Meet Diane Sherrouse, Author of Lemon Trees and Bumblebees: The Magic of Pollination
What inspired you to become a children’s author?
In the beginning, I didn’t consciously think about becoming an author for anyone or in any genre. As a very young child, I was writing for myself. I loved words and ways to make rhymes and essays, ways to capture my impressions and experiences to keep and re-live them - in much the same way that people take photos or paint pictures. I kept notebooks of my nature explorations, family stories, and actually made a neighborhood newspaper the summer before sixth grade. After two decades of print publishing fiction and non-fiction for adults, I noticed that young children are not being exposed to enough of the discovery waiting in the natural world. I decided to harness technology, which already has their attention, to introduce fascinating science right in their own back yards. I’m speaking to children whether they have a balcony, a sidewalk, a park, a yard, or any space outside, large or small. I want them to learn to see rather than simply look, and become excited early so that they will discover, invent, understand and nurture the world we all share.
How did you come up with the idea for LEMON TREES AND BUMBLEBEES?
It occurred to me in a flash during one of my typical daily activities to photograph what I might find in our garden. A Meyer lemon tree, in full bloom in our courtyard, attracted a host of humming bumblebees moving in an undulating living wreath ringing the tree. The warmth, the music of dozens of bees, the intense fragrance of the lemon blooms cast a spell. I thought, suddenly, “How many kids really know about pollination or the role it has in getting food onto their plates? Right then, the book was born; I wanted to share the magic. Some of the photos I shot that day make up the audio/video clip in the e-book.
How many books have you written?
In addition to poems and essays in magazines such as Highlights for Children and a number of others, I have written seven other books. There are books in my head all the time - beginnings, chapters, endings - so that when I actually begin to write, I often fit the pieces together like a jigsaw puzzle.
What was the experience like creating an e-book for the Apple iPad?
It was the most fun I’ve ever had being scared - sort of like having a tiger by the tail. The best thing about beginning something completely unfamiliar is that one can’t know in advance how difficult or time-consuming it will be, or how many forks in the road will present themselves. This is particularly true regarding the transition from print publishing to the digital technology of e-books. The patience and fortitude required to achieve an excellent book made me realize how passionate I am to give children a story with equal fun and accuracy. As Nelson Mandela said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.”
What was your favorite book as a child?
This is hard to answer, like asking what is a favorite color, or song. It’s impossible to name only one. Early favorites were BLACK BEAUTY; HEIDI; and THE SECRET GARDEN. Other favorites were the Uncle Remus stories because my dad did such wonderful voices for the characters. He also made up horse stories
which transported me to another place and time.
What do you hope children will learn from your books?
I hope they learn to wonder, have open minds, examine, ask questions, try the new, combine and re-arrange everything they learn to find better solutions, and realize the miraculous present everywhere in their natural world.
Are you currently working on other books?
Currently, I’m at work on FLOWER POWER, The Magic of Germination, to exist alongside LEMON TREES AND BUMBLEBEES, The Magic of Pollination. DOORS, STAIRS, and GATES are three books with rhythm and rhyme about the various uses of the same architectural elements. LILY AT THE SUNFLOWER begins the adventures of a spunky girl who knows a lot about food because her parents are chefs. BELLA A CAPPELLA features a baby who can sing before she can talk. LITTLE BAD BLUE is the name of a bratty bluebird who learns the value of family in a scary, but happily ending story. Other books are in stages of illustration and editing, and deal with issues of being different, parent/sibling relationships, and experiencing loss. Each story has extras which include laughs and recipes to share, glossaries, information and photos at the end, and characters who overcome their obstacles.
If children (and their adults) continue to have the fun reading that I have researching and writing, this will be the whipped cream on my strawberries!
You can find out more about Diane Sherrouse and her books by visiting www.thereadingroad.com.
Stacie Theis / firstname.lastname@example.org / copyright 2012