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Keepsake that Educates!

Interview with Author Carol Crane


Carol Crane is the author of fourteen books with Sleeping Bear Press.
Carol Crane is a historian and has always been a journal writer. She loves to stop and read historical markers. Traveling around the country, she speaks at reading conventions and schools, networking with children and educators on the fabric that makes up the quilt of this great country. Using information in the state books, she transports kids around the state. Her greatest joy is to have a child say, “Wow! I didn’t know that”.

Carol Crane, with forty years experience in children’s literature as an educational consultant, has become widely recognized by many schools and educators for her expertise in children’s literature. She has conducted in-service seminars for teachers at many schools across the country. Carol also works with children as an author. At a recent reading conference atUniversityofAlabama, she was described as …”A walking, talking bibliography of children’s books”.

Ten years ago, Carol instituted a summer reading program. Teachers, media specialists and librarians have attended her “Bed, Breakfast and Books” seminars across the country. The assembling of attending authors, pre-publications of children’s book, and sharing of ideas among fellow teachers has been a very important reading event.  In 2002, two institutes were held. One at Mendon, Michiganat David and Sarah Small’s art studio (the Caldecott winner). The  second one was held at Stowe, Vermont at the Trapp Lodge where many authors were on the speaking strand. The 2003 sessions were held again at Stowe, Vermont and then at Frankenmuth, Michigan.

 Interview with Carol Crane author of The Handkerchief Quilt and Sunny Numbers

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

What is the last book you read? I love to read cookbooks, so I read the Mitford Cookbook from cover to cover. 

 What were your earliest memories of writing? My grandmother had us write one sentence everyday in a handmade notebook made out of the backs of old calendars.  I was three when I wrote stories in rebus.  We were required to write something good that happened to us that day and read it at the end of the day sitting on the porch where there was a cool breeze.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? I was encouraged to write as my mother a first grade reading teacher always read over what I wrote.  She praised my writing. 

Are you working on a new book? I have a new book coming out in the fall, The Christmas Tree Ship.  An author always has something in the works.  I have three new titles I am working on.

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? My family is very important to me.  My husband came from a family of four boys, we had three sons and we have seven grandsons.  So spending time with our family keeps us busy.

Please tell us a little about the Bed, Breakfast and Books seminars.   Through the years, I have made many friendships with authors, illustrators and educators.  We would meet all over the country and discuss new books coming out and net work with schools.  We met in Michigan, Florida, Vermont, North and South Carolina, Indiana, and Ohio. We had teachers come from across US and Canada.  It was a very good program for librarians to know what was coming out in literature and teachers used the time to use books thematically in the classroom.

How did you come up with each characters? My fiction books are what I knew best my mother and my grandfather.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Every author at times has trouble with a subject, a word, or line that is just not right.  I teach writing and tell my students all authors have a trick word to use when they can’t get started and that word is “when.” 

What is the most difficult part of writing? For me is finding quiet time, as I need absolute silence.  My best writing starts at 4am, just as the sun is starting to come awake.

How do you react to a bad review? I don’t pay any attention to reviews.

Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?   My literature instructor was Bill Martin Jr. at Oakland University.  I wish he was alive and I could ask him some more questions.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I am very punctual, always honor dates and have a strict code of manners and ethics.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Read to your children and find out what their interests are.  Listen to them read and ask questions about what they have read.  My grandson came to my house and as usual saw a stack of books and asked if he could read to me.  I said,” I would love to hear you read.”  He read beautifully all the words, took a break with his voice at punctuation, and was so proud. I said,” Tim, what is this story about?” and he said, “I don’t know, I wasn’t listening.”  Comprehending the story is more than reading words.

What advice you would give to new writers? Have fun, know your subject and use your own voice.  A good example of this is the book The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? Good writing becomes a well formed habit.  Fiction, non-fiction and poetry have different writing voices.  I take lots of pictures when writing my non-fiction books.  It helps when I get home to write detail.  The best book for writing poetry is the Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary.

August 15, 2011 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , ,


  1. Just love any books related to quilting. Sharing these with my kids and my hobby is a blessing to our homeschooling!

    Comment by Melanie | August 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. Carol Crane makes learning fun by blending education with children’s books.

    Comment by Stephanie Barmann | August 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. I loved your comment about good writing becomes a well formed habit. I think that sentence will stick with me for a while. I hope to win The Hankercheif quilt.

    Comment by My Book of Stories | August 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. I have yet to read a booke by Carol Crane however I am intrigued by the Sunny Numbers book. As a teacher I know how hard it can be to find a book that can help teach kids any mathematical concept. This sounds like a great book to help in teaching multiplication. Thank You for letting me know about it.

    Comment by Lauren S | August 16, 2011 | Reply

  5. Bless your grandmother’s heart for making you write each evening when you were little. She helped nurture your love of writing. What a gift that was! :o)

    Comment by Beth Reinke | August 16, 2011 | Reply

  6. I really like the idea of having children write one sentence a day and plan to institute with my grandkids when I resume watching them after school in September. Carol, I like your approach to getting kids to read with comprehension and will look up your books to share with my grandchildren.

    tmyoung at rochester dot rr dot com

    Comment by Teresa Young | August 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. As an educator, the handkerchief quilt sounds like such a great book. I like how you share that it is a timeless story. That is so true. Our children today need to hear stories like these more than ever. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by C Bauers | August 17, 2011 | Reply

  8. I immediately went to the Sleeping Bear Press website and was discouraged to read that Carol Crane had not yet written a book about Oklahoma. Maybe this comment will serve as a hint. I am also a teacher workshop junkie and agree that there is so much to learn and share at these events. I understand about her best writing time being at 4 AM as that is the time that I find best suited for studying. I really like books that have to do with the different states but just wish that more of them could be about Oklahoma. There are so many stories associated with each state that no one person could write a book about all of them. Her book about “The Handkerchief Quilt” reminds me of those touching stories about teachers that help us to remember why we are in this profession.

    Comment by Christine W | August 27, 2011 | Reply

  9. I have never heard of Carol Crane before, But I am very interested in her work. She seems like such an insperational writer! It is such a great idea to make kids write atleast a sentance a day!

    Comment by Anneke | August 28, 2011 | Reply

  10. 40 + years of experiance is amazing! I am very excited to get my hands on some of her books. I love her approch to reading and writing!

    Comment by Taylor | August 28, 2011 | Reply

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