2019 is a year of books, visiting schools, spending time in school libraries, talking to kids, becoming inspired, and getting ready to write more stories!!! The kids I read to and consequently speak with are a great source of joy and energy for me! Their imagination is at it's purest form, their ideas are amazing, adorable and creative!
I hope the whole year will be full of these exciting moments I get to read Maddie's adventures to such clever classes!!
Wonderful teachers make a difference in a child's life. My son is lucky to have such a teacher. She is truly amazing. His class's homework assignment was to find and research a new city for Maddie to visit. The students showed great creativity and imagination in their ideas. It was a fantastic experience, and one I will suggest at future readings!
This month I had the chance to read in schools in Paris, France. I met with a wonderful group of students at the International School of Paris. They were very inquisitive and interested in the books. One girl told me she would like to visit each city I wrote about! She made my day! The children were very knowledgeable and it was so great hearing their questions. Reading the books is always fun but the best part is talking to the kids afterwards!
For World Book Week I traveled to London to read in schools. It was fantastic. I am always impressed with the childrens' questions after I read my books. They are inquisitive, imaginative, and so smart. This class on the picture was particularly interested in how a book is made. Many kids asked me about being an author and how long it takes to write, illustrate, and print a book.
I also got to see London covered in snow which was beautiful!
This week I was invited to read at Athens College. 200 children attended the reading. They listened attentively, and seemed captivated by the stories. After I read two books, Maddie goes to London and Maddie goes to Paris, they brought me a long list of questions that each class had prepared. Here are some of the questions :
What kind of terrier is Maddie?
She is a Parson Russell Terrier.
Is the story real? (this is the most frequently asked question)
Some parts are real some imagined.
How did you think of this story?
It is based on my travels with my family and Maddie.
Why did you choose a dog instead of another animal as the heroine for this story?
I love dogs! Maddie is so special as a character in real life I decided I had to write about her.
Why is Maddie wearing a different color collar in each of the books?
Thank you for noticing!! Her collar matches the book cover.
Is Maddie your dog? Do you have other dogs?
Yes she is my dog and I have 2 other dogs, Rafa and Music.
Have you written other books?
I have written 5 so far, and will write more!
Have you been to the places you write about?
Yes all of them.
Have you met the Queen?
No not yet. I would love to meet her.
What are the names of your kids?
My kids are named Eva and Laz.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to read, walk with my dogs, be outdoors, listen to music, and I love watching movies.
How long did it take you to write the books?
The whole project look 3 years. A long time.
What city will Maddie visit next?
I told the kids but everyone else has to wait and see...
How did you become an author?
I have always loved to read and write. I wrote stories as a child. One day I was inspired to sit down and start the Maddie series.
How do you feel about your books?
I feel proud and very happy when I see kids loving them.
Where are you from?
I was born in Poland and raised in America.
How difficult is it to write a children's book?
It takes time, imagination, dedication, creativity and perseverance. I loved every minute of it so it was not hard.
Where did you find the information for your books?
I am inspired by the actual city, and then I research in books and online.
Did you illustrate the books?
No, I can't draw at all. I worked very closely with my fantastic illustrator. Each picture takes a lot of time and we redo until we get it exactly how I imagined it.
Why did you choose a terrier and not another breed?
I choose a terrier because the books are about Maddie who is a terrier herself. She is spunky, cute, courageous and lovable.
Maddie's stories were a big hit at the American School of London! We read Maddie goes to Athens, Maddie goes to Paris, and Maddie goes to London. I had the best helper with me, my daughter Eva, who pointed out illustrations to the kids and handed out Maddie bookmarks at the end. We had a lovely time and the children seemed to really enjoy the books.
I was excited to read all of the Maddie Books at Christ Church Chelsea school in London - Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 kids all loved Maddie's stories and can't wait to read of her new adventures! Everyone asked me where Maddie will be traveling to next!
Reception children told me all about their own pets at the end of the read aloud. There were lots of dogs, a turtle, a dog named Muddy who is not in fact covered in mud, and a few cats. Years 1 and 2 asked me all sorts of interesting questions, like what inspired me to write the books, how did I choose my illustrator, and how are the books are actually made. The most popular question which many kids ask in each reading is if Maddie is real, and if they stories are true. "Did she really meet the Queen?" "Did she really paint the Eiffel Tower?" I explain to them that some elements in the books are true to life, and others are made up for the stories to be fun to read. A child's imagination and mind is an amazing thing! I love the question part at the end of the readings.
Today I visited my daughter’s school to read Maddie Goes to London. All 100 children from Year 3 were present! I started out by asking how many kids had already read the book, half raised their hands, then I asked how many want to read the book and the rest raised their hands.
I know my books by heart and they are great fun to read out loud. My daughter, Eva, was standing next to me. She was so excited and proud. While reading, I stopped to glance at the children in front of me, and they were all mesmerised.
The kids asked me the most amazing questions. I was so impressed with their maturity and concentration. Here are some of their questions:
To finish up I suggested a fun activity, I asked them to draw Maddie. We put Maddie’s cover up on the whiteboard and they started drawing her. My illustrator has some serious competition! The drawings were fantastic, here are some of them.
One girl asked me why did I write the books. I answered that I wrote them for her, and for all the kids who will read my books and enjoy them. I wrote them so kids can laugh a little, learn something about cities around the world, fall in love with my dog Maddie, and in the meantime, have their imagination tweaked. I hope I have created a series that will inspire kids to be creative themselves.
Today felt like I did just that and it feels wonderful.