Saturday, April 25, 2015

Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman Cover Reveal and Reese Witherspoon

The book cover for Harper Lee’s upcoming novel “Go Set a Watchman” has been revealed. Lee's book will be released this July from HarperCollins.

The book is a follow-up by “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Lee and reportedly centers on now-adult “Mockingbird” protagonist Scout.

“Mockingbird” fans will note that the cover of “Watchman,” which is being released this July, echoes the 50th anniversary “Mockingbird” cover that shows a leafy tree. As you can see, the “Watchman” cover also has a leafy tree standing next to what seems to be train tracks. 

Michael Morrison of HarperCollins explained the presence of the train on the cover in a statement

The book begins with Scout's train ride home, but more profoundly, it is about the journey Harper Lee's beloved characters have taken in the subsequent 20 years of their lives.

Actress Reese Witherspoon will soon be bringing to life some of the most beloved characters ever created.

“As a Southerner, it is an honor and privilege to give voice to the Southern characters who inspired my childhood love of reading, Scout and Atticus Finch," Witherspoon said in a statement. "I am eager for readers to be transported to a pivotal time in American history in the manner that only Harper Lee's gorgeous prose can deliver.”

The audiobook will be released at the same time as the print version of “Watchman” – both will come out this July.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Children's Book Penned by the Young Queen Victoria to be Published

A story written by the future Queen Victoria when she was 10 years old is to be published for the first time.
The Adventures of Alice Laselles by Alexandrina Victoria, Aged 10 and 3/4, tells the story of a girl who is sent away to Mrs Duncombe's School for Girls when her father remarries.
Far from the sober image that we are familiar with from her later years, Victoria shows a child's flair for the dramatic.
One passage reads: "'Oh do not send me away dear Pappa', exclaimed Alice Laselles, as she threw her arms around her Pappa’s neck; ‘don’t send me away, O let me stay with you.’ And she sobbed bitterly."
The scratched-out title, replaced with Alice (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
The story was originally called The School, until Victoria decided to name it after her leading character.
Alice's schoolmates include Barbara, the clever daughter of a wealthy banker, whose pride "spoiled her otherwise fine expression"; Ernestine Duval, a "poor little French orphan" who had suffered from "the small pox, by which malady she had lost one eye"; and Diana O’Reilly, who was raised by a nurse after the death of her mother, and dispatched to Mrs Duncombe's when her father returned from India after 10 years to find a "tall girl of a most uncouth appearance" who spoke in an "unintelligible" brogue.
Illustrations are based on Victoria's paper dolls (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
Alice is illustrated with a combination of digitally manipulated copies of paper dolls made by Victoria and her governess, Baroness Louise Lehzen, and etchings by Cristina Pieropan.
Queen Victoria's paper dolls (Royal Archives/Her Majesty Queen/PA Wire)
It is a rare example of Victoria's early writing. A prolific diarist, she kept journals from the age of 13 which have been collected into 141 volumes totaling more than 43,000 pages.
Victoria's red composition notebook, kept at Windsor Castle (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
Victoria wrote Alice in a red notebook and dedicated it to her mother. The book is now in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle.
The dedication reads, "To my dear Mamma, this my first attempt at composition is affectionately and dutifully inscribed by her affectionate daughter, Victoria."
The author Jacqueline Wilson, who provides the book's introduction, said: If Victoria hadn’t been destined to be Queen, I think she might have made a remarkable novelist.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Eileen Goldenberg-Illustrator of Children's Book-Rainbow of Friendship

This past week I showcased author Joni Klein-Higger's children's book, Rainbow of Friendship, published by Guardian Angel Publishing.  Today I want to turn to the multi-talented illustrator of the book, Eileen Goldenberg.  Eileen does not only illustrate books but is a sculptor as well as a mosaicist.  Her interview is fascinating.  Enjoy!

  When did you discover your artistic gift?

As far back as I can remember, my two favorite activities were drawing and reading. I loved the classic fairy tale books, and the Oz books, not only for the content but also for the fantastic illustrations. A teacher called my parents in when I was in second grade to show them an illustration I had created and a big deal was made of it. 

At seven I decided I was an artist, and I was determined to make that my career. I definitely got into trouble a few times for drawing when I should have been doing something else. I won a few art competitions in middle and high school and that helped cement the idea in my head. Of course, not having to support myself at that time in my life, little did I know how financially hard it would be! Nobody ever told me the term “starving artist” when I was seven! 

After majoring in Fine Art in college, I realized that it was going to be challenging to pay the bills and had a five year detour working in retail. However, I knew I wasn’t happy and finally I went back to school for graphic design and became an art director for a major organization. I did this until about 1988 when my daughter was born and then slowly built up a career as a fine artist and illustrator.

You are a busy, working artist and author.  How do you organize your day in a studio and at the computer?

Thank you for this question, and for that word organize! I wish I was better at this actually. My studio draws me in each morning and then it’s hard for me to leave. My new strategy is to first spend two hours each day on my computer- and this second career of writing and illustrating in the children’s literature field. Only then will I allow myself to go into my studio. It is a challenge to keep up with commissions and creating work for shows , and still devote the necessary time to this longtime dream of being a successful author-illustrator.

Tell us how you came to illustrate the lovely book, Rainbow of Friendship.

 I’m very grateful to Joni Klein-Higger for suggesting to her publisher that she take a look at my artwork. The publisher was then very open to the idea of having me illustrate Joni’s book, and offered me a contract. I in turn, was very inspired by Joni’s wonderful characters. Joni had a wonderful vision that the characters would be all very different colors and shapes- based on geometric shapes! So that proved a bit of a challenge, but I think the end result is fun and whimsical, and provides an additional learning tool for little ones. I’ve been to readings with Joni and the children are very excited to identify the shapes of the various characters in the book.

Eileen's Stunning Fish 

 What is your next project?

I’m just finishing up the illustrations for Joni’s next book, I have A Voice. These illustrations have a looser, more watercolor style, and I’m really enjoying this process as well. It’s a very touching story, and I think the style suits the subject matter quite well. It will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing and be out later this year. Guardian Angel is also publishing a picture book I both wrote and illustrated, entitled Pinkie McCloud and How She Saved Ballooze.

 Where can you be found socially?

My website is currently being revamped, but will be found by the end of the month hopefully at I also have an author illustrator page on Facebook.

Thanks, Nancy, for the opportunity to be interviewed on your wonderful blog. I very much admire you for all your success and appreciate the encouragement I receive from you and our other critique group members. 

Likewise, Eileen, it is always such a pleasure to have such talented artists and authors on this blog!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rainbow of Friendship: Wonderful New Children's Book by Joni Klein-Higger

It is always such a great pleasure to feature the books of people I know and admire on this blog. So it is with Joni Klein-Higger, the author of the lovely new kids' book, Rainbow of Friendship, published by Guardian Angel Publishing. 

My next blog will feature Rainbow's illustrator, Eileen Goldenberg.
You are a musician and an author, Joni.  How did the two come about, and when did they fuse?

As a girl I was always making up songs and continued doing so throughout my life. Being a children’s book author, however, was much more of a challenge. Unlike songwriting, which came naturally to me, the children’s writing bug “bit me” later in life. It started when I was a Co Girl Scout Troop Leader for my daughter’s troop. Each Girl Scout had to create a book to earn a Literature Badge. We ordered a set of blank books by the dozen. Ten Girl Scouts, twelve books, two Troop Leaders.  The stage was set, and my first book, Rainbow of Friendship, catapulted into motion. That was over fourteen years ago. Needless to say, I’ve done quite a bit of writing and revision since its inception.
 Where did you get the idea for Rainbow of Friendship?

When I received my "blank” book at our Girl Scout gathering, I needed to think of an idea, and fast. I looked around at our beautiful troop of girls, each with unique physical and personality traits; each adding their individual gifts to the group as a whole. I found my story.

 Do you think your love of rhyming books come from the musical side of you?  Tell us a bit about that, please. 

Yes, a good rhyming book is very much like a song. Though, I must confess, I often struggle with meter when writing rhyming books – with songwriting, a melody can be stretched to fit my lyric/rhyme. Much to my critique group’s dismay, (“You should try it in prose, Joni!"), I love the fun words, rhymes and rhythms of rhyming picture books and can’t get enough of writing them.

 What’s in store next for your readers?

       Later this year Guardian Angel Publishing will be releasing a picture book I co-wrote with Dr. Flora Zaken-Greenberg, Ph.D. entitled, I HAVE A VOICE. It is the story of a girl who is afraid to speak; with the help of a “feelings doctor”, she discovers ways to overcome her problem. This book is being illustrated, as well, by Eileen Goldenberg (Yay!). Guardian Angel Publishing will also be releasing RED, a children’s musical I co-wrote with Jane Tesh.

And speaking of readers, where socially can they find you?

First, Nancy, I want to thank you for interviewing Eileen and me today. I’m a big fan of yours and am honored to be a part of your blog.  Readers, you can find me at my website,, or on Facebook at my Joni Klein-Higger Music and Joni Klein-Higger Author pages.  Please stop by and say, “hi!”

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Charlotte's Web-Most Popular Children's Book Ever

What are the most popular children's books ever?  

charlotteswebCharlotte’s Web by EB White has been voted the most popular children’s book ever, according to a new survey from 
To come up with the list, Culture’s Jane Ciabattari polled dozens of critics from around the globe. These experts were asked to name the best English-language children’s books of all time for readers 10 and younger. 
The survey included feedback from NPR’s Maureen Corrigan; children’s books editor of the Sunday TimesNicolette JonesLev Grossman, books editor at TIME, among others.
The critics named 151 titles in total. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne;  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, also made the top 10.

Which book do you think should be included?  Would love your opinion on the matter!