Today I’m happy to introduce you to author, Lois Peterson and her nonfiction middle grade book, SHELTER – HOMELESSNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY, illustrated by Taryn Gee which releases today. Usually I celebrate book birthdays with cake but given the nature of this book, I will be making a food pantry donation instead. SHELTER – HOMELESSNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY takes a complex and difficult subject, presents it in a way that young readers can understand, and creates a way for people of any age to think about why people become homeless and ways to make a difference.
Lois has generously offered a copy of SHELTER – HOMELESSNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY and a copy of her historical novel, SILVER RAIN, to one winner (US or Canada address) plus a critique of the opening chapter (2,000 words max.) of a middle grade novel. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I spent seven years at an English boarding school from the age of eight to fifteen, where I read every book in my ‘house’ library, and then ‘catalogued’ them. I spent some summers in Iraq where my father worked, and others in Cornwall. There, my brother, sister and I would get up before our parents were awake and dash down the sandy path to the beach where we’d scavenge for whatever money, books, glasses, keys, watches, etc. had been left in the sand by the previous day’s holidaymakers. Then we’d bring them home and catalogue them… describe them and where exactly we found them, and include notes of who probably lost them… which may explain why I grew up to work in public libraries for so many years!
What inspires you?
I am a pretty nosy person, and love to ask people questions about what they are doing and why, what they know and what they plan to do. I overhear conversations which give me a glimpses into people’s lives, and love to pull the germs of ideas from what I read, hear and see and shape them into books and stories. I also teach writing to adults and kids, and while I don’t steal anyone else’s ideas, I do find projects that other writers are working on give me some ideas for other projects.
What’s something you hope readers take away from your books?
I would hope that SHELTER – HOMELESSNESS IN OUR COMMUNITY encourages readers – both the children and adults who read it – to approach homelessness and other social issues with curiosity rather than judgment. And I hope my book gives them information that helps them form their own opinions, and be more empathetic about how other people live and the challenges they face. From my fiction, I hope readers learn about the resilience of children facing difficult challenges.
What’s next for you?
Working on SHELTER distracted me for more than two years from some fiction I was working on. I am gradually getting back into it by concentrating on a few picture book stories – a form of writing which is very close to poetry, and something I love to read myself. And I have several midgrade novels ‘in the drawer’ that I hope to revive over the fall and winter.
But perhaps what I am most looking forward to is a time when the world opens up again enough to travel – I am hoping to visit Eastern Europe next summer, and end my trip with a week in my favourite city in the world – Istanbul.
To find out more about Lois and her books:
Twitter: @lpwords Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LPwords
Website – www.loispetersonwriter.ca