Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, the Statue of Liberty was a mythical figure on the horizon. I remember looking up at her crown from her base, perhaps my first lesson in perspective, imagining her history and voice. As a child, I would have loved a book about Lady Liberty to bring her home with me.
Children’s book author Linda Glaser offers readers the story of Emma Lazarus in her book Emma’s Poem. Emma Lazarus is the author of The New Colossus, the poem engraved at the base of the statue. This beautifully written and illustrated book offers insight, history and hope to its readers.
Enjoy reading our recent interview with author Linda Glaser below. She shares some tips about writing children’s books and her memories of being read to as a child.
You can win a copy of this lovely book by sharing your own story of reading to a child or being read to as a child in the Comment’s section below. Post your Comment by Sunday, October 24th. A winner will be drawn at random from the submissions and announced on Monday’s blog post.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
As a child, I loved being read to. (Actually I still love being read to.) My mother read us many books. One of our most beloved authors was Eleanor Estes. Her books are classics: The Moffats, Rufus M., The Middle Moffat, The Hundred Dresses. They gave me a sense of what my mother’s childhood was like during the Depression. When she read them to us, sometimes she’d get teary and other times she’d burst out laughing. It was a window into her sensibilities and her soul. Those books are still some of my favorites. But by now I have many, many other favorites as well.
What is your editing/revising process? Most people would not believe how much time goes into writing a simple children’s book! I love doing it. But it’s also a lot of work. My stories go through many, many revisions before an editor ever sees them. I revise on the computer and also on hard copies—over and over and over. I keep my latest version by my bedside and work on it before I go to sleep. As soon as I wake up, I work on it some more. I call that revising but some people might call it an obsession. Before I submit my stories, I share them with my writing group and they offer suggestions. That means more revision. Then, of course, if an editor takes a story, there is even more revision. For me, it’s all very entertaining. Some people do Sudoku. I revise.
What is the biggest piece of advice you'd offer someone who is considering writing children's stories? It is truly amazing how many people fantasize about writing a children’s book but haven’t actually read one since they were a child! A lot has changed since then. So I suggest that anyone interested should read lots of contemporary children’s books—good ones. Ask librarians, booksellers, parents and kids for their favorites. Then, write what you care about. If your heart is in it, it will show.
For more, you might be interested in this interview Linda Glaser conducted by the Children’s Literature. If you are a teacher considering adopting this text, you might enjoy the Teacher’s Guide.