Welcome, Gloria! First of all, tell me a bit about yourself, and your writing background.
Yikes! I was never very good in school. Not behavior wise, but learning abilities. My reading was very slow, and I had a hard time staying focused, so I felt very self-conscious and always tried to get out of reading if I could. Reading the back of the book was my go-to for book reports. Which I found out later, (after getting found out!) was highly unacceptable to my teacher. Who knew… Lol! She was an amazing teacher (my favorite out of all) and she was quite understanding and helped me along afterwards.
A few years back (2012 to be exact!) I decided to take a writing course from The Institute of Childrens Literature to write children's stories, which I felt very good about once I got started, and with the help of the fantastic instructors at the institute, I graduated with several stories under my belt, with one story almost ready to publish. But, you might say I was never a very good writer growing up, or as an adult, and never thought I would ever become a children's author, but with a lot of determination, and self control to stay focused and learning how to overcome my learning issues (which I still have,) a lot of patience, and to take breaks when I need it, I can feel successful knowing I have completed my new journey into publication. I find now that I have succeeded with my first book, I'm motivated to get my other stories in the works.
Your picture book Something More Important was just re-released last month by Pandamonium Publishing, correct? Tell me about this story, and how you came to be with Pandamonium.
Something More Important is a beautiful story to inspire children to think not only about themselves but about others around them. Although children are normally very thoughtful, loving and caring, sometimes children get inside their heads and think about their own wants and needs, and this story helps them to realize that sometimes there is something more important to think about at that time. With added activities and word descriptions and questions in the back of the book, it helps the children to communicate their thoughts and feelings and identify with the story.
It's a fluke actually, how I came to be with Pandamonium Publishing House. I was at a small carnival in Niagara Falls and Lacey Bakker, the owner of Pandamonium was across the path from where I was at her book booth, and decided to check it out. After talking with Lacey for a while, I took a pamphlet. After 2 years, I finally called Lacey back and she spoke to me on the phone for probably an hour and a half about ideas she and I had about my book, and I was impressed with not only her knowledge but how willingly she was to spend that time with me. I… was….sold!! I never looked back after that and I am now published and extremely happy with the results!
You were inspired to write this story by your sons Cody and Jordan, correct? Tell me about that.
I was sitting at a friend's house with my sons, watching them playing with her children, and as I was watching them, the older boys took on the role of caregivers and made sure their toddler siblings were safe and didn't get hurt. I thought that was amazing how beautifully and willingly they took on that role. And sitting there, a story popped into my head. Although the story line changed several times throughout the editing process, I was finally finished the story. Because of this, I dedicated the book them.
What is it you hope young readers (and listeners) take away from “Something More Important”?
That sometimes we need to take a step back and think about why our plans get canceled. That sometimes, that reason is more important and maybe someone needs that time more than we do. That life isnt perfect, and when we think about others, it not only make us feel good about ourselves, it make the other person feel good too.
What is your favourite moment from the book, and why?
I'm not going to spoil it for you, but I love the end of the book, as it really shows Cody's heart and what he receives from being so thoughtful and forgiving. Im also very excited about the added features we put in the back of the book to bring it all together for the kids, and to help the parents and kids communicate and spend time together.
What drew you to the Institute of Children’s Literature? I also took courses there! And what drew you to write children’s literature in general?
Actually, I received a postcard in the mail with the words,"You can be a children's author," and after reading their content on the website, I knew I wanted to write my own children's book. Children were all around me in every aspect of my life at that time, and I knew it was the perfect fit for me. With the Institute's personal instructor teachings and help throughout the process, they made it a very positive experience.
Tell me about the other stories you have written.
Oh well… if I tell you that, the surprise will not be a surprise! I can tell you though, I have many stories in the works from mischievous, to funny, to adventure, and a little silly. Some animal characters may be added as well. But I'm still in the thinking process with a few stories.
Do you plan to write more picture books? Or any other forms of children’s literature, or literature for adults?
Yes, I really enjoyed writing my picture book, Something More Important. The other stories I have in the works are picture books, so I'm excited about that. I have thought about doing adult literature in the romance genre. I always implement my faith into stories as well, as I believe God is at the forefront of everything I do when I'm writing.
What is your advice for aspiring children’s authors?
Don't let your fears stop you from trying something new. If your thinking about writing… then do it! Just… start… writing, and see where it takes you. Even if it's one word, or sentence at a time.
I never thought I would be a published author, and now look at me. If I can do it, so can you. I live by a saying, "face your fears and watch it disappear." I say that to myself everytime something is trying to hold me back, and then I talk myself out of that negative thinking. Then move forward. Keep climbing, and eventually you'll get to the top of that mountain.
Tell me something about yourself that others probably don’t know about you.
I'm a country girl at heart and live in the farm lands of Caistor Centre, Ontario, Canada. I was born in Welland, Ontario and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario, which at the time was mostly beautiful fields. My friends and I would walk down the side road (no sidewalks… gotta love it!) Picking wild strawberries at the roadside. Wild berries are the best and so flavorful! After meeting my husband 34years ago, we moved to the city. After having our two boys, we wanted out in the country again. Which is where we reside today. My favorite thing to do is sit outback sipping tea. My other favorite thing to do is off road with my kids, out in God's country.
My Review of Something More Important
Figuring out what’s more important is a part of growing up.
Something More Important by Gloria White is a book about a youngster dealing with confusing feelings of anger stemming from a phone conversation his mother has that he overhears. He is upset with his mom and must decide whether or not to forgive her. He has lots of mixed emotions to grapple with when he later reads a book at school that reminds him of his baby brother, then hears further news tied to the phone call his mother received.
This is a highly relatable tale and an excellent opportunity for children to read about rising above disappointment and anger, and to work through their feelings with maturity. Who hasn’t been mad at one or both of their parents at some point? But growing up sometimes means figuring out what’s more important, and doing the right thing. This book gets that message across.
There’s a great section at the back that includes questions meant to facilitate discussion with your children, as well as a helpful glossary of words, a maze, and a “find the five teddy bears” game. I think it’s a great idea to include activities after the story.
And the illustrations by Kelly Ulrich are absolutely delightful. 5 stars!