Writing stories that make us bigger on the inside
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I’ve been eager to share this and now I can!
A few years ago I became fascinated by the American astronomer Maria Mitchell, whose life story is a significant part of the book Figuring, by Maria Popova. Naturally, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing a picture book biography about her so I could share her story with a younger audience. This process was well underway when I discovered that there already was a beautiful picture book about Maria Mitchell called What Miss Mitchell Saw, written by Haley Barrett and illustrated by Diana Sudyka. I found a copy and was pleased to discover that because the two books narrate different portions of Mitchell’s life, they are actually very complementary. A life as rich as Maria Mitchell’s can definitely inspire multiple tellings!
In the months to come I will have much more to say about my own book. For now, just let me say how thrilled I am to have had the opportunity to work with the amazing Ellen Rooney. Her attention to detail, care for historical accuracy, and subtle sense of humour enliven the story on every page. Just look at that cover and feel the awe!
The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything: The Story of Maria Mitchell will be released on May 3, 2022 but it is available now for pre-order: https://www.amazon.ca/Astronomer-Who-Questioned-Everything-Mitchell/dp/1525303481/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+astronomer+who+questioned+everything&qid=1633379659&sr=8-1
I have a lot of respect for Building Faith, a ministry of Virginia Theological Seminary, and frequently turn to their website for resources.
While searching for something else recently, I stumbled upon this article about selecting children’s bibles. I was delighted to find that Read, Wonder, Listen: Stories from the Bible for Young Readers (Wood Lake Books) is included as a top pick.
Here is part of what the reviewers had to say: “With gorgeous poetic language and full-page images, this story Bible will appeal to a wide range of ages and is an especially great pick for inquisitive children starting to ask more challenging questions about the Bible.”
Inviting readers of all ages to ask deep and challenging questions is something I always aim to do, so I was particularly pleased to read this comment.
See the full review and complete list here: https://buildfaith.org/choosing-a-childrens-bible-2/
One of the best things about writing picture books is getting that first glimpse of the artwork!
While this cover may be tweaked slightly over the coming months, it gives a great sense of the joyful style of illustrator Andrea Blinick.
Here is a brief description of the book:
“How does a home-cooked breakfast give a little girl the energy she needs for a brand-new day? In gently expressive language, her mother takes readers on a journey into the earth where sleepy seeds are tickled awake and grow into golden oats; into blueberry patches, where green leaves break apart water and air to build sweet sugar; and into a pasture where sun becomes grass, becomes cow, becomes milk.
Author Laura Alary‘s free verse breaks big ideas into child-sized pieces, making Sun in My Tummy an accessible introduction to the concepts of matter and energy, and how the sun’s light becomes fuel for our bodies through the food we eat. Andrea Blinick‘s mixed-media illustrations pair the cozy and homelike with the glowing and dramatic as she takes readers from the kitchen to the farm field and to the sky and back.”
Sun in My Tummy is available for preorder on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Sun-My-Tummy-Laura-Alary/dp/1772782416/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=sun+in+my+tummy&qid=1625794233&sr=8-1
There are a few blogs I follow regularly because their quality is consistently good, their content helpful and practical, and I have come to respect and trust the writers.
One such blog is Faith at Home, written by Wendy Claire Barrie. Wendy is writer, editor, Christian educator, speaker, and author of the book Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents. She is also someone I am glad and grateful to call my friend.
I am honoured that Wendy featured my books about the circle of the church year on her blog. You can read her comments here (and please spend some time browsing the rest of her posts): https://wendyclairebarrie.com/2021/05/15/laura-alarys-breathe-look-and-make-room-guides-through-the-church-year/?fbclid=IwAR0ruGGhwqM28B4qNUhxbuILJoBrU560gE2wGQElHaYCA6L4Ni_hOMFVxgE
The tagline on author Laura Sassi’s website is, “Celebrating reading, writing, and life.” Definitely three things worth celebrating! I was so pleased that Laura invited me to join her in conversation about writing for children, cultivating wonder, the seasons of the Church year, and more.
Here is our interview:https://laurasassitales.wordpress.com
It may seem like I am posting about Breathe too often lately. But now that the rush of the launch is over, it feels good to sit back and enjoy hearing about where the book has ended up and how it is being used. I like to collect and share the reviews, both for the sake of my own record-keeping, and because reading them introduces me to new writers and blogs.
One of the things I appreciate about this review from The Homely Hours is summed up in this phrase this way: “Additionally, I think you know you’ve found a good children’s book when you find yourself reflecting on it.” I always hope my books will have something thought-provoking in them for readers of all ages.
You can read the full review here: https://thehomelyhours.com/2021/05/09/breathe-a-childs-guide-to-ascension-pentecost-and-the-growing-time/
One of the joys of having a new book out in the world is hearing about how people are finding ways of putting it to use. In this thoughtful review of Breathe, Anita Peebles offers some suggestions:
“In 31 pages, Laura Alary has created a beautiful, contemplative, encouraging and inspiring book that gives examples of the Holy Spirit’s being and work in the world in bite-size pieces. You could read Breathe as a whole book or study it very slowly, section by section, wondering about the fruits of the Spirit or how the people in your faith community care for others or about how it feels when people we love go away. And the good news continues—there is a discussion guide as well, provided through Paraclete Press.
This is a lovely book, with solid theological grounding that progressive churches in particular would appreciate–but I hope this book reaches far beyond progressive churches, because Christians of all ages will find refreshment and restoration here.”
To read the full review, click here: https://www.revanitapeebles.com/blog/pentecost-book-review-breathe-by-laura-alary