Today I welcome Elizabeth Suneby who is the author of several books, but her most recent picture book, NO ROOM FOR A PUP! illustrated by Laurel Molk combines a few of my favorite things: puppies, yiddish, and folk tales. The main character, Mia wants nothing more than a pup, just as I did when I was a little girl. And as you can imagine, her parents say, “No!” just like my parents did. Until they finally gave in. I don’t give away book endings, so you’ll just have to read this to find out for yourself what happens with Mia.
Elizabeth has generously offered one lucky winner (US only) a copy of NO ROOM FOR A PUP! Make sure to comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
It is hard to tell you what my elementary school years felt like through my youthful eyes versus through my adult eyes looking back at my childhood, but one thing I am certain of.
I WAS AFRAID OF DOGS. As you might suspect, my family didn’t have a dog — despite the pleas and antics of my older brothers. A few of my friends did, but I stayed as far away as possible, especially from Susie’s German Shepard named Duke. To be honest, I don’t remember petting Robin’s miniature poodle Brandy even once and Robin and I were best friends in high school.
I didn’t fall in love with dogs until my daughter and son wore me down when they were in 2nd and 5th grade and we got our first. Enter our Havanese pup EJ, named by my daughter Emma after her and her brother Josh. It was a Saturday that EJ arrived, and he was terrified. My husband took both kids to soccer practice and I sat on the kitchen floor (with a couple of treats) and let him wander over to me when he was ready. That was the start of our 24/7 attachment.
What’s one thing you hope your readers take away from your book?
NO ROOM FOR A PUP! is a modern, multi-cultural twist on a Yiddish folk tale popularized in the classic book published in the late 1970s: IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE. Think of it as “I want a dog” meets classic folk tale about gratitude.
My collaborator Laurel Molk and I used humor to communicate the importance of inclusion (there’s always room for one more!) as well as gratitude. We also made sure that our protagonist solved her own problem by soliciting the help of an adult. (In the original tale, a rabbi solves the problem for the protagonist.). Our young protagonist takes initiative, perseveres, and is kind. How’s that for a role model?
Adults, please be forewarned. Reading NO ROOM FOR A PUP! could convince you to get a dog for the children in your life.
What’s next for you?
Well, I am trying to convince my husband to let us get another pup as EJ passed after a long and wonderful life! Wish me luck.
As for my writing, I am working on several picture books, including one about valuing your unique self instead of longing to be like others and a bedtime read to calm children’s nighttime blues and fears with the reassurance that a bright tomorrow will greet them on the other side of sleep. Also, I hope I have good news to share about my STEM narrative non-fiction manuscript under review with a couple of agents about bringing an extinct plant back to life.
To connect with Elizabeth and learn more about her books:
Web site: elizabethsuneby.com/books Instagram: elizabethsuneby
Facebook: Elizabeth Kellner Suneby Twitter: @pressed4words