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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Rooster Prince of Breslov is here!

I am thrilled to welcome my dear friend, Ann Stampler. Ann is a multi-award winning children's author. Fans of all ages adore her folktales, including one of my personal favorites, Something for Nothing. Ann is a gifted story teller and her books will delight readers for generations to come. Her newest release, The Rooster Prince of Breslov is a wonderful tale of a prince who thinks he is a rooster and his relationship with a very clever teacher.

How did you develop your interest in folktales?
I come from a family that loves stories. Telling stories, reading stories, listening to stories, demanding to be told stories -- these were all important parts of my childhood. I will never forget sitting with relatives as they shared tales with me, or my father’s bedtime stories and the books he read me. But I especially loved, and continue to love, folktales. For me, they were a way to connect to my family’s history and Eastern European roots.

I also came to respect folklore as a special way to learn about and understand other cultures, such as the Native American tales that came from the different regions of America where I’ve lived. I wasn’t half as interested in the facts and figures, I wanted to know the stories, and I always found those stories captivating.

What challenges did you face when writing The Rooster Prince of Breslov?
I always feel a tremendous sense of stewardship when I turn a folktale into a book. It’s like a baby; a wonderful gift that you try very, very hard not to mess up. The Rooster Prince is a very popular story, and there is a fine line between telling your own particular, unique version and not straying too far from the bones of the traditional tale. Also, as careful as I wanted to be to create something with literary merit, I didn’t want to lose the story’s hilarious, earthy humor, or its lively pace. And I wanted the beautiful message to come through without being too heavy handed.

What is the best part of being a children's book writer?
The best part is the actual writing of the books. I love writing. I love sitting there with a fresh pad of paper and a pen and writing sentences, moving words and sentences and paragraphs around, spreading out pages on the floor so I can look at the entire text of the picture book. I love watching typed pages take shape on my computer screen and then being able to play with the text so easily. My picture book writing process is very visual, so I like closing my eyes and seeing my characters play out the action of the story. And I read the stories aloud to myself over and over as I write them to make sure that the sentences work and the rhythms are right, so I enjoy the auditory aspect of writing for children as well.

With folk tales, it is a real joy to share stories with the deep values and messages that the tales carry to a new generation of children, to stimulate their imaginations and creativity. I experienced the stories as a gift when they were given to me, and it is a pleasure to be able to pass on and share that gift.

What is your favorite children's book?
I have many favorite children’s books as an adult, but as a child, my favorite picture book was Thidwck the Big Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss, and my favorite novel was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Ann, thanks for stopping by. I wish you all the best with The Rooster Prince of Breslov!

To learn more about my friend Ann, please visit

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

My New Adventure

This month I began a new adventure as the director at Chyten Education in Westlake Village. It is a dream to be surrounded by so many people who are passionate about education.

Coming soon - more interviews with some of my favorite authors!