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Keepsake that Educates!

Interview with Author Sonya Kimble-Ellis


Sonya Kimble-Ellis is a freelance writer, author, and editor who writes about business, education, entertainment, human interest, beauty and interior design. Her work has appeared in Scholastic’s classroom magazines, Black Enterprise, The New York Daily News, Celebrity Hairstyles, Kitchen Solutions, Matters, Upscale and other publications and Web sites (,, and She has worked as an editor at NYFA, Scholastic, and Short Styles magazine. She is the author of the children’s activity books Math Puzzlers (Scholastic) and Traditional African American Arts & Activities (John Wiley & Sons). She also recently authored a biography for teens titled Bill Cosby: Entertainer & Activist (Chelsea House).

Interview with Sonya Kimble-Ellis author of The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure

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

What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was “This Year You Write Your Novel” by Walter Mosely. I have written a few chapters for a novel but haven’t finished it, so I’m hoping this book will help me get it done.

What were your earliest memories of writing?
I started writing poetry when I was about ten years old. We had a school journal that students could submit poems to and I got started that way.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
Writing has always come natural. But as I started to get into the journalism business, I had to work at learning how to write different styles and for different age groups and audiences. Writing a business article is different from writing a how-to piece for children.

Are you working on a new book?
I am working on an idea for another picture book, but because the concept belongs to someone else, I can’t say what it is right now. I do plan to write more Sandcastle Kids books as well.

What inspired you to write Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure and how did you come up with each character?
The Sandcastle Kids is an idea I came up with ten years ago. It was turned down by several publishers at that time. I re-worked the story a little and decided to self publish the book. I wanted to do something that was multi-cultural and educational, but I also wanted it to be fun and something that kids would want to read. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded in doing that.

What was your favorite children’s book?

I don’t know that I had a favorite but there were always the classic Cat in the Hat books andCharlotte’s Web. There weren’t many multi-cultural children’s books around when I was a child.

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
It seems as if I’m always writing. I do have an interest in interior design and creating products for the home, so hopefully one day I can put more energy into that.

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Fortunately, I haven’t read any bad reviews but that’s something you always have to prepare yourself for. It’s part of the business. As far as writer’s block, every writer gets it. It’s frustrating but sometimes it’s good to step away from the work for a few days if possible and then go back to it. When writer’s block happens, it’s always good to use that time to read. Writers have to read.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
The importance of learning about other cultures and of helping others.

What author inspires you the most and why?
James Baldwin because I just admire his work and the fact that it reflects the period of time that he lived in; his passion about the civil rights movement; and his willingness to create a living environment that allowed him to live and work with less stress and craziness. I am also inspired by Gordon Parks because he was multi-talented and did many things well (photography, writing, filmmaking). I was fortunate enough to meet both men before they passed away. I also love Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, and lots of others. It’s hard to mention just one author.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I’m constantly working at getting better with that. Life always seems to get in the way. Writing to make a living also sometimes gets in the way. So finding time to write for your own creativity can be difficult. I write best in the evening or at the library, where there’s no distractions. I’m still working on that discipline thing.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Choose books with your child. If it’s a book that visually appealing to them and about a subject he or she is interested in, then they’ll want to read it. As a parent, you can make sure that their choice gels with what you want for your child.

What advice you would give to new writers?

Write, write write. Read, read, read.

Thank you for this interview.


September 27, 2011 - Posted by | Meet the Author | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thank you for the interview. I hope that the book is a success and you’re able to add new adventures to the series in the future. this is an interesting concept, one I know my son would love to read!

    Comment by Ashley Siegle | September 27, 2011 | Reply

  2. I am surprised publishers would turn down a book with history involved. Specially designed for kids! I am happy a publisher picked it up.

    Comment by Larissa brunken | September 27, 2011 | Reply

  3. I really enjoyed your interview and I’m looking forward to your Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure. And I’ll look for more Sandcastle Kids.
    It was great meeting you here Sonya.
    Carol L

    Comment by Carol L. | September 27, 2011 | Reply

  4. i think that it is great that she is going to be writing more sandcastle kids books.

    Comment by Asha Marie Pena | October 7, 2011 | Reply

  5. My oldest daughter is doing a unit study on the Mayans this spring. We are very excited about it. I think this book would be great to add to our study, for both her and even our kindergartener. We homeschool and so like so many others are interesting in resources that are not common. Children learn best through play, this book sounds very playful! kontessa_rose @

    Comment by Kimberly Cleven | October 11, 2011 | Reply

  6. We’ve not yet read any Sandcastle Kids books, but it’s definitely something I’ll be on the lookout for! 😉
    Great interview…thank you!
    (Cat in the Hat books are awesome! 😉 )

    Comment by Samantha Hill | October 13, 2011 | Reply

  7. I like the idea of books exploring other cultures. I’ll definitely check out your work!

    Comment by Lily Kwan | October 14, 2011 | Reply

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