In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
The Styling Librarian Interviews SISBRO
One of my favorite author/videographer/researcher/wildlife filmmaker teams that I’ve ever met and had the BEST AUTHOR VISIT EVER with is SISBRO.
I’ve mentioned SISBRO ages ago on the blog-
I was thrilled when they agreed to this interview, enjoy chuckling and reading:
What was your favorite childhood book memory(ies)?
My mom says that she could tell my favorite books when I was a toddler, because the spines were all chewed off. However, the first books I can remember being my favorite were:
1) A Patchwork Fish Tale – about a fish that looked like it was made from quilt patches, and as it ate the other fish in the aquarium, it gained quilt squares that looked like the other fish…until it ate one too many and burped them all up.
2) When the Wind Changed – about a boy who had a talent for making hideous faces, but one day the wind changed while he was making a face and his face became stuck that way. Don’t worry, the wind eventually changed again, and so did his face.
Are there any authors or books that you liked as a child that you still read now?
I have always been a fan of Dr. Seuss and I’ve been known to read his books from time to time. I’m fascinated by his creativity and ingenuity. And I like knowing that his writing style did not come easy – he worked very hard on crafting every word for his books, despite how easily it seems to have flowed from his pen.
Have you read any children’s literature books recently?
Most recently, I have read The Phantom Tollbooth and The Little Prince as well as a Harry Potter book or seven.
What was a favorite genre you read as a child? How have your tastes changed as an adult?
I was drawn to picture books as a kid, because I didn’t enjoy reading. I was never a fast reader, so maybe reading felt like a chore. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I began reading for fun rather than for homework. I have always been interested in nature, especially life under the sea, so I was drawn to the 590’s section of the library as a kid. As I grew older, I began to develop a more varied reading diet – fantasy, nonfiction and fictional adventures, comedies, autobiographies by some of my favorite comedians and actors.
Do you still have any of your books from when you were a child?
Of course I do! I’m chewing on a copy of When the Wind Changed right now. I think these are books I want to share with my children someday.
Do you have any key writing tips for kids? Or adults?
It’s hard to be a good writer unless you have read good writing. It takes time to understand why certain writing styles flow better than others. Read a variety of authors and genres and find the ones that resonate with you. And try to think about why a certain writing style seems to work.
Do you have a new book being released in the next year?
No new books this year. We are focusing on television these days, and hoping to get a couple of series off the ground with The Jim Henson Company. Though everything we make for the screen begins as written word on a page.
How do you feel about the development and growth of the e-Book industry?
I think eBooks will open the door for more people to self-publish more affordably. Printing, shipping, and storage costs can sink a self-publisher. So having the ability to create a product that is downloadable will serve an important role.
Did you always plan on a writing career or if not…?
It wasn’t until my third year of college when someone told me I had a talent for writing. I had never really given writing much thought. I enjoyed nature and had expected to work with wildlife in some capacity. I also enjoyed comedy and liked the idea of writing sketch comedy. Also, I always enjoyed writing comedic songs – which somehow I never really thought of as “writing” until I was an adult. My current career has been a blend of those passions. So even though I didn’t plan on being a writer, it makes sense that writing became central to expressing my passions.
What truly influences you as a writer?
I don’t like writing to be a solitary process. It’s much more fun working with friends. I feel my most creative when writing with at least one other friend. Beyond that, I really focus on projects that help inspire people (especially families and children) to go outside and explore. There is a disconnect between people and nature, and I want to help bridge that gap.
If you weren’t a writer, what occupation would you be working in?
I would probably be working in wildlife conservation or photography.
Did any teacher or mentor specifically influence you in your career?
I had a magazine writing professor in college, Bill McWhirter, who helped me find comfort in creative writing. My zoology advisor in college, Richard Hill, was always a huge supporter of my creative approach to communicating about nature. As a professor, he had a storytelling style to his lectures that made me realize that I learned better through stories. It’s hard to remember facts, but it’s easy to remember details of a story. Storytelling is a powerful educational tool.
*Do you have any favorite topping you like on your pizza? (in honor of my husband who thinks it would be cool if I collect a list of author’s favorite pizza “You can learn a lot about a person from the pizza topping they like.”)
I like sausage, black olives and green peppers. Actually, most veggies are okay. But I could do without mushrooms and definitely no sardines.
Sentences to finish if you don’t mind:
The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….
1) Expect to make mistakes and expect that you’ll have to go back and fix your mistakes. Very few things are done correctly the first time.
2) Don’t be smart, be curious.
3) Don’t feed the bears.
If someone had told me…
that I should pursue a career as a railroad conductor, then I could have been successful in life. Oh wait! Someone did tell me I should be a railroad conductor! That person was my high school guidance counselor. I took a career aptitude test as a high school sophomore to help me find a career path based on my interests, and the only option my counselor could give me was “railroad conductor.” Apparently wildlife filmmaker and children’s book author was not in his database. And please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not putting down railroad conducting – an important and respectable career. I’m just saying that my interest was in animals and not trains. At least I faired better than my friend Natalie, who was apparently only suited for “hazardous waste disposal.”
Why do people always assume…
that I will know how to finish their sentences. I can barely finish my own, so cut me some slack!
Debbie, you forgot to ask me…
(From Rob) When is the big day? August 10th, 2013. I’ll be getting married to my lovely fiance Kate in a block party wedding ceremony in Portland, Oregon.
Thank you to Robert and Laura, Grateful for your time! -Debbie
I am a HUGE fan of the creative team: SISBRO- Robert Sams and Laura Sams (Sister+Brother=SISBRO)
They create award winning music, videos, book, and more… They create the perfect balance between education and fun with videos for a wide age range of children. They share their updates through a wonderful webpage: http://www.sisbrostudios.com/ Through Facebook with entertaining ideas: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sisbro-Studios/100763883586
I personally had them visit my library and their presentation was one of the most successful ones I’ve ever experienced as a school librarian- and I normally have two author visits per year. I enjoy sharing Riddle in a Bottle video, my students watch Stranger in the Woods, Lost in the Woods, First Snow in the Woods, and they check out the book A Pirate’s Quest http://www.apiratesquest.com/ often since they love the video. Books that Robert and Laura’s aunt and uncle, Carl Sams II and Jean Stoick wrote are popular as well since they wrote the books that inspired the movies: Stranger in the Woods, Lost in the Woods, First Snow in the Woods. I was really excited when they released the book, not the complete video, of First Snow in the Woods on iTunes recently! My son is very fond of watching Bearly Alike as well- a movie he requests when he wants comfort and laughter. Their music is available on iTunes and additionally, they’re released their newest Riddle in a Bottle series video: The Shark’s Riddle – I purchased it for numerous recipients. In my opinion it is the perfect family gift. The Smithsonian Channel recently hired SISBRO to create a Titanoboa video which had their mingling of humor, education, and visual appeal. Here’s the link to see the video and learn more:
Want to see an example of their brilliant video creations? Here you go:
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