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You Can Feel The Love

Naomi Dunsen-White Author Interview

Johari The Great follows a fifth-grade boy who discovers the power of his imagination and enters the school writing contest; he uses his story to inspire his classmates and friends. What was the inspiration for your story?

My grandson, whose name is actually Johari, was the initial inspiration for this story. He was always so smart and curious about learning. I wanted to write a story that clearly dealt with a boy whose gift was within him – he could feel it – and how he was able to bring it out with the support of the adults in his life.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Megan White?

Megan White, now Megan Rizzo, is such a gifted artist. She used to be an art therapist, so she brings this sensitivity to her art. We worked so well together. She really listens to what my vision is, and there’s never a lot of back and forth with her. She understood this was a fun story, an adventure, but she also picked up on the emotional nuances too, like the relationships. For example, I love the illustration of Johari hugging his dad. You can feel the love there.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

It was important for me to have this story about an African American boy. Research shows that at the 3rd-4th grade level, there is a high risk of boys, and African American boys in particular, slipping in their reading skills. This is a critical time when students go from learning to read to now reading to learn. If those skills are missed, it’s an uphill struggle. So, I wanted to engage these boys and use an adventure that included school, teachers, families, friends, but most of all, how their imagination and effort could make them successful. Their imagination could help them discover just how great they really are, and what wonderful gifts already lie inside of them.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m very excited to share that my next book will be the second in the Johari The Great series. Johari will be off on a new exciting adventure, so there will definitely be another story he has to share. I can’t divulge the title yet, but I will say, the setting is quite unique! This story promises to be very appealing to almost anyone – young readers and adults too! Megan Rizzo and I are anticipating a Spring, 2023 release.

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“Johari the Great” is an early chapter book with full-color illustrations. It’s an engaging tale about a clever boy named Johari. His teacher inspires him to use his imagination to write. So he does! A contest and a mystery follow, and a fun plot twist too! With a little humor and some help from his friends, Johari discovers his gift and the greatness he has within. It’s an inspirational story that celebrates diversity, learning, family, and the greatness that all children have inside, just waiting to be discovered. Emphasizing reading comprehension and vocabulary, the included questions enhance understanding and promote family discussion.

Johari The Great

Johari has an incredible imagination and absolutely loves to write. He has put his skills to use writing an amazing story for his school’s writing contest. His patience grows thin as he waits anxiously for the moment in his day when he can share his sure-fire winning story with his classmates. Johari is convinced the tale he has woven will catch the attention of his friends and classmates, not to mention the contest’s judges. When the moment comes, Johari takes the stage with all the confidence and support one young fifth grader could ever hope to have.

Johari the Great, by Naomi V. Dunsen-White, is the sweet story of one elementary student who has an incredibly supportive and loving family and is especially gifted when it comes to using his imagination to write creatively. Dunsen-White’s main character, Johari, is a great role model for young readers. He shows all the qualities of a self-motivated and self-confident young boy.

I was particularly impressed with the book’s focus on the writing contest. As a teacher, I loved seeing the excitement of not only the main character but the other students in the classroom. This is a wonderful way to encourage students to delve into writing for enjoyment and share with peers.

Johari the Great, is a phenomenal children’s book with a positive message. Included at the end of Johari’s story is a fantastic resource for parents and teachers, which makes this book even more valuable to readers. Dunsen-White’s precious story will make a great addition to any classroom or school library.

Pages: 40 | ASIN : B08PTL62CP

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