In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
I’m so honored to kick off the book tour for Laura Sassi’s book Goodnight Ark! This tour will be visiting many wonderful blogs, please see where to visit next at the bottom of this post. Also, please enter to win a copy of this lovely picture book at the bottom of this post as well!
Goodnight Ark by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Jane Chapman – My Thoughts: Just loved reading this new Noah’s Ark story with animals all climbing into bed with Noah. The book begs to be read aloud with wonderful language, fabulous rhymes, fun action words, and vibrant pictures. I always enjoy finding new Noah’s ark stories, the way this book is created is quite entertaining and also adaptable to acting out with puppets, retelling by acting out, and choral reading. Fun story to share with a class and also just individually as well!
“Beds are ready.
Food is stored.
It’s bedtime on Noah’s ark, but the animals can’t sleep because of the storm. Two by two, they crowd into Noah’s bed, creating a sticky situation. Will Noah ever get them back to their own beds? Climb aboard the ark for this rollicking, yet ultimately restful bedtime story as Noah finds a way to make things calm and cozy, even in the midst of a storm.
Common Core Standards:
Bonus! Author Interview with Laura Sassi:
What inspired you to create a story about Noah’s ark?
I wanted to write a cumulative tale about bedtime during a storm, but thought ordinary kids piling into an ordinary bed, might not be fresh enough. So, I kept switching up the setting until it hit me: Noah’s ark! As soon as I had decided upon my setting my mind whirred with all the possible animals that might pile in. I knew early on that I wanted my story to rhyme and that I wanted the rhymes to create a riddle-feel in which young readers could use the first rhyme in each pair to guess what the next animal might be. With those two bits of inspiration, I was ready to get writing.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a laptop, so my work station is 100% portable and my favorite strategy to keep from getting stiff and to keep things fresh is to move around as I write. Early on summer mornings, I like to take my laptop or notebook and a cup of tea and sit, here,
on the front porch with just the morning breeze and those early-rising song birds for company. Later in the day, I often set up shop at the dining room table. And if I’m really engrossed in a story and the thoughts are spilling out, I’ve been known to write at the kitchen counter while cooking.
But my favorite spot is a the little writing table nestled by the fireplace in a cozy corner of my living room. I also like taking my laptop “on the road” so I can write outside in a local park or at the pool.
Did you visit a zoo for animal inspiration?
We are avid zoo-goers, and while I didn’t make a special zoo trip with Goodnight, Ark in mind, I did draw inspiration from all the animals I have seen and love at the zoo. In fact, one of the first things I did in the brainstorming stage for this book, was to make a list of my favorite animals and then all the wonderful onomatopoeic sounds associated with each. I hope young readers will notice and enjoy all then fun sound-words that come so naturally because of the beastly nature of the characters. And just for fun, here are some cookies my daughter decorated all by herself in celebration of the book’s release.
Can you guess her favorite animal?
How many children have you read your book with? Do they roll on the floor laughing during different portions of the book (skunks, etc.)?
My first storytime/booksigning will be on September 6th at our local Barnes and Noble, so I’ll be better able answer this question then. I can attest, however, to lots of giggling and eager listening and looking when my nine-year-old read it to her little cousins, ages three and six.
Did you enjoy seeing your word creations adapted by illustrations? Do you have a favorite page?
It was amazing to see my words brought to full life in Jane’s wonderful illustrations. Jane’s Noah is adorable and I love how expressive her animals are. There is one spread, however, that really sent me truly afloat. I loved it so much, I decided to take apart one of my folded galleys and have this spread framed. It now hangs in our downstairs bath. Any guesses as to which spread I chose?
Do you have a specific writing process?
I let ideas percolate for a long time before writing by making lists, playing with possible plot twists, settings, points-of view etc. I think I have a whole notebook’s worth of pages in which I played around with this Noah’s ark story before I actually sat down and wrote the story. Once I was ready to write, I wrote the entire (early version) in one sitting. But, the story, at that point was far from publishable. Indeed, in addition to ample percolating, I would say the use of a time filter is a key part of my writing process. Once I have a draft I’m happy with, I set it aside for several days, or weeks, before taking a re-look. This way, I approach each revision with fresh eyes. I repeat this process again and again until every word and moment pushes the story forward in a fun, meaningful way.
Do you have writing advice for children? Adults?
My biggest bit of advice for writers of all ages is not to rush the writing process. Good, multi-layered, rich writing takes time and more rounds of revision than you ever imagined. I spent TWO years revisiting and revising Goodnight, Ark before it was fit to float. That might surprise readers, but I believe that the time and effort spent revising was the key to capturing Zonderkidz’s interest (and hopefully readers’ interests as well).
Debbie, you didn’t ask me…
-what embarrasses my children most about having a mother who writes in rhyme?
Sometimes, I rhyme (without thinking) in normal conversation. Ex: “Pull up a seat, it’s time to eat!” This is especially embarrassing, apparently, when friends are over, though the friends usually like it. (I wonder if Shakespeare had this problem too.)
Also, when I’m thinking about a poem or story, as I am, say, walking the children to school, I sometimes (without realizing it) click my tongue or tap my fingers to the beat of the piece. It’s a great way to check for meter, but awfully embarrassing, apparently, if done in the presence of anyone outside the family.
That’s it. Thanks for a great interview, Debbie and I hope your readers get a chance to check out Goodnight, Ark! I also plan to offer free Skype visits to preschool and primary school classes later this fall, so please stay tuned for more information on that by checking my blog.
Find out more about Laura Sassi:
Children’s book author and poet
GOODNIGHT, ARK (Zonderkidz, August ’14)
You want to read this fabulous tale, don’t you?
Sorry, giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Leeann, winner of this book giveaway.
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