Friday, October 22, 2010

Children’s Book About Poet Emma Lazarus: Interview with author Linda Glaser & book giveaway

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.


Shasta said...

Great interview and a beautiful looking book! We love to read to our son -- it's about the only time when he'll stop moving! Sometimes he wants to tell me the stories now, as he's memorized many of the books.

Elaine Bloom said...

I love reading to children because then I can do all kinds of voices. High-pitched ones or low ones and kind of act things out. Something I could never do with adults.

Christa S. Verem said...

I don't remember a life without books. My mother used to read The Little House on the Prairie novels to me and the scenes are still so vivid in my mind--from Pa's survival in a self-constructed snow cave to Ma making candy by pouring warm maple syrup onto cold snow, and the girls fighting over the pig's tail after after it was roasted and crispy. It's my hope that my own child will fall in love with literature the way I did.

Elaine Petrowski said...

We both love reading to my grandkids (We were amazed that Andrew "chose" which book we would read by tapping one of two when he was not yet six months old!) The kids know I am an easy mark for "just one more" because I LOVE the experience of reading, chatting and cuddling. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Fancy Nancy books are big with our grands right now. I NEVER hesitate to splurge on a new book for them.

Robin said...

I used to love when my Dad would read me my favorite "little books." It was a set of 4 books that came in their own case. Each book was only about 4 inches x 3 inches, making them just my size as a little girl. I guess what I liked about them best, was that they had to read all four, since they were so tiny!

The best part of reading though, will always be the time that I was able to spend with my Mom and Dad in those precious moments before you fall asleep. Having them there each evening made everything ok as a child. What a wonderful gift!

Shannon K. Winston said...

Every night, my mother read to my sister and I by candlelight. She would read for 1, even 2 hours and it was a truly magical time. All sorts of things and people--fairies, distant lands and times--came alive for me then. That was when I fell in love with fiction and with the potential to create amazing literary worlds.

Shannon K. Winston said...

When I was young, my mother would read to my sister by candlelight before we went to bed. She'd read for 1, even 2 hours at a time. We read all kinds of books together: Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, The Redwall series. All sorts of things--characters, places, ideas--came alive for me then. These experiences made me love writing and reading. I saw the great potential of fiction and poetry: to create captivating literary worlds.

Dee said...

I loved reading Winnie the Pooh and Dr Seuss books to Theresa and Matt.
One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books- Great Day For Up
Up Up the Sun is getting up!...Up ear number one, ear number two. Up girls and women boys and men.....Sing up on a wire- louder higher-
At least that is the part I can remember.

Anonymous said...

When my nephew, Joseph, was three, he lived with us at my mom's house. At night time, I'd get to tuck him in and one night I read Go Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman. He liked it so much he started asking for just that book each night. He'd say "can you read the go dog go?" with a softness in his voice I could not resist. I'd read it with alot of inflection and excitement and he just loved it! He'd ask me to read it to him over and over again, and I knew I was going to be kneeling by his little bed for at least 45 minutes until he'd get sleepy and I could turn the light off. It turned into one of the best memories of my life and that little story book has never left his home.

Anne Vanguestaine said...

What I've done for all my kids to introduce them to reading, are the books where there is a short story for every night of the year. Disney has several of them so I can do it for a couple of years in a row! As for myself, I've read all my life & it's become impossible for me to go to sleep until I've read a chapter every night!

Hans said...

I don't remember being read to, but I remember reading. We had a little bookshelf in the family room, with a little rocking chair next to it. And my sister and I would sit in there and just go through the books.

Leila said...

I adored being read to as a child. In fact, my parents read to me until I was eleven, despite the fact that I was already a voracious reader myself at that age! My dad would read books like Eloise, Corduroy Bear, Frog and Toad, The Velveteen Rabbit, A Light in the Attic, and the Beatrix Potter collection. He even used to provide different voices (and sometimes accents) for each character! My mom, who grew up in England, introduced me to Paddington Bear, various Roald Dahl books (James and the Giant Peach was my favorite), and the wonderful British children's writer, Enid Blyton. I feel immensely lucky to have been read to as a child by both my parents, and it is a tradition I try to carry on today with my niece and nephews. Even though many of the titles have changed (they prefer Harry Potter and Percy Jackson over Encyclopedia Brown and Harriet the Spy), I hope they come away with a greater appreciation for and love of literature.

susande said...

As a school psychologist I notice how little video-free auditory input children have and the impact this has on their listening skills. In my own blog ( I will be posting a piece on this soon. Reading to children is one of the best ways to address this situation.

I appreciate this author's work and the wonderful way it encourages children to visualize and, yes, to listen. This skill is the key to learning and the key to positive social interactions. Great to have quality material to develop this ability in children.
Susan De.

Susan Topper said...

I enjoy reading aloud to others as well as being read to.
I remember being read to as a child by my mother, also by my 4th grade teacher - Miss Kennedy, who read from a series called The Little Colonel. Strangely enough she also read to us from the Bible, and yes, it was public school! These days I sometimes read to my husband as we are driving in the car, and lately he will read a special article to me from the NYTimes at dinner.
Another special reading experience I share is with my son.....a devout Christian, he reads to me from the Bible in the early morning when he is visiting. I have never been able to make much sense of Bible passages myself, but he will read a passage and then explain in common language and I find the entire experience very meaningful. My husband and I love reading to the 3 year old twins that we take care of weekly....they love it and so do we. I love books. Books in general are amazing - I enjoy making them as well, as each can present such an intimate experience in and of itself.

Amy said...

My son was born into a family of bookworms, surrounded by people who love to read.

He was also born with multiple health issues and spent the first 18 days of his life in intensive care. The NICU had a cart of books provided by the March of Dimes, and we read as we held him in the rocking chair next to his crib. We read to him among the cords and tubes, amidst the beeping of monitors and alarms, above the crying of infants and the weeping of parents.

After he came home we read to him during his tube feedings. An hour at a time, every three hours. We read children's books — the bouncing rhymes of Sandra Boynton, the old classics like "Goodnight Moon." I also read favorites from my childhood, like "Anne of Green Gables," finding comfort in the familiar stories I'd read when life seemed much easier.

When our son was diagnosed with hearing loss and fitted with hearing aids, we were told to expose him to as much language as possible. So we talked and sang and read all day, every day.

Today, my son is two years old and books are his favorite things. He loves when we read to him and loves to sit and look at books by himself. He is fascinated with pictures, letters, words. Not bad for a child with significant hearing loss. Not bad for a child we were told might never see well enough to read.

My son was born into a family of bookworms, and I think that will serve him very, very well.

Chloe Yelena Miller said...

Thank you to everyone who participated for the beautiful, insightful and inspiring comments.