What's Ms. Shepherd all about? She's a woman of many talents. Check out her bio and you'll see what I mean:
Children’s and Inspirational Writer and Speaker, Donna J. Shepherd looks at everyday life and finds God’s fingerprints everywhere. A columnist for The Dabbling Mum, National Association of Baby Boomer Women, and Christian Work at Home Moms, she has hundreds of articles and devotionals to her credit. Her devotionals and stories appear in Daily Grace for Women, Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms, and The Best Grandma in the World.
DOTTY'S TOPSY TALE
Dotty's Topsy Tale, the newest in the Topsy Tales series written by Donna J. Shepherd and illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier, features Dotty, a pink hippo that doesn't quite fit in. With help from her best friend, Chizzy, she finds she can be happy with herself no matter what her color. The book introduces a purple baby hippo, Violet, to gently explore the topic of discrimination. Suggested age for readers: 2-5.
What are others saying about this great book?
It espouses the value of change -- we don't always have to live the way we were raised to live, especially when that was based in untruth or ignorance. These are much needed topics of discussion for children to understand while they are young and developing a foundation for their character that will carry them through the rest of their living years in this world. In the face of all of the infamous leadership failures we've all witnessed in recent years, high-quality character development really needs to be at the top of the list of priorities for all educators in public, private, and home schools. Bravo, Donna! The illustrations are stunning due to Kevin's use of contrasting and complimentary colors. Our oldest is an aspiring artist and really enjoyed the pictures. This is our official review as we have added this book into our homeschool curriculum for 2009.
- Donna Johnson, WWAHM.com, JKidsCrew Butterfly Homeschool Journal (http://jkidscrew.tumblr.com/post/104695435/here-is-a-book-that-has-all-of-the-features-that)
While Donna stopped by, I asked her a few questions:
Tell us more about Dotty's Topsy Tale.
In Dotty’s Topsy Tale, the main character, a hot pink hippo, deals with the issue of discrimination and the angst of feeling ‘different.’ This story encourages children to look beyond the color of a person's (or a hippo's!) skin. Kevin Scott Collier brings pure genius to the book with his vibrant illustrations, especially with the final one which sums up the message in a unique and wonderful way.
Where did you get your idea for the story? Did something inspire you?
One day while brainstorming with my daughter for ideas, she asked, "Isn't Dotty pink? What if she wanted to play with purple hippos? Would that be a problem?" I decided, yes, it would, but not for Dotty - only those around her, and more specifically, the grownups. Sweet Dotty cannot for the life of her figure out why skin color matters. After all, her best friend is green
What is the best trait about your main character? What is the worst?
Dotty? She's so sweet. She gets Chizzy in trouble in Chizzy's Topsy Tale, but not because she's mean – she's just a hippo in search of a snack. I can't think of a bad trait, except that she tries to sing in the upcoming Sully's Topsy Tale, and it's downright awful.
Describe the world through your character’s eyes. What do you see, hear, feel and think?
Dotty is very one-track minded. Hungry? Let's eat! Feeling playful? Doesn't everyone want to play with her? She lives in a jungle, so there's lots of activity, and in Topsy Turvy Land, everything is bright and colorful thanks to Kevin Scott Collier's illustrations.
Do you have any upcoming books or projects you are working on?
My next book is called Poodle and Doodle and is written from the point of view of a snooty poodle and the 'new dog' - a labradoodle she has to learn to get along with. Jack Foster is illustrating and it's under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing (G.A.P.) I'm posting pics and sneak peeks of the book at 'Oodles of Fun.
I’ve started offering tips on my blog to other authors. What is one can’t-live-without-tip you have for beginning authors?
As writers, we are blessed to be able to create. And as a children's writer, sometimes I'm really blessed, and the words I write are illustrated with pictures. It's so much fun to see my words come to life. I thank God every day for the joy of writing, and for allowing me the pleasure of seeing my words in print.
If you are an aspiring children’s writer, visit your local library or bookstore and read a variety of books for your target age group. Ask the children's librarian for recommendations. They know children’s interests and current trends in children's books.
And no matter which genre you’re interested in, write. Set your mind on a target audience, and then write for ezines or magazines. Write articles, poetry, or a novel. Just write. Then submit. It won’t get published as a file on your computer or a notepad tucked away in a drawer. Writing is fun, but hard work. But did I mention how I feel about it? It’s fun!
Thanks for visiting, Donna - and great tip!