Interview with Stephanie Calmenson
Stephanie Calmenson is the author numerous books for children. Her books have been called “marvelous” (Publishers Weekly), “lyrical” (School Library Journal), “hilarious” (School Library Journal), “sweet, funny, and right on the mark” (Booklist).
Among her most beloved titles are Dinner at the Panda Palace,
a PBS StoryTime Book; Welcome, Baby! Baby Rhymes for Baby Times; The Principal’s New Clothes; and Rosie, A Visiting Dog’s Story, which Smithsonian Magazine called “one of the outstanding nonfiction titles of the year”.
She has collaborated with Joanna Cole, author of the Magic School Bus series, on many best-selling anthologies including The Read-Aloud Treasury; Ready, Set, Read!; and Ready, Set, Read and Laugh!; and with Ann Martin, as co-writer of the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series.
Before turning to writing Stephanie was a New York Cityelementary school teacher, a children’s book editor, and Editorial Director of the Parents Magazine Press Read-Aloud Book Club. She feels privileged to have found work that brings together her love of children, language and laughter. http://www.stephaniecalmenson.com/index.html
Interview with Stephanie Calmenson author Dinner at the Panda Palace.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
What is the last book you read? David Copperfield.
What were your earliest memories of writing? Fear! And, privately, pleasure. I was afraid of being graded on my writing. But I loved putting words on paper.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? Writing came naturally. Words were part of my upbringing. My mother and father were both avid readers. And my mother loved to write.
Are you working on a new book? Yes, with my friend Joanna Cole. We’ve worked on many books together and I’m lucky to have found such a great friend and workmate. (Joanna is best know for her Magic School Bus series, but she’s done a wide, wide range of books.)
What inspired you to write Dinner at the Panda Palace? I used to teach kindergarten and I was always on the look-out for good ideas to share with kindergarteners. One day, I saw a young boy outside a restaurant tug at his mom’s sleeve and say, “I’m going to ask for a table for two!” I thought that was a great start for a counting book and my imagination took over.
What was your favorite children’s book? Heidi by Johanna Spyri.
What is the most difficult part of writing? It depends on the day. Some days, the hard part is coming up with an idea. Some days, the hard part is figuring out what to do with the idea once I’ve got it.
You have written so many books, which one is most close to your heart? I don’t like to show favoritism, but DINNER AT THE PANDA PALACE has been in print for 20 years and I get so many fan letters about it. Or maybe it’s ROSIE, A VISITING DOG’S STORY. OrMAY I PET YOUR DOG? Or it could be … 🙂
What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books? I enjoy the company of my family (dogs included!) and friends.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block? I’m fortunate to have had very few bad reviews and I let them be cancelled out by the good ones I get for the very same book. As for writer’s block, I’m no stranger, but I know it always passes.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? Joy.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? William Faulkner. Maurice Sendak. Mark Twain. Johanna Spyri.
What author inspires you the most and why? Margaret Wise Brown because of her obvious connection to very young children.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? I write because I love to and am not very strict about schedules.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Introduce a wide range of books. Then watch. Listen. Let your child be your guide.
What advice you would give to new writers? My advice is very pragmatic: Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators for guidance and camaraderie.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers? I feel extremely fortunate to have made my life’s work writing for children and I’m truly grateful for the letters and pictures I receive letting me know when my books have tickled funny bones and touched hearts.
Thank you for this interview.
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
Books Given in 2013: 330
Books Given in 2014: 257
Books Given in 2015: – 127
Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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