Welcome all to my first Author Spotlight feature where you will get a chance to meet a well known author and learn about the writing process.
1) What were your favorite children books, when you were growing up?
I read practically every Nancy Drew there was, plus Harriet the Spy, The Little White Horse, and I gobbled up all of Phyllis Whitney’s mysteries, A Wrinkle in Time, etc. I could go on, but I won’t. Basically, I read a book a day all during elementary school. Maybe that’s why I love writing for the middle-grade audience.
2) What was the inspiration behind writing your book?
Several things! The magical, mysterious world of butterflies . . . spooky Louisiana swamps, old plantation houses, islands in the South Pacific . . . and a girl who is connected to all those things through her Grammy Claire.
I love mysteries; too, as you can tell from my childhood favorite books, and I wanted to try my hand at writing an actual mystery that didn’t have ghosts or paranormal elements. Just a girl with a brain and secret letters and keys in a mysterious house, trying to help her grandmother who died in an untimely way and who slowly gives her secrets from beyond the grave to figure out the people who are trying to destroy these unusual butterflies.
It was also very rewarding to write about a very smart and very cool grandmother because I never knew my own grandmothers, (and I hope I can be a very cool grandma too someday!).
3) How many Drafts and rejections did you have before your book was published?
Since this isn’t my first book and it was already under contract to Scholastic through a proposal I sent to my editor, I didn’t have any rejections—but I racked up hundreds in the year’s previous to selling my first book. And, after my first three books were orphaned, and before I landed a three-book contract with Scholastic, I had a period of 8 years where I was writing like crazy, but not selling anything. Rejections come with the territory of publishing. Now I do about 3-5 drafts of a new book, and two more with my editor and one with the copy editor so each book goes through a lot of hand and eyes.
4) Why Butterflies?
Butterflies are inherently mysterious. They start out as a little tiny egg on a leaf, turn into a creepy-crawling green caterpillar, then become a white chrysalis or cocoon – and finally, almost like magic, this gorgeous, colorful creature hatches from a white blob and can FLY! And they look like dancing flowers.
Some of the most fun I had writing this novel was researching the butterfly quotes at the beginning of each chapter and putting them in a spot where they reflected what happened in a particular chapter. But two of the quotes do not come from *famous* or well known scientists or movies. One is from my daughter and the other is from Tara’s Grammy Claire herself.
5) What can "When the Butterflies Came" teach our children?
I write a lot about families with secrets; families who are going through tough times and upheavals and changes—and show how that affects my 11-12 year old main characters. The heart of every story is the knowledge that families are important and they love each other in the end. They can be crazy sometimes, but their core belief is that they work together despite difficult and heart-wrenching events. They stand up for each other, pull together, and can come through hard times stronger than ever.
6) Can you see your book on the Big Screen?
Not yet - and movie rights are still available! I’m hoping Hollywood—or even some small director—will hear my secret wish, or discover my book when his child brings it home from the library or the Scholastic Book Fair. . . a director that has always loved butterflies and falls in love with my book. I can always dream, right?
7) What future book plans do you have?
I just turned in my fourth manuscript to my editor at Scholastic for publication summer of 2014. She’s reading it now while I wait chewing my fingernails that she will like it and I won’t have to shred it and start all over (that’s actually happened to me before so I know first-hand how crazy-making it can be). This new book is middle-grade as well and has time slipping and a cursed doll and a girl who lives in an antique store.
Fall of 2014 will be my Young Adult debut with Harpercollins for a book I’ve been researching and writing for nearly ten years so I’m pretty thrilled about finally selling it. It’s an ancient Middle Eastern story about the roots of belly dance in the women’s world, including goddess temples, tribal warfare, camels, and frankincense.
Thank you so much, David, for a great interview and featuring me on your blog!
Here are a few links for your readers:http://www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com/
(I have some awesome book trailers on my website on the Home Page with on location filming in the swamps as well as original music by some friends of mine. Scholastic liked the one for The Healing Spell
so well; they commissioned the music to put on their website.)
It has been a cold and snowy winter so far. I really hope that you take the time to purchase these picture books and share them with your young children by your fireplace. Please have fun and enjoy that special moment with them.
"I Want my Hat Back"-
Written and Illustrated by Jon Klassen published by Candlewick
press 2011 Somerville, MA and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book. A Bear's hat is stolen, but who has done it? He searches everywhere by talking to several of his animal friends. Have any of them seen it? This sounds like a simple concept for a story, but it is much more then that. What makes the book unique are the words and Illustrations. The hat is hidden in the story and your child has to find it. They have to look carefully. It can be used as a game for them, and this makes the book fun. Get a copy today.
"The Very Beary Tooth Fairy"- Written by Arthur A. Levine and Illustrated by Sarah S.Brannen, Published by Scholastic Press 2013 New York. All his life Zach the bear has been told to stay away from humans. Than one day he notices a family having a picnic and the little boy has a tooth loose. Zach discovers his tooth is also loose. What if the tooth fairy is a human, he has to find out for himself. The author's words and the illustrations give the legend of the tooth fairy a new twist. I really enjoyed this book very much. It is a great story to share with your kids. Get your youngster a copy, they will ask you to read over and over again.
"While Your Are Sleeping"- Written and Illustrated by Alexis Deacon, Published Farrar, Straus and Giroux New York 2006. What happens after the lights go out? This book explores this idea by creating a fantastic world where toys come to life to protect you. The words and illustrations blend perfectly together to make a great book that does not only teach your kids to take care of their toys, but to dream. It answers the question that every child has: "What happens when I sleep?" This delightful story for your young children to read at bedtime. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
"The Lamb and the Butterfly"- Written by Arnold Sundgaard and illustrated by Eric Carle, Published by Orchard Books an imprint of Scholastic Inc. New York 1988 reprinted 2013. Classic books stay with you all your life and inspire new generations as well. This book teaches a terrific lesson in a classic folk tale style. I was happy to see it re-released. It uses a combination of wonderful language and simple illustrations to show that every individual is unique, and so is their lifestyle. This book wisely teaches youngsters to identify with others, but to truly know themselves. This classic folk tale will be a great gift for your kids.
"Before You Came."- Written by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest, Illustrated by David Diaz, Published by Katherine Tegan Books an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers New York 2011. Summary-"A mother relates how she spent time before her child arrived, then passes on a gift of days peddling a red canoe, reading in a pillow-filled hammock until dark, and watching the moon rise at night." The use of poetic language and beautiful illustrations explores a universal view of a bound between mother and child. I think that any parent can relate to it. Get a copy of this book and make your little one feel extra special.
"The Granddaughter Necklace."- Written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth and Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, Published by Arthur A. Levine Books an imprint of Scholastic Inc.. January 2013.This picture book is a great read for Black History month. Summary- " A mother shares with her daughter stories of the generations of women in their family as each individual has passed along the tales and glittering necklace to her own daughter." I liked this book very much. I recommend it for older readers or to be used in a classroom setting. The illustrations are wonderful and the concept beyond the story is great.
Enjoy the picture books above, and I will have four new middle readers up in mid March.
Today I Have the Pleasure of Hosting Author
Welcome to day three of Renee Hand’s 6-day NWFCC
April Author Showcase tour, as she discusses how
Mineral Mischief can be used in the classroom.
Case#2 Mineral Mischief
Tradebook Tips for Teachers from
Award-Winning Author Renee Hand
Teachers can use Mineral Mischief
in so many ways. In the back of the book I’ve included lots of educational information that teachers can use in the classroom to further understanding of rocks and minerals. I also add a diagram of the rock cycle, which can be referred to at anytime.
I’ve created various experiments where students can make predictions by using various charts. Terminology is included in the back as well as a ‘Did You Know’ section. I also incorporate a discussion about bullying, which one of the characters is involved with. The character also finds a solution to this problem which all children can benefit from. The information that I have in the book can be used to fill the National Standards requirement for this topic.
Download My FREE e-BOOKSecrets of Writing for Children.
This e-Book offers you one stop guidance for Writing and Self -editing
children's books. These helpful hints come from my many years of
writing for children and doing manuscript critiques.
This blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes – developed as part of the Unite for Diabetes awareness campaign. The significance of this blue circle is positive and hopeful. Cross-culturally, the circle symbolizes life and health, with the color blue reflecting the sky that unites all nations and is the color of the [...]
There are very important factors when it comes to being any kind of writer. It covers a whole range of books. As everyone know putting together a children's book has many people involved. It is a team effort that takes many years to master and complete. For the next three days I will take you all on a journey into this event. It is a huge gathering of people in the children book industry and covers a very important idea that every author has to do. This is called networking and creating a platform. The post will be updated daily from 1-27-2012 to 1-29-2012. Each day I will give you guys an inside into this business. So get ready for a wild ride. I blog my experience on this journey enjoy.
Day 1 Writer's Intensive
Today started just like an ordinary gray day, the rain tapped the roads and my journey had began. Strong winds and heavy rains very strange weather for New York State especially in the middle of winter. Only two snow storms so far and that it.
I took the train in from my home town. New York was wonderful like usual. The rains were strong at first but as the day went on it all changed. I started the day psyched to finally have the SCBWI conference, I could not believe it came so fast. Where does this path called time really go? Does it just vanish in a puff of smoke or where does it end up?
So back to business the day started with registration and breakfast not much of a filling one but it was good enough Coffee and Bagels the real New York local food. My nerves shaking and my hands gasping the 500 hundred words we were supposed to bring here. Hundreds of questions inside my hands? Who will I meet? What will the professional say? Is my manuscript good enough? At registration our tables were given to us? I got Table 17 and 18.
When I was getting my food a strange thing happened the hot water was gone. I am usually a tea drinker, but I needed that jolt, I needed that caffeine. I wanted something hot but it was the bitter black stuff we call coffee. I guess many tea drinkers came here? Oh well I guess I had no choice.
I found my table, my mind moving and my body shaking, it was it, the moment I have been waiting for, another year had passed. The session started by a panel on voice. Three editors spoke. What is voice? Each of them had there own view. What I can tell you guys is it needs to be fresh. It needs to be authentic. It has to stand out from the crowd.
The editor panel spoke about the kind of books they buy. Here is just a very quick summary: Characters have to have personality, you have to get into your character's mind, and the story has to stand out for the individual editor and always make sure to do you research. You have to be in the moment and write the best story you can.
Then the time began my table had eight writers at it and one professional. We each were given 12 minutes for our 500 words. The critique process is very important and it is great to have a group of your own. The setting here was much more family like. Every manuscript was discussed by everyone. I have to say I got a lot out of it and had many wonderful suggestions and commends from both critiques. There is no need for
Day 2 SCBWI 13 annual winter conference In the Big Apple.
Wow, can't believe another day had just passed. It was an over whelming one full of lots of enlightenment and good news on all genres from picture books to young adults and beyond. I will try to put In the important information in here in a a few paragraphs. I have 11 pages of notes but will try to make it brief.
It was a list of amazing guest speakers which included authors, agents, editors, publishers and other people involved in the business. The day started with breakfast, and the first keynote speaker was Chris Crutcher. He was a very inspiring speaker, that inspired the room that represented 49 states and 20 countries. The conference had 1400 people. He spoke about the importance of balancing out stories with tragedy and comedy. Here is a brief list to inspire you guys of what he talked about 1) Look into your life to find information 2) Put this into every story you write. 3) Power and connection of family is important. 4) Just write your story. 5) Hear it in your language and voice.
The next speakers was panel children book pros which included two editor directors, a marketing person and agent. They covered lots of information, but I will l.limit the list to three basic important ideas.
1) Independent Book stores are growing 2) Picture Books are not dead 3) The Digital publishing market is expanding. In general now is a good time to get your book out there in the publishing industry. You also must understand that it takes a village to make a book. That it is important to also work as a team on each book.
Our next speaker was a great surprise for all of us. It was Henry Whinkler. He was one of the best speeches of the day. He got a standing ovation today. He only spoke for ten minutes, but his ideas, comedy and inspiration touched us all.
We then broke up into small groups I went to a fantasy meeting first. Then after lunch I had two picture book small groups. Before the two afternoon sessions we had another key note speaker her name was Cassandra Clare she spoke of Love triangles and forbidden love in YA adult books. She was interesting speaker but not very inspiring to me, since it was not my kind of topic.
I will just list the basic things of what editors are looking for in picture book manuscripts:
1) Characterization 2) Narrative guilty 3) Voice 4) Humor 5) Universal appeal. 6) Clear ideas and simplicity.
In conclusion, the day ended with a wonderful cocktail party, and dinner that gave us two hours to network with other people in the industry. The day ended, and I got back on the train home full of inspiration, new ideas and hope for the future of children's books. There is now one more day left for this conference that I look forward to tomorrow. I will make my last post this month called All great things come to an end.
Hola, hola. Pasando por aquí de nuevo porque desde hace varias semanitas que quería subir esto y no me había dado tiempo. Y es que hace no mucho recibí casi seguidos estos libros que me alegraron los respectivos días en que llegaron:
"El Pájaro de Siete Colores" y "El Cangrejito Picanarices" llegaron juntos, pues son del diseñador, ilustrador y escritor Diego López Narro, para quien tuve el gusto de hacer las ilustraciones del libro del cangrejito, el cual escribió y elaboró específicamente para sus hijos :). Y el Pájaro de Siete colores es su más reciete libro, Ilustrado por Fraga, con un estilo muy peculiar, simpático y expresivo.
El tercer libro se trata de "Puzzlehead", escrito e ilustrado por James Yang, el cual gané en un sorteo en illustrationmundo.com, ¡¡¡GANÉEEEEE Y MI PREMIO LLEGÓ....y está bien chido :D!!
Muy lindos libros... muy agradables sorpresas.
Hello, hellou. Just passing around here again because it's been a while since I wanted to upload this and hadn't had the time. Not too long ago, I got in the mail these books that cheered the respective day they arrived:
"El Pájaro de Siete Colores" and "El Cangrejito Picanarices" arrived together, cause they were sent by designer, illustrator and writer Diego López Narro, for whom I was glad to illustrate the "cangrejito" book, which he wrote specially for his children :). And "El Pájaro de Siete Colores", his most recent book, illustrated by Fraga, with a very peculiar, fun and expresive style.
The tird book is "Puzzlehead", written and illustrated by James Yang; I won this book at illustrationmundo.com, ¡¡¡YEEESS, I REALLY WON SOMETHING, MY PRICE ARRIVED... and it's SO cool :D!!
Great books, great surprieses.
I doodled this during ICON 6. It’s some kind of cute but slightly hideous insect with tiny wings that probably wouldn’t be enough to hold him up. Just something out of my insane imagination.
Child Warrior is a digital painting, printed on heavyweight archival ink jet paper.
8.5″ x 11″ with a white 1″ border around the image.
Comes unmatted and unframed.
Signed and dated by the artist
Monster Tea Party is a cute illustration of a group of furry monsters sitting around the table and a little girl wearing fairy wings is serving tea.
It’s printed on heavyweight archival ink jet paper.
11″ x 8.5″ with a 1″ inch white border around the image.
Signed and dated by the artist
Shipped in a clear plastic bag and a stiff envelope. Buy Now Only $15
(First off, please note: Our blog domain will be moving to www.burburandfriends.com/blog) It’s always the little things that we love most and remember best about the people in our lives. Kind, supportive words spoken. The friend you know who gives the biggest, warmest, best hugs. The simplest kind gesture that brightens your day. Even though [...]