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New Year Blog Tour-Fifth Stop-Anne Maro Slanina

February 2, 2013

My guest on stop number five on our tour is known for her children’s books. If you have ever been on Route 66, you will recognize many of the places in one of her books, Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal! I loved reading it and seeing the places I have seen along that famous highway! I found it delightful to read the story that goes along with the photos. Please enjoy her interview and check out her books! You will also be delighted!

 

So now I introduce you to my guest Anne M. SlaninaAuthor of The Adventures of Annie Mouse Picture Book Series.

 

  1. What is your genre of choice? Why did you choose this genre?

A: Children’s picture books and literature. I’ve always been surrounded by children. I’m one of seven children. I began my career as a kindergarten teacher. I now teach early childhood education courses at a university, preparing others to be early childhood teachers. I specialize in social and emotional growth. My books have evolved from my experiences as an educator and mother.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a chapter book that is intended to be a companion to my picture book: Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal. The photo journal is written from Annie’s perspective. She takes the reader through Route 66 through her photographs. It can be enjoyed by children from kindergarten through grade four. The companion chapter book is more detailed, offering much more background information and is mostly text, with some illustrations. It can be enjoyed best by children in grades 2-5. Each book can be enjoyed as a “stand-alone” but if the children own both books, they could refer to the photographs while reading the chapter book and see the places the Mouse Family visits. It’s also ideal for families with children of varying ages; the younger children could enjoy the photo journal, while older ones have an enhanced educational experience.

 

  1. If you have published something, tell us about it.

The Adventures of Annie Mouse picture book series consists of five books that are intended to be read WITH children and open family communication. The first four books are classified as “bibliotherapy”- using books to guide social and emotional growth, and all four have a guardian angel featured. The fifth book is a family travel book and has no religious references. The books are identified and briefly described below.

 

Annie Mouse Meets her Guardian Angel: Mommy is stressed and goes about her day yelling and screaming. Annie thinks her mother doesn’t love her. When she says her bed time prayers she asks God why her Mommy doesn’t love her and wonders if she is a bad girl. Her guardian angel comes and comforts her and offers guidance.

What I want parents to understand is that most children will feel this way at some point! ALL parents will yell at some point and sensitive children will take it very personally. Reading this story with your children allows you the opportunity to scoop them up and hug them and reassure them how much they are loved- even if you do yell at them

 

Baby Brother Goes to the Hospital: Annie is confused when Baby Brother is sent to the hospital until he is “better”- she hears that word as the opposite of “bad” and becomes upset with Mommy and Daddy for sending the baby away just because he cries too much. This is a great story to read with children and discuss situations that they have observed and possibly misunderstood. Especially when a family is experiencing a crisis, they often forget to notice when the children are observing and making their own sense of things.

 

Annie Mouse Meets a New Friend: Annie’s new friend is a blind mole. The children at school don’t accept her and actually bully her. Annie has to choose between going along with the bullies or being loyal to her new friend. This is a great story for helping children know the right thing to do when they are placed in a similar situation –and chances are if they are in school, they WILL be placed in similar situations.

 

Where the Rainbow Touches Ground: Annie is very literal- as most children are. When Daddy reads the story about the leprechauns guarding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, Annie goes out to search for it and gets lost. When Daddy finds her, he reassures her that she is worth more than any pot of gold. It’s a great story for teaching children about a parent’s unconditional love and their own self-worth.

 

Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal. This book is filled with actual photographs from across Route 66: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Family road trips are a great way to open communication and bond as a family. This book is both a great travel guide and a way to make social studies come alive for school-aged children. There are also photographs that children will recognize from the CARS movie.

 

  1. Who is your favorite author in your genre? Why?

I LOVE picture books! I have so many favorite authors. But of those I have personally met, I adore Denise Fleming and Jerry Pallotta. I have had the pleasure of meeting each of these authors at conferences and even sharing “author signing” booth space with them. They are both very warm and nurturing to new authors. I’m also a huge fan of their work so I was “star-struck” when I met them! They each shared their roots in self-publishing with me.

 

  1. How did you get started writing?

I was always an avid reader. My mother complained that the house could be burning down around me and I wouldn’t notice if I was reading a book. I remember daydreaming a lot. I would explain that I was going to be a writer and I was thinking about what I would write about. I did write a lot of poetry. I kept journals filled with my “masterpieces.” Sadly, I threw them all away when I got married and moved out of the house. As a professor, I am in a profession that expects publications, so my writing focus changed to publishing in professional journals. However, I have always used story-telling in my teaching and the workshops that I conduct. Some of those stories have “morphed” into my books. (I speak frequently at conferences on the value of using picture books for social-emotional growth and for opening up family communication.) The last book I’ve written, Annie Mouse’s Route 66 Adventure: A Photo Journal, came from my personal travels along Route 66. It is a combination of the Annie Mouse illustrations and actual photographs from the eight states in which Route 66 goes through. I began traveling the route when my son moved to Arizona and interstate driving was too boring. I fell in love with Route 66 and make the trip every year, so I have TONS of photographs!

 

  1. Do you have a quote that keeps you going?

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

 

This applies to so many of life’s circumstances! When you are ready to learn something, you will find the teacher! How often we think something has no value, until we suddenly have a need for it! (Have you ever been to a plumbing section of a hardware store and walked past all those little “doo-hickeys”? None of them have any meaning, unless of course, something in your house requires a specific little piece and won’t work without it! Suddenly all those little worthless pieces of unidentifiable objects become very meaningful to you!)

 

Sometimes adults don’t always appreciate my books and they are surprised when a child in their life begs for one of my books. Children love the stories because they are written from a child’s perspective and speak to young children’s feelings. When adults understand that, the books suddenly have a value and meaning that they didn’t previously see. Adults really do need to listen to what young children are trying to communicate more often! I am always excited when I receive and email from a parent who shares the value of my books in her life.

 

  1. What is the message you want people to get from your current work or work-in-progress?

Family communication is very important to healthy family relationships. So often young children misunderstand the language adults use and they become frightened and/or angry, which leads to behavioral issues. If adults only deal with punishment of the behaviors without trying to understand what led to the behavior, they create angry, hostile children and a vicious pattern is established within the family. My books are to be read WITH children- not just TO them. In each of the first four books, Annie Mouse often misunderstands her world around her and she receives guidance for various challenges. This opens up a great opportunity for parents to ask their children how they feel and think about those situations. Adults are encouraged to listen to young children’s thinking and reasoning and it is often eye-opening!

 

The last book in the series deals with a family road trip. Family travel is a wonderful means for families to grow closer and build communication, so it, too, is another tool for my mission of educating families on healthy early childhood development.

 

  1. Do your stories come more from your own experiences or from observation of others?

Since my own experiences include my interpretations of observations of others, I’m not sure how to make a distinction between the two. My books come from my experiences as a child, teacher and mother. Even when I observe others, those experiences become a part of me. For instance, as a young child, watching adults scream and yell had a profound impact on me and caused me to be frightened of and withdraw from adults- even though I was not the person being yelled at. Having young children I taught tell me, “My mommy hates me” shaped who I was as a teacher and became a part of my experience. These are examples of why my focus has been on social and emotional growth in early childhood and why my books have the focus they do.

 

  1. Anything you would like to share with us about you and/or your writing?

I do not do my own illustrations. However, I do have control over what the illustrations are and where I would like them placed. The illustrations are not crayon, but they are done purposely to make them appear as though they could be coloring pages. I wanted young children to relate to them and that is one aspect of the books that children notice and softens the serious tone of some aspects of the books (mommy yelling, Annie getting lost, school bullies, etc.).

 

  1. In your best dream, where would you like to be? This doesn’t have to be related to your writing.

In so many ways, I am in my best dream world right now. All of my fantasies have been realized at this point in my life in some way, shape or form: I obtained my PhD nearly 20 years ago, have a tenured position at a university, which affords me the opportunity to speak around the country and allows me the flexibility to travel between semesters for pleasure. I would just like to have more time for writing for pleasure. Once the semester gets going, I am busy planning lectures and grading students’ work and I have little time for my own writing. I have a lot of “loose-ends” that I would like to wrap up. I’d also like to have more time with my grandchildren. They are amazing and I would love to be able to see them more often.

 

To see her work, check out her websites listed below.

 

My web site is: www.anniemousebooks.com

 

All of my books (print and e-books) can be viewed on my Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Anne-Slanina/e/B00515S5W4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0#s

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9 Comments
  1. It’s wonderful to read about a children’s author so dedicated to ensuring adults sit down and read with children as this teaches so many lessons. With literacy rates on the decline in Canada I’m always in search for a new favourite book for my son and me and believe yours would be included in that.

    Thanks for sharing your insights and inspirations for us all to be motivated.

    And thanks for writing and reading,

    Sarah Butland author of Sending You Sammy, Arm Farm and Brain Tales – Volume One

    • I was so happy that Anne agreed to join me for just that reason, Sarah! I read to my children, and they read to theirs, but there are far too many who just sit their kids in front of the television. Anne’s books are awesome! I am sure she will comment when she sees your post! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

      • My son is three and we always find it so funny when another parent asks him what his favourite tv show is (seems to be the common question) and my son replies “I don’t watch tv”. All parents are surprised then say “oh, that’s a very good idea” but proceed to ask what his favourite tv character is, I assume because they don’t really believe he doesn’t watch it. They always have a smirk when he says he recognizes Thomas the Train, Curious George, Mickey etc and we say it’s because of books.

    • Hi Sarah! Thanks for your comments! I do have international shipping on my web site and four of the books are available on Kindle, too. I’d love to hear feedback from your son! How old is he?
      Thanks for featuring me and my books, DeEtte!

      • He’s three. I’ll add them to my wish list, I’m expecting a gift card any day now and will be spending some of it one of your books.

        Thanks a lot!

  2. What a great age! Thanks again for your support of my work, Sarah!

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  1. New Year Blog Tour-Fifth Stop-Anne Maro Slanina | Lynnette Spratley

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