Saturday, June 30, 2018

#Interview ~ The You-Song and Daughter of Jerusalem by Joanne Otto ~ @pauletteharper

Write Now Literary Book Tours is pleased to be coordinating a book tour for author Joanne Otto. This is a two-month book tour for her books: The You-Song and Daughter of Jerusalem. This tour will run June- July, 2018.

Q&A with Joanne Otto:
What inspired you to write The You-Song?
In 2002, when the idea first came to me, I had recently been reading and following through with activities from Julia Cameron’s inspiring book, The Artist’s Way, as well as attending a workshop on self-awareness. So it’s not surprising that the metaphor of the individual as a unique song of the Creator came to me strongly at that time. That accounts for the content of the book, but the form it took had everything to do with the dyslexic kids I’d been teaching. The lessons I’d been using were carefully sequenced to help the students consistently experience success. So each word used in writing The You-Song had to either conform to the rules of phonics or be so frequently used that it would be recognizable on sight. The book had to be user-friendly for those kids as well as present them with an encouraging message about their uniqueness and potential. I guess you could say that my love for those kids was the inspiration behind the book.

Whom do you see as its target audience?
Children of about age 3 to 7. I envision the text and the illustrations sparking important conversations between them and the adults who care about them. And I see this book as being potentially among the first that they can actually read for themselves.

Its extended song metaphor is a pretty sophisticated theme for little ones, isn’t it?
It has been exciting to see how readily they catch onto it. Before the illustrations had materialized, I shared the manuscript with a number of children, none of whom had difficulty understanding it. One of them even made a suggestion that had an impact on one of the illustrations. Her mother had recently given birth to a baby girl, and she was really comforted by the statement that “no other song can take your place.”  She suggested that it should be accompanied by a picture of a child embracing her expectant mother. And that is exactly what has been done.

How did you come up with all those heart-warming illustrations?
It was clear from the start that for the book to come alive for young children, it had to have pictures. At first I assumed that I’d need to find an artist to do them since drawing is not among my talents. But then the thought of photographs came to mind. Our daughter Meghan Williams is a talented professional graphic designer with a degree in applied photography. When I approached her with the idea, she recommended that we tap the resources of a stock photo website. That way we would have a huge selection of photos to choose from with built-in permission to publish them. Between us we came up with a perfect illustration for each page, and Meghan then designed the layout for all of them, including the cover design.
How long did all this take?
Only a few months once our course was set, but about ten years elapsed from the time the first draft was written until the illustrations fell into place and a path to publication opened up to me. Meanwhile I came back to the manuscript from time to time, tweaking it and making revisions.

What would you like your young readers to take away from The You-Song?
I’d like them to come away feeling encouraged about their ability to read. But even more importantly, I’d like them to feel the joy of their own uniqueness and have some sense of their potential for being a positive influence on the world around them. I’d like them to know that they matter—and so does everyone else.

About The You-Song:

The You-Song celebrates, in a way young children can understand, the unique and vital place each of us occupies in God's world and encourages them to fill their place in it with joy. Written by a teacher who's helped many children overcome reading challenges, "The You-Song" is user-friendly, consisting of words that are either familiar or easy to decode. Lavishly illustrated with nearly 50 heart-warming photos, it's also fun to read aloud to pre-readers.

Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

 About Daughter of Jerusalem:
Daughter of Jerusalem" takes its 21st-century readers on a journey back to the first-century world of a young rabbi named Yeshua—better known to us as Jesus. Mara, the young heroine of this story, gets to mingle with the crowds who come to hear him teach during his visits to Jerusalem and, finally, to meet him face to face in a brief, life-changing encounter—one that comes at no small cost to herself. For middle-grade readers who want to use the book as a springboard for deeper study, there are Bible references and questions on each chapter, as well as a glossary. For others, the story itself will be the full journey.

Genre: Christian Fiction

Purchase Link:

  Introducing Joanne:
Joanne Otto is a lifelong student of the Bible who has taken four exciting tours of Bible lands and done extensive research, including numerous courses. She has taught foreign languages and English and more recently, as an academic language therapist, has helped dyslexic children strengthen their reading and writing skills. Also a music lover and amateur pianist, she especially enjoys accompanying singers.

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