This board book began years ago as a poem in a collection called DRAGON NIGHT & OTHER LULLABIES. From there it became a song with music by Lui Collins, a wonderful folk singing friend of mine with who I’d written many songs both for children and adults.
This 6 book series, coming out two books a year for three years, began as a single book as part of a collection of board book manuscripts I had written under the collective title WATER BABIES. That collection of board books has yet to find a publishing home, but Jeff Salane, one of my editors
A lyrical book about a little boy, his obsession with the moon, and how he becomes an astronaut who gets to walk on the moon. And though the book is dedicated to Neil Armstrong, it’s not about him. It’s about desire, dedication, and hard work. In fact, the very things that created the book itself.
So, I got an email asking for a short story for a new dragon anthology and thought: I am SO done with dragons. But no sooner had I said that aloud, then my traitor mind responded: “The tsar’s dragons were harrowing the suburbs again.” The next three or four sentences spun out quickly.
I was in my final year of college when the Rocky and Bullwinkle fractured fairy tale show was on so never watched it. (And my dorm had no tv.) The next year, living in New York City in 1960, working as an editor, again no television. By 1962 I was selling my own picture books and as far as I knew, invented my own kind of fractured fairy tales.
The Yolen-Stemples are a family of birdwatchers. (I must admit I am the least of them.having been a city girl the first fourteen years of my life.) My late husband David Stemple grew up in the mountains of West Virginia. And our three children began early, because David (“Pa” in OWL MOON) taught them how to bird.
This verse novel began as a bunch of different poems about Baba Yaga,my culture hero. I’d read a bit of a blog in which the author purports to be Baba Yaga as a love columnist. The columns were particularly snarky and strong. So I wrote a poem about Baba Yaga as a love columnist and then branched out into writing poems about her in general: having tea with Kostchai the Deathless, (When he kisses the Baba on the cheek, “it leaves a scar.”) or how she feels about her cousin the witch from Hansel in Gretel.
This is the second book that my three children and I have done for National Geographic, the first being ANIMAL STORIES.
NG asked us to do the first book, we pitched the second. I made a rough outline and once NG gave us a contract for the book, we divided up who would do which sections.
My third and last (I swear) Holocaust novel, hung on the armature of Hansel and Gretel, about twins Chaim & Gittel who are 14 when the Holocaust begins and they and their parents are moved from a lovely cozy house with a front and back yard
My old friend (ex-student of mine, then a member of my critique group, winner of the Jewish Book Award among other citations—Barbara Diamond Goldin—and I decided to write a book that would be feminist, 21st century midrashim about the girls and women of the Hebrew Bible. That meant for most of them