Books I Grew up on with Travis Hancock

Books I Grew up on is a blog series featuring guest bloggers who discuss reading in their childhoods: the books they loved, the paths they found to developing a love for reading, and how reading helped them become who they are today! Today’s Books I Grew up on guest blogger is digital marketer, game maker, and entrepreneur Travis Hancock. 

20150712_175223Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up there?

I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Ohio. I loved it! Good schools, nice people, a beautiful autumn and all 4 seasons. I also liked that Ohio felt like it was in “the middle” of the country and so my family could easily take trips to just about anywhere.

What role did books have in your childhood? 

Books were a huge part of my life. My siblings and I seemed to always be leaning against the side-rests of our couch taking up 2 or 3 cushions while diving into a book. We looked forward to weekly trips to the library, and of course to free pizza and toys from the Book-It program or the latest library reading program. Reading was magical.

How did you first develop a love for reading?

Honestly, I don’t remember ever developing a love for reading. It just seemed to always be there, thanks to the culture my parents created in our house. Reading was simply something that we did and that we enjoyed. My mom made sure that the library box was always overflowing with options. She did a great job in making sure we always had a dozen new, exciting books within reach.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I know it’s cliche, but it’s pretty hard to say anything but Harry Potter as the favorite. Those books were just so magical and impossible to put down! I also really loved the Redwall series. Brian Jacques did an incredible job creating a whole universe full of legends and lore, language, food, culture, etc, similar to the way that Tolkein did for Lord of the Rings.
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What is your favorite children’s book now?

I always look back fondly on the Bailey School Kids series, and I still will read pages here and there when I come across one.

What advice would you give to young readers?

Young readers are so blessed to not be so picky or time-constrained when it comes to reading. It seems like adults just don’t prioritize reading like young readers do. So just keep at it! Keep reading as a priority now, and as you grow older. The benefits of reading can’t be overstated – it helps you learn, expand your mind, relate to others, and develop other innovative ideas.

ABOUT TRAVIS

One of the “other innovate ideas” that reading has led Travis to is the creation of board games! His company, Facade Games (facadegames.com) launched a game called “Salem” last year and it’s now played by thousands of people across the world. For all you book lovers out there, “Salem” is not only a fun game to play, but it comes in a beautiful box that looks like an antique book. Also look out for his next game, “Tortuga 1667”, in January 2017.

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Magical Christmas Picture Books

Merry Christmas from ThunderStone Books! As the holiday approaches, some of the members of the ThunderStone Books team talk about their favorite Christmas picture books. Curl up with one of these under the light of the Christmas tree, hot cocoa in hand, for a wonderful addition to your Christmas season.

Debbie’s Pick

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

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“Personally, I thoroughly enjoy Raymond Briggs’ portrayal of Father Christmas as it is far from ‘the norm’ that we are used to. There is no magic workshop, no elves and certainly no jolly laughter. Father Christmas is shown to be from more humble beginnings. He lives alone in a small house with his cat and dog while his 2 deer live in stables outside. He dreams of being on the beach sunbathing and can’t wait for the stress of Christmas to be over. His reaction to the difficulties of being Father Christmas (flying in bad weather, getting gifts to those who live in unusual places like a lighthouse, being covered in soot) generate a sympathetic reaction from the reader. It makes Father Christmas much more relatable in comparison to the magical and lively interpretation we are so used to.”

 

Chris’s Pick

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

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“This has always been my favorite because I was able to connect with several of the characters because they were outsiders and I have always felt different from everyone else. Rudolph with his nose, Hermey the elf who wants to be a dentist, and the highlight for me was the island of misfit toys; a cowboy that rides an ostrich sounds pretty awesome to me.”

 

Robert’s Pick

The Best Christmas Book Ever by Richard Scarry

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The Best Christmas Book Ever is one of the Christmas picture books that I read most as a kid. It is a collection of short Christmas stories all revolving around the city of Busytown. The thing I like most about this book is that the book is about a community during the Christmas season and to me, Christmastime is all about community. The Christmas season brings people together and inspires a connectedness with each other that is not as strong at other times of the year.”

 

Rachel’s Pick

The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon

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“In my opinion, David Shannon is a master of storytelling and illustration. When I was young, each night during December, my mom would gather me and my sisters and we would read Christmas stories by the light of the Christmas tree. One of our favorites was The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza, the story of a man who took his desire to put more Christmas lights on his house to the extreme and who lost the meaning of Christmas because of that. It’s a touching story with a sweet ending and every time I see extravagant displays of Christmas lights, I think of that book.”

 

Merry Christmas! Which Christmas picture books are your favorites?

 


Homemade Gifts for Your Favorite Bibliophile

Design your own book cover of your bibliophile’s favorite book.

For a while, Penguin had a series of out-of-copyright books that had blank covers so that people could design their own covers, which was a brilliant idea! Unfortunately, the series is no longer in print, but that does not mean that you can’t give your favorite bibliophile a book with a custom cover. Pick your bibliophile’s favorite out-of-copyright book (a good resource is Project Gutenberg) and then design your own cover for it. If you know a bit about bookbinding, you could print the book and bind it yourself, but there are many self-publishing venues such as CreateSpace or Lulu through which you could also publish your gift.

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Create a mini version of your bibliophile’s favorite book.

Why is it that mini versions of things are so adorable? If you can find the text for an out-of-copyright book that your favorite bibliophile loves, then printing it and folding it as a mini version can be a lot of fun. This is easiest to do for very short books (such as picture book length) where you can print sixteen mini pages per one A4 or letter size page (click this link to learn more about printing and folding). You can give the mini book to your favorite bibliophile as is or you could tie a string to it, making the mini book a Christmas tree ornament!

 

Design bookmarks.

The key to making homemade bookmarks that don’t look cheap or homemade is to be creative. Go beyond printing words or images on cardstock and think outside the box. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Think different format. Instead of doing a traditional long, rectangular bookmark, create corner bookmarks, perhaps bookmarks look like monsters or animals who are eating the pages.

Think texture. Utilize fabric, ribbon, tassels, beads, bows, and other textual elements to make your bookmark unique.

Think personalized. The best bookmarks are ones that speak to your friend specifically. Utilize quotes from your bibliophile’s favorite book or shapes, designs, and references from things they love. For example, if your bibliophile is fascinated with Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, maybe you create a Nessie bookmark!

5035228601Make book page roses.

What book lover wouldn’t appreciate a bouquet of roses made from book pages? Visit your local thrift store to purchase some old books from which you feel comfortable tearing pages. With scissors and a little bit of glue from a hot glue gun, you can create some beautiful paper roses. The flowers pictured here were made from sheets of music, but book pages would be made in a similar way. You can see a great tutorial on book page roses here.

Devise a hollowed-out book.

If you want to help your favorite bibliophile fulfill his or her lifelong dream to feel like a spy (let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to feel like a spy?), then you can do so by creating a hollowed-out book. Use hot glue to glue two books together, one on top of the other, and then open the front cover and use a sharp knife to cut out a large hole in the middle of the two books. For fun, you might consider stashing a small water gun in the hole before shutting the cover, wrapping it, and surprising your favorite bibliophile.


The Gift Guide for Science Lovers

It’s that time of year when you are trying to decide the perfect gift for loved ones. If one of those loved ones is a science enthusiast, then we have some ideas that will not break your budget but will be perfectly science-y.

 

  1. usb_microscopeUSB Microscopes.

Microscopes are a lot of fun, but are not usually very portable. However, USB microscopes are lightweight and small. You simply plug the microscope into your laptop and start looking at the world up close and personal! If you are planning on giving this as a Christmas gift, make sure to order early so that your USB microscope arrives in time. Free shipping when you order microscopes from ThunderStone Books!

 

  1. Gallium.

Gallium is an element that has a melting point of 85.58 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that gallium will start to melt if you hold it in your hand for a little while. If you want to really have some fun, buy your friend some gallium and a spoon mold; then your science-lover can put the gallium in the spoon mold and then use the gallium spoon to stir hot liquid and watch it melt!

 

  1. cover_2eoeoutlineScience Books.Elements of Evil notebook cover.indd

One of the best things about Christmas vacation is that there is finally some down time for reading and so a science book could be the Christmas gift that keeps your science-lover occupied all Christmas vacation. If you are looking for science books for adults, here are some of our favorites:

  • The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
  • What If? by Randall Munro
  • Hyperspace by Michio Kaku
  • Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman

If you are looking for science books for kids, it is good to choose something with experiments that can be performed at home (and make for exciting Christmas vacation activities). Check out Elements of Evil and the corresponding Your Elements of Evil Notebook because it is full of codes, wacky experiments, and supervillainy. What young science enthusiast can resist that?

 

  1. Makey Makey

This little device turns ordinary objects into touchpads and combines them with the internet. Last year for Christmas, ThunderStone Books co-founder Robert Noorda used his Makey Makey to play the song “Jingle Bells” with people. He gave several wires to family members to hold (the wires were connected to the Makey Makey) and then by tapping the heads of family members, Rob could play the song. It was a blast! You can visit http://www.makeymakey.com/ for more information.

 

  1. Invisible Ink

There are two things that would be easy to do with invisible ink as a gift. For one, you could make an invisible ink kit for your science-lover. The great thing about such a kit is that you only need regular household items like lemon juice, Q-tips, grape juice, baking soda, and containers (depending on what kinds of invisible ink you are making). Another idea is to make your own invisible ink and use it to write a series of letters as a gift. Make sure to give your science-lover instructions about how to read the messages!


Books I Grew up on with Michelle Christensen

Books I Grew up on is a blog series featuring guest bloggers who discuss reading in their childhoods: the books they loved, the paths they found to developing a love for reading, and how reading helped them become who they are today! Today’s Books I Grew up on guest blogger is illustrator and designer Michelle Christensen. 

 

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Where did you grow up?

I grew up overseas, in Beijing, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Taiwan.

 

What was it like growing up there?

It was very different from a typical American childhood. I moved every 2-4 years all over the world. I always knew it was different, and an experience, and I never took it for granted. I knew it would be a huge influence to my life as an adult. I felt incredibly inspired by Asia. Beijing is so different now than it was in the 90s when we lived there. It was more third world, much more controlled and communist. It was kind of romantic to be there during a time when it was less of the norm to see a foreigner around. I have such distinct memories of the coal dust in the air, and the sweet potatoes in the winter time, and the constant grey skies. The hum of a language I didn’t understand around me at all times.

 

What role did books have in your childhood?

My father read to me all growing up. Classics like The Borrowers, The Boxcar Children, E. Nesbitt books, Anne of Green Gables, My Father’s Dragon, clever, niche books that I just latched onto because of the quirky details of them. People don’t write that simply, or fantastically, anymore! My dad began telling me and my brother’s the Lord of the Rings stories before he read them to us (We were too young at the time), so when he finally did, we were so entranced by them.

 

lalaHow did you first develop a love for reading?

My parents – my dad. We always read growing up because we didn’t really have TV. And we didn’t have iPhones to distract us either!

 

What was your favorite book as a child? Why?

I had so many. I loved historical novels, books about strong women, independent women, or coming of age books like Walk Two Moons. I loved intricate fairy tale books like George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin. I loved children’s books by Steven Kellogg and Anita Lobel. Mostly I was attracted to books that were layered, detailed, and had good story-lines and personalities, and of course, good illustrations. I also loved scary stories, there was a part of me that was always a little attracted to darkness, but I never delved too deeply into it. I knew I was too sensitive for some of those stories.

 

507a0543What is your favorite children’s book now? Why?

I love Princess Furball illustrated by Anita Lobel.  It is absolutely fantastic. It has wonderful characters, illustrations, and a beautiful classic story.

 

 

What advice would you give to young readers?

I would say– get away from your electronics for a few hours a day and read. Be creative. Go outside. Play. Write stories. You have no idea how those habits will mold your future. We have so much creative potential as human beings. It is so often wasted.

 

 

ABOUT MICHELLE

Michelle just finished illustrating a story earlier this year for the book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which is a compilation of 100 stories of women who made a difference in the world by “rebelling” and standing for what they believed in. It comes out in December and she is very excited about it. Michelle also has a few books also in the works – one about biracial adoption, which will be coming out this next year. And another personal project about living in London. Check on Michelle’s website and blog for updates!
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Common Pitfalls of Book Submissions

Happy NaNoWriMo to all you writers out there! We admire all of you who are making goals to write books in November. To go along with NaNoWriMo, this blog post offers some tips for after you finish your book and are looking to submit it to a publisher. As an editor for a small educational children’s publisher, I’ve put together a list of some of the common errors that make me more likely to pass on a submitted manuscript. Hopefully if you are reading this, you can avoid these things and give your manuscript a better chance at landing a book deal.

Failing to edit your manuscript

editingI am sure you have heard many times that editing your manuscript is important. I am going to take that one step further and say that you should not only edit your manuscript, but you should have other people edit your manuscript. The difficulty in editing is that when you are too close to a text, your eyes miss things. Send your book through many friends, and perhaps even a professional editor, before you send it off. One typo is not going to ruin you, but when I see a manuscript with multiple errors, I am much less likely to want to keep reading.

Not doing your research about what the publisher publishes

We publish educational children’s books, but every publisher is different. Each publisher not only has genres and age groups that they publish in, but each publisher usually has specific areas and interests even without those genres and age groups. Do your research. Read other books that have been published by the publisher. If you are writing a picture book, do not send your manuscript to a publisher who only publishes adult poetry. Know your stuff.

Creating a preachy story

Subtlety is difficult to master when it comes to putting morals and lessons into stories. It takes a great writer to create a story about a difficult, perhaps politicized, topic without making readers feel like an agenda is being thrown at them. The best policy is to take the moral or lesson out of the story. Instead of writing a story that preaches the importance of girls in the sciences, just write a story about a determined girl who loves science and uses it. Relatable, round characters and an engaging plot are much more critical to your story than making sure you put in a moral.

Sending it through the wrong channels

Check whether the publisher prefers email submissions or mail submissions. We prefer email submissions, but every publisher is different. Sending your manuscript through the wrong channel can immediately make a publisher think that you have done your research.

Submitting a picture book without illustrations

This is quite specific to ThunderStone Books, but if you want more information on the debate about whether or not to submit a picture book with illustrations, look for it in one of our coming blog posts. Just know that if you are submitting a picture book to us, we rarely accept picture books that are not submitted with illustrations.

 

Good luck on submitting your book!

 

 


Books I Grew up on with Bailey Gumm – Miss Nevada

Books I Grew up on is a blog series featuring guest bloggers who discuss reading in their childhoods: the books they loved, the paths they found to developing a love for reading, and how reading helped them become who they are today! Today’s Books I Grew up on guest is Miss Nevada 2016, Bailey Gumm. 


img_1604Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up there?

I was born and raised in Minden, Nevada. Minden is a small town known as the heart of the Carson Valley which is located in northern Nevada. Minden had a huge influence in my upbringing. Being from a town of about 3,000 people creates a close knit community.

What role did books have in your childhood?

Both of my parents are teachers and from an early age they instilled in me the importance of reading. Not only did they encourage me to read because it is a valuable skill, but they encouraged me to find joy in reading by reading books that were of interest to me. My grandparents would take me to the library to pick out books and attend read alongs, every night my dad and I would read part of the Harry Potter book series together, and when the book fair came to school my mom would walk me around and let me pick out the new Junie B. Jones book (that was one of my favorite series).

img_1605How did you first develop a love for reading?

My grandma would read to me when I was a baby. Between my parents and grandparents I learned to love reading really quick. I had my favorite books that I would read over and over again, or ask my parents to read to me.

What was your favorite book as a child?

  • Goodnight Moon
  • Those Terrible Town Breakers
  • Amelia Bedelia books
  • Magic Tree House series
  • Junie B. Jones series
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events series
  • Harry Potter series

 

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What is your favorite book now?

Any Robert Munsch book.  We Share Everything is one of my all-time favorite books for children!

What advice would you give to young readers?

  1. Be involved in the book choosing process. Pick out books that look interesting to you.
  2. Reread your favorite books while mixing in new ones.
  3. Never lose the joy of reading.

ABOUT BAILEY

My community service platform is ‘Autism through a different Lens’ promoting autism acceptance. I am working with state and national organizations to being acceptance to the autistic community through sibling advocacy. Currently I am traveling the state of Nevada attending fundraising events, speaking to schools, promoting my platform, and encouraging young women to get involved in competing in our Miss Nevada Scholarship Organization.

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Books I Grew up on with Steve Guscott

Books I Grew up on is a blog series featuring guest bloggers who discuss reading in their childhoods: the books they loved, the paths they found to developing a love for reading, and how reading helped them become who they are today! Today’s Books I Grew up on guest blogger is UK-based science fiction and fantasy writer, Steven Guscott. 

Author picHi! My name is Steven. I’m thankful to Thunderstone Books for inviting me to write a little bit about the books that I loved when I was younger.

There are a few stories/series that came to my mind straight away when thinking about my childhood and what books had an impact on me. They are The Puddle Lane series, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Horrible History series. I do remember some story-tape books (younger people, you might have to internet search what ‘story-tapes’ were) to do with classical music, and there’s also one series of books I think is for younger teens and younger children called The Edge Chronicles.

I don’t remember much about the Puddle Lane series except it had a wizard and a cat, and perhaps a dragon in it. What I do remember is that I loved having them read to me. I have little doubt that the reason I enjoyed these books was because they were weird and magical. Anything like that captures my imagination and in time my love for stories that are unique and magical would grow and grow.

I also remember being at my lower school, aged about six/seven, and when we had reading time I would find a bean bag in the painted castle part of the library and often choose a Horrible History book by Terry Deary. My favourite was Dark Knights and Dingy Castles; I certainly had an affinity for knights and castles.

In my young teens I read the first of the edge chronicles, Beyond the Deepwoods, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. This story really captured my love of the unique and creative. I then went on to read a few others of the series before my reading tastes moved on to the likes of Sabriel by Garth Nix, The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan, and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.

Those are all the main stories I actually remember from my early childhood, but in truth I did spend more time making things or playing football. It wasn’t until my mid teens I really came to appreciate a good story.

P.S. I wish I had had the Gruffalo as a child, now that is an incredible children’s story.

 

ABOUT STEVEN

As Steven has said, he loves unique stories and favours fantasy and science fiction. He especially loves stories that have characters he can learn things from or relate to. The first time he really found the value of such characters was in his last year at High School when his English Class studied Shakespeare’s, Hamlet.

Steven also likes to spend time with his family and friends, draw, and keep fit when he can. Under the name of Steven J. Guscott, he also writes stories. He has published two books with Kristell Ink:  The Book of Prophecy and The Diary of Frankenstein. Check out Steven’s website to learn more!

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Challenging Stigmas with Deborah Malcolm

Today’s blog post comes from Deborah Malcolm, author/illustrator of Meh, a wordless picture book about depression. Deborah gives us an inside look into her experience presenting at Edinburgh Book Festival about challenging stigmas.

 

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Ticket to Deborah’s event (Photo credit Laura Malone)

Intro

I believe it was close to the end of last year that I received the news that I had been invited to speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August 2016. As a somewhat unknown novice author/illustrator, being invited to present at such a well renowned festival was both a great honor and fantastic opportunity for me. In a sense, it was as if the journey of Meh had come full circle. It was at this very festival that I was initially inspired to create a picture book (by my favorite author Neil Gaiman) and now it was my turn to potentially inspire others.

 

Preparation

I felt fairly confident of how I imagined the event would be structured as I had experience of telling the story of Meh to the public before. The most important points I wanted to cover were why I created the book, why I felt it was important to talk about mental health from a young age and also why I believed picture books were a useful tool to encourage this kind of discussion. In previous presentations I had used PowerPoint to share images of initial sketches and concept development, and felt using this technique again would be beneficial in getting my ideas across to the audience. In June I received the official festival programme in the post, and suddenly reality kicked in. I had a very important event to prepare myself for, and I desperately wanted it to be a success.announcement

Thankfully I was not alone in this journey. I always had the support of ThunderStone Books whenever I needed advice or reassurance, and the appointed chairperson for my event, Cat Anderson, quickly got in touch to go over the finer details. However it was during this time that I had discovered a potential problem. I hadn’t specified in my event information form that I would need a projector, screen and computer so that I could show a PowerPoint presentation. This resulted in my event being scheduled in a room where it wasn’t possible to use these pieces of equipment. Of course at the time I became very anxious, but over time I realized this wasn’t as big an issue as I felt it was. I had presented without the aid of computers and projectors before. I just had to revise my preparations a little to compensate. Cat and I decided that an informal discussion between us on stage (whilst covering the key points I mentioned) along with some audience participation would be the best solution.

Deborah at the Author’s Yurt (Photo credit Marcus Buchanan)

 

 

 

The Event
Finally the day of my event arrived, and I was eager to have it be over and done with. Although excited and delighted for having this opportunity, I had been so stressed about the event that I was exhausted before I had even done anything. This stress seemed to dissipate somewhat as soon as I entered the Author’s Yurt (a place for authors to relax and prepare). Cat and I sat and made final preparations whilst finding out a little more about each other.

 

 

 

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Deborah and Jonny Duddle (Photo credit Marcus Buchanan)

As we waited I was introduced to the glorious author/illustrator Jonny Duddle (the man behind J.K. Rowling’s latest Harry Potter book cover illustrations). He wished me luck and congratulated me on my work before taking off for his own event. Cat then introduced me to author/illustrator Chris Riddell (who’s work I know from his illustrations for some of Neil Gaiman’s books, such as Fortunately, The Milk and The Sleeper and The Spindle). I was thrilled to hear that he remembered Meh from when I showed it to him at a signing the year before. He mentioned that I appeared incredibly calm, and also congratulated me on my achievements. Unfortunately our chat was brief as he was quickly whisked away for press shots, but I was very grateful for his kind words. Soon it was my turn to be escorted from the Author’s Yurt to the Writer’s Retreat where an audience waited for my event to begin.

 

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Balloons and negative thoughts (Photo credit Laura Malone)

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The story of “Meh” (Photo credit Laura Malone)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writer’s Retreat was a long red room that had glass doors to allow natural light in. This was perfect as the weather was lovely outside, but it also gave me other areas to occasionally glance to when I felt looking at the audience a little overwhelming. There were moments of distraction when children outside tried to open the doors to get in, but it wasn’t anything to stay concerned about. Cat guided the conversation with questions influenced by things I said and we ended the event with everyone blowing up balloons with their “negative thoughts” and releasing them into the air (and also creating an amusing noise).

 

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Signing copies of “Meh” (Photo credit Laura Malone)

The event was received well, and people in the audience had many questions and ideas to discuss. We then moved to the children’s book store where I signed a bundle of copies of Meh and had more time to have one on one discussions with some of the audience members. (I would also like to mention I was signing next to Axel Scheffler who has illustrated many of Julia Donaldson’s books, such as The Gruffalo, which was very exciting!). As soon as the book signing was over, so was my time at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. After a quick break back at the Author’s Yurt I reluctantly made my leave and travelled back home feeling relieved, exhausted, proud, a little sad, but most of all thankful for the experience.

I would like to thank the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the fantastic opportunity, to Cat Anderson who really helped me feel at ease and provided a lot of support throughout the event, to everyone who attended and purchased a book, to my friends and family who also showed a lot of love and support, and of course to ThunderStone Books who have been a fantastic publisher and without them this opportunity would not have been possible.

 

Interested in reading Deborah’s book? Buy a beautiful special, limited edition copy of Meh today!
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Books I Grew up on with Megan Gneiting

Books I Grew up on is a blog series featuring guest bloggers who discuss reading in their childhoods: the books they loved, the paths they found to developing a love for reading, and how reading helped them become who they are today! To start off the Books I Grew up on series is Las Vegas photographer, Megan Gneiting. 

IMG_9731 (2) copyWhere did you grow up? What was it like growing up there?
Having been born and raised in Las Vegas, I can honestly say that I love this city! When I was a child, my parents were always questioned as to how they could effectively raise children in a place known for its many vices. Their answer is the same as mine, seeing as now I am a mother in Las Vegas: everything is black and white here and there isn’t much gray area. The good and the bad are very obvious. I think because I was exposed to both extremes, I was inspired from a young age to seek out the good things in the world. Come to find out there is a lot of good to be found in Las Vegas communities!

How did you first develop a love for reading?
My grandma lived right around the corner from my family, and she taught us how to read at a local elementary school. She had a huge collection and especially loved “pop-up” books of which she had many. I used to love going to her house and seeing what books she would read to me that day. When I began Kindergarten and started reading, my grandma really helped me learn to read. She taught me quickly and really pushed me to develop my reading abilities. I attribute my love of reading to her, and I am so grateful to have inherited a small portion of her book collection to read to my daughter.

What role did books have in your childhood?
Reading was always a hobby my parents encouraged. I remember one year for Christmas my parents gave me the entire Nancy Drew collection. Throughout the year my dad would read to me every night before bed. Before next Christmas came, we had finished the entire series. Being able to say I had read an entire series instilled a lot of confidence in me and and inspired me to read other book series!

What was your favorite book as a child?
My favorite book as a child was The Doll People by Ann M. Martin. The book is all about toys that come alive at night and have crazy adventures all over the house. It stretched my imagination and was completely magical to me. I read it several times and I can’t wait to read it to my daughter.

What is your favorite book now?
My daughter is almost 1 so our reading is very light, but I especially enjoy the Sandra Boynton books.

What advice would you give to young readers?
Find your local library and join their reading programs! They can help you set goals and recommend different kinds of books you may not choose on your own. It’s a good way to motivate yourself to read and you never know what you might discover. Also, they might have some fun prizes!

ABOUT MEGAN

Megan Gneiting is a photographer based in Las Vegas. She takes professional photos for all occasions – family pictures, engagement photos, wedding pictures, senior pictures, and more – but her latest project is in photographing “Home Life Sessions”. Home Life Sessions allow for un-posed pictures of your family life to capture all those little moments, from reading books to to playing together, that make your family special. Check out Megan’s blog to learn more about it!

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