Posts Tagged ‘children of color’

INTERVIEW: MY BIRTHDAY IS SEPTEMBER ELEVEN AND OTHER SHORT STORIES

A huge thank you goes to my author friend Cherese Vines for interviewing me.
Interview with the author of My Birthday Is September Eleven: Nicole Weaver. Thank you for the interview.
1) Tell us who you are.
My name is Nicole Weaver.  I am Haitian American.  I am fluent in four languages-French, English, Spanish and Creole.  I am a veteran French and Spanish high school teacher. I am also a published author of a trilingual book titled: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle/ María y su Amiga la Tortuga Del Mar/ Marie et son Amie la Tortue de mer. I have a second trilingual book titled My Sister is My Best Friend due to be published fall 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing.  My third trilingual book titled: My Brother is My Best Friend is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.
2) What influenced you to become a writer?
 
I first became interested in writing after winning a poetry contest.  That experience fueled my interest in writing.  I later joined my church’s writing group.  Being a part of the group allowed me to venture out with my writing.  I have pieces published in my church’s journal.  Next, an author friend talked me into attending a writer’s workshop.  The workshop peaked my interest even more.  I later decided to write my first trilingual children’s picture book.
3) Why do you think you chose to write for children?
 
I see a huge need for more books that portray children of color in a positive light.  I also see a need for more books that encourage the learning of a foreign language. I write all of my children’s picture books as trilingual books because a child’s brain is wired to learn language when he or she is young.
 
4) You mentioned that many of the stories from My Birthday is September Eleven are true. Are all your stories/books based on true events? Where else do you get your inspiration?
 
Yes, most of my stories/books are based on true events.  Having been an educator for the past twenty five years affords me many opportunities to see and experience many things.  Many times I am emotionally moved by these experiences and I must find a way to channel the emotions into a positive way and writing provides me with that outlet. For instance, around ten years ago, I received a call from a woman who adopted a Haitian little girl.  The little girl only spoke Creole; she wanted me to help her communicate with her in Creole.  I was very honored and blessed to help her.  I later learned that the little girl was dropped off at the local adoption agency in Port-au-Prince Haiti, because her mom could not feed her.
 I carried that information in my heart and I always wanted to write a story about it.  This is where the idea for the story “No More Hunger” came from.  Imagine the pain that mother experienced when she dropped her daughter off.  I hope my story will bring attention to what goes on in my native land of Haiti.
I also get inspired by what I see in my classroom.  I taught middle school for fifteen years.  During my tenure as a middle school teacher I observed how cruel students can be towards one another.  It pained me greatly to witness the way many bi-racial children were constantly teased and picked on.  The short story “Zebra Boy” is based on what I saw happening to those children.  Honestly, it would take me two lifetimes to write about all the things I have seen and experienced as a classroom teacher.   
 
5) What would you have liked to have been told as a budding writer?
 
It would have been nice to know how difficult it is to market yourself.  Getting published is only the first step; the real work begins with marketing yourself and your book.
6) Can you tell us something that your readers may not have guessed about you?
 
I love being an American citizen.  My life changed for the better when I set foot in America. I believe the only way to beat bigotry is through education. Through hard work and dedication one can achieve great things.
 
 
7) Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
 
Never give up on your dreams.  When I first came to America, after reading many books from the Curious George series, I instantly knew that I would one day write my own picture book.  I also invite all readers interested in learning more about me can visit my sites:
 
My Sister Is My Best Friend Blog:
Marie and her Friend the Sea Turtle Blog:
 Websites:
 Educational Expert:
Blogcritics Contributor:
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Interview with African American author Jacquitta McManus

I love reading and reviewing children’s picture books. I think it is so important to expose all children to reading at an early age. After having read so many books, one thing that stands out is the lack of books with children of color. This is what propelled me to self-publish my first children’s book: Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle. This topic got me interested in interviewing authors of color. My desire is to help promote them and the contribution they are making to the publishing world. Today, I present to you Jaquitta McManus.

Can you tell the readers about yourself?

I’m a wife, a mom and a fanatic of the fantasy/adventure genre. Blackberries are one of my favorite fruits. And one of my favorite quotes is: “It is sometimes necessary in life to do something extraordinary” by Sagalevitch. I think I’m creating something extraordinary by creating exciting new fantasy adventure children books with characters of color.

My first book for ages nine to 12, Labyrinth’s Door: Anyia “Dream of a Warrior, is about Anyia, whose dream of becoming a Nagoran Warrior is infused with adventure and danger. Running from her duties as a Yora, she dares to break tradition to follow her own dream, during a time when Empress Zarina threatens the magic treaty that protects her village.

And my second book for ages four to eight, Talee and the Fallen Object, is about Talee, a girl who lives on the gas planet Gala who has her curiosity piqued when she sees an object fall from the backpack of a mail flyer and journeys out to see what it is.

Talee and the Fallen Object is currently just an ebook but the coloring book adventure is available on my website.

What inspired you to start writing children’s books?

 Overall it was my children and the love of the fantasy adventure genre. But the actual inspiration came over time through a couple of different things but the one that stands out the most was the desire to read fantasy adventure books to my daughter with characters that look like her. And since I couldn’t find any I thought I would write them!

What are your thoughts on the lack of children’s books that portray children of color in a positive light?


I can find positive books with children of color … not a lot but they are out there if you are looking for picture books and some earlier readers. For me, the lack of variety is what concerns me. With the age of technology it’s hard to get children interested in reading and one genre that I’ve noticed that keeps my children reading is the fantasy adventure genre and there is a lack of books with children of color for them to choose from.

What kind of books do you like to expose your children to?

I have a 12-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter and I like to expose them to a variety of books, from comic books to novels in any genre. I just want them to read, so if they are reading I’m happy. Do I wish more of their books were with characters of color? Yes. But I can’t recommend books that aren’t there.

What in your opinion are the most important thing African American authors can do to make a huge dent in the children’s publishing world?

We have to write and publish more books in all genres. We have to give mothers and children more to choose from. And we have to stick together. I would love to attend an African American children’s book event. I would love for other authors to reach out to me so that we could do something together.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Yes, I started a new website just about a month ago, InsideTheBooks.com, as a way to help promote African American children’s book authors. I invite everyone to stop by, check out the books and be a part of the community.

If there is a book you would like added or an author you would like to know more about please contact me at: Info@InsideTheBooks.com

Where can one find more information about you and your books?

My website, WorldsToDiscover.com, is the best way to find out about what books I have available and what I’m up to, but it you want to chat with me, and I invite everyone to chat with me, you can find me on my BlogFacebook, Twitter and GoodReads.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.