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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Let My People Go - Tilda Balsley



Tilda Balsley is the author of LET MY PEOPLE GO!(Kar-Ben)This delightful picture book tells the story of Passover in a reader’s theatre format that is engaging, humorous, and appealing for kids and adult of all ages. The interactive nature of LET MY PEOPLE GO! makes it a perfect selection for schools and families.

Tilda lives with her husband in North Carolina. Along with writing she enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, trips to the beach, and tending to the flowers in her yard.


Tell me a little bit about your latest book. Why you were drawn to write about a Jewish topic?
The idea for this book and others began when I discovered the fun of readers’ theater for kids. For my students at school, I turned some our favorite books into scripts. VOILA, they wanted to read them over and over. The ancient stories of faith are naturals for this form and the story of Moses and the ten plagues is the first I wrote. It had a trial run with the children of my own congregation.

What type of research was involved?
I stayed very close to the scriptural text for this book so extra research was not needed. Good writers are always doing research about the craft, however. We study skills like humor, plot, good rhyme (and bad), and characterization. We also research to see if there are competing books already published and which publisher might be interested in a particular book.

How did you become a children’s writer?
My mother loved books and taught me to love them as well. My father sat down with me at homework time and taught me to love writing. In college I studied poetry, practicing the art of rhythm and (sometimes) rhyme. Soon, the wonderful books I read to my own children introduced me to the genre of my heart. A later career, teaching elementary school reading, cinched it. I had to give it a try.

What are you working on now?
I’m still working on biblical readers’ theater, but I also have a number of picture books that are not religious—some completed, some in process. All books have the values of the author built in, but some messages come in through the back door. I love to write books that beg to be illustrated because books that combine good pictures with good words beg to be read.

What are a few fun facts about you?
I grew up as an army brat. That makes me patriotic, adaptable, and restless. My husband is tolerant of my urge to move. We have lived in five houses on this downtown block of his hometown.

I love color. My living room is purple, my dining room is red and my kitchen is yellow.

Pulling weeds is my favorite form of exercise. My body may not always show the progress, but my yard does.

What is your favorite holiday?
Anytime my whole family is together is like a holiday. I especially love gatherings at the beach. These times are as memorable as any designated holiday.

To learn more about LET MY PEOPLE GO! Please check out Tilda’s web site at www.tildatalks.com

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