her neighborhood. I’m not sure when I’ll have time to write it though because I’m very busy working toward contributing to prison ministry. The story stays in my head and heart and I hope one day to return to it.

If you need anything further from me, please let me know. It’s been a delight to work with your company. Your responses have been most gratifying.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Amazon

Shiver me timbers! Pirates and parrots, mummies and mermaids–get ready for these fun and funky creatures to tickle your funny bone and send a chill down your spine! Between the lines of these eerie poems, a lady pirate fights her battles in stolen ball gowns, a cannibal decides to become a vegetarian, and a ghost hitches a ride in the family car. You’d better get started: it’s all hands on deck!

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Pirates and Spooks, Beware!

Pirates and Spooks, Beware by Susan Weiner is an enthralling collection of poems featuring adventures based on the central theme of pirates. This book has chilling and exciting poems of all kinds of characters from villainous pirates and cunning mermaids to mysterious hitchhikers. This book aims to excite both elementary and middle school students and cultivate their interest in this marvelous collection of poetry.

The poems are witty, lively and contain a fair bit of humor that is sure to produce a chuckle or two from the reader. The vibrant illustrations in the book are captivating and suit the poems to which they accompany.

Although I had a fun time reading this book, do think that the poems included many high vocabulary words that the average elementary or middle school student probably won’t be able to grasp at first glance. But at the same time this can serve as an opportunity to learn new words. Which is why I think this book can be much improved with a glossary at the end to simplify the reading process for the students who are not used to complex or elaborate words. While most of the poems were easy and fun, I felt that there were a few rhymes that felt a little repetitive, but it was good that they did alternate with new stanzas. Apart from these small quibbles, the poems showcase the author’s fantastic imagination as the characters in the poems, such as the pirates, had many intricate and fun details to read about. This book is a great piece of children’s literature with a noble purpose.

Pages: 48 | ISBN: 1947860151

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