Today I’m excited to introduce two debut authors who both have picture books printed in a dyslexic inclusive font. As a reading specialist, I wanted to know more and I’m thrilled that both Candice Marley Connor and Michelle Vattula are offering one lucky winner a signed copy of their amazing books. Comment on this blogpost to enter and one person will win SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL, by Candice Marley Conner and illustrated by Heath Gray and THE STALKING SEAGULLS, by Michelle Vattula and illustrated by T.L. Derby.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
Candice: My target audience is around four to eight years old. At four, I was learning how to be a big sister. I was quiet and observant—my mom says I could amuse myself with a pine needle. My parents have this really embarrassing video of me playing with some magical eggs I found and being completely distraught when they took it away from me because it was, in reality, rabbit poop. As I got older, I helped out in our family fish ponds and really, just had the best swamp-wild childhood. I was writing and illustrating stories for my parents and little sister as soon as I learned to read and write.
Michelle: At 6, I was curious, compassionate and feisty. I loved to sing and loved animals.
What inspires you?
Candice: My two children are my biggest inspiration. They are constant reminders to slow down and be present in the world. I might have missed a squirrel with tail as bristly as a chewed-up pine cone if it wasn’t for them! Hand-in-hand with this, nature inspires me too. I love learning more deeply about the flora and fauna both around me and in places I haven’t been to yet.
Michelle: It’s amazing how the simplest of things inspire me. I have had some of my best ideas in the shower, taking a walk and even in my dreams. My writing usually comes from personal experiences, mainly with my children. Music has played a huge role in my life. Being a music lover, I have played numerous instruments and even sang in the Erie Philharmonic. Whenever I have time to myself, I have music playing and subsequently come up with various ideas. This particular book was inspired, like so many, by a bombardment of seagulls on the beaches of Florida. Once the food came out, so did the seagulls.
What’s something you hope readers take away from your book?
Candice: I hope young readers of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL take away the notion that our differences make us awesome! We each have something we’re good at, and that’s what we should focus on. I love that the book is printed in dyslexie font to make it more accessible.
Michelle: There are a few things I would like readers to take away from THE STALKING SEAGULLS.. First, everyone has had a run in with a stalking seagull, so you are not alone. Secondly, even with your best efforts, you don’t always get what you want. Even though we never like to see our kids disappointed, it is a part of life, so hopefully, this story can help kids relate to those scenarios. Lastly, this book has been published in Dyslexie (dyslexic font) to increase ease of reading for children and adults who have dyslexia. I would hope that for anyone who struggles with dyslexia that this typeface will increase their confidence and love of reading.
What’s next for you?
Candice: I have another picture book under contract with MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing about an alligator who chomps at words to get the letters to stay still. I was inspired to write that after working with dyslexic children as a Reading Buddy and was blown away by their hard work and dedication to reading. I’ve seen early character sketches and they are ADORABLE. Also, I have a middle grade contemporary fantasy and a STEAM chapter book series out on submission now that I’m really excited about.
Michelle:I love to write stories with a lot of puns and humor. I also love to write about cows, but I tend to focus on lyrical picture books that bring an emotional component not only to the child, but also to the reader (the parent). I have a wonderful literary agent T.J. Kirsch who believes in my work and passion. He is working hard for many of my other manuscripts to find their proper home. Everyday is a gift for me. I am a 6 year cancer survivor and celebrate my anniversary each year.
To learn more about Candice and her books:
website candicemarleyconner.com Instagram @Candice_marleyconner. Twitter @Candice_marleyc
To learn more about Michelle and her books:
website: http://www.Michellevattula.com. Twitter @Mmvattula Instagram @michelleciampavattula