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Mymcbooks Interview Author Antonee Boykin


Antonee Boykin is a picture book author from Mobile, AL. Alex and Tony Learn to be Gentlemen, is the first of what she plans to make a series of children’s books that teach valuable life lessons geared towards elementary school age children.  She hopes that Alex and Tony will entertain as well as open dialogue in schools and families about issues such as the importance of being polite.

Antonee is a graduate ofAuburnUniversityinAuburn,AL.  She holds a BA in Mass Communications, and has long considered herself a writer before being published.  The mother of twin boys, whom she describes as the inspirations for Alex and Tony, she and her family reside inBirmingham,AL.

 “As a child I always wrote short stories and mock books, so to have my work published is a dream come true.  I hope that Alex and Tony become househould favorites, and are inspirations to children everywhere.”

http://www.alexandtonybooks.com/

 Antonee Boykin is the author of Alex and Tony Learn To Be Gentlemen

I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog

What is the last book you read? “Sugar” by Bernice McFadden

What was your favorite children’s book? As a child, I was an avid reader and huge fan of Judy Bloom.   My favorite Judy Bloom book was, “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” I also loved “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor and the Amelia Bedelia series of books by Peggy Parish.

What were your earliest memories of writing? When I was in the 3rd grade I put together a book and titled it, “Cool Calvin and Friends.” I stapled sheets of paper together and wrote an entire story complete with illustrations and everything. It’s funny when I think about it now, but I was really serious about that book at the time. Also, in the 6th grade I had a poem that I wrote selected for inclusion in a book that our school put together.  That’s the earliest memory that I have of something that I wrote being recognized.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? Writing comes natural and that encourages me.  As early as I can remember, I liked to write creative stories and poems and like most young girls I kept a journal expressing thoughts and feelings.  As a child I had a unique way of putting words together. I don’t write for leisure now as much as I used, but I try to whenever I can. 

Are you working on a new book? Yes, I’m working on the second book in the “Alex and Tony” series.  I’m working with the same illustrator, Dia Reddo (www.sketchidia.com), from the first book and I’m excited!

What inspired you to write Alex and Tony Learn To Be Gentlemen and how did you come up with each character?

I got the idea for the Alex and Tony series from some difficult to answer questions my children were asking me.  I wanted to create a series of books that catered to the concerns and issues of children.  I began to write various stories and jot down ideas centered around some of our conversations.  I shortened my children’s middle names of “Alexander and Anthony” to get the names “Alex and Tony.” The characters are inspired by my children but they aren’t my children.  They do however share similarities, Alex and Tony (like my kids) are twins, also like my kids there’s a noticeable height difference with the characters.  Some of the things that Alex and Tony say are similar to how my boys say or ask things.  But most importantly, I wanted to create a family that did things like have conversations at the breakfast table, and I wanted to create children who ask their mom and dad questions, and parents who patiently explained things to them! Parents are their children’s first teacher and I want that to be visible with the relationship between Alex and TonyANDtheir mother and father.

What is the most difficult part of writing? The most difficult part of writing for me is when I can’t seem to clearly express what I’m trying to say.  Sometimes it’s easy and other times I may have something in mind but can’t write it the way that I would like.  But it always feels good when I finally get it right.

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? Spend family time!

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I’m fairly new in the children’s literary world so fortunately I haven’t experienced a bad review as of yet.  But I’m sure if that should happen, I would take into consideration what was said and be mindful of the constructive criticism.  As far as writer’s block, I definitely have suffered from it. It’s quite frustrating, but I view it as a challenge to defeat it and come up with something great!

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? I hope that my book will serve as a learning tool, spark dialogue between children and adults, and encourage behavioral improvements.  I had a parent tell me that after reading “Alex and Tony Learn to be Gentlemen,” her son became more aware of his actions and wanted to open the door for everybody. He became fixated on being a gentleman and that made me feel awesome!  I want to provide lesson teaching literature that also entertains children and makes reading fun.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? Because she was my favorite as a child, I would love to dine with Judy Bloom.  I would tell her how much her books meant to me as a young reader. I would also like to dine with Maya Angelou.  I’m a fan of her poetry, and her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was one of my favorites in High School.  She seems so full of wisdom, and I would love to have a conversation with her over dinner.

What author inspires you the most and why?  The careers of authors like Stephen King and John Grisham inspire me.  They were self published authors (like me) who have had major successes. 

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I just try to remain focused on what I have to do. 

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? I would advise parents to let children select their own books (assuming that the material is appropriate for their age).  My children love the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.  They literally get lost in those books and I love it.  It’s important to encourage reading and to see what children gravitate towards on his or her own.  If a child doesn’t like to read, I would advise selecting easy reader books with attractive illustrations that contain stories of interest to the child.

What advice you would give to new writers? My advice is to never let anything be a discouragement.  If writing is what you love, don’t let any rejections or lack of acceptance take that love away. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Yes.  “Alex and Tony Learn to be Gentlemen” is really a dream come true.  This book is more meaningful to me than I can ever put into words.  It makes me smile just imagining a child reading and enjoying something that means so much to me.  As parents are building their children’s libraries at home, I hope that they add this book to the collection!

Thank you for this interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 27, 2012 Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

NEA’S Read Across America – March 2, 2012 (Dr. Seuss The Lorax) Giveaway Ends March 17th


Read for the Trees and NEA’s Read Across America

The theme is green for a very special 2012 Read Across America celebration. NEA’s Read Across America campaign will showcase the Lorax book as well as NBC/Universal’s The Lorax. For a sneak peek, here’s the latest trailer. The film opens nationwide March 2, 2012 and Universal, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and Random House have joined NEA’s Read Across America, creating new posters and classroom guides for the campaign. Read Across America will also develop new event ideas and materials to help you make this a Seussational celebration. http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm

 Mymcbooks is giving away the following Dr. Seuss Books Free

 

The Lorax (Classic Seuss)

 

A Tree for Me! With Over 30 Stickers!

 

Step into Reading: Step 1 – Look for the Lorax

 

Step into Reading: Step 3 – How to Help the Earth by the Lorax

 

 

About NEA’s Read Across America

The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA’s Read Across America. Now in its thirteenth year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.

NEA’s Read Across America Day, NEA’s national reading celebration takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

TM & © 1997 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. and NEA. Cat in the Hat image TM & © 1957 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved.

Start 27th February – Ends 17th March, 2012

To Enter the Free Giveaway

Mandatory: You must be a Subscriber to Mymcbooks Blog or twitter

All Mandatory must be completed or entry will be disqualified

Winner will be chosen at random
Open to U.S Residents.
No PO boxes, please.

Entries – 53

 

This Giveaway Has Ended!

Winner is #45 – Lauren Sacks

February 27, 2012 Posted by | Free Giveaways | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

   

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