Today is March 1st, which makes it feel like spring and we’re in the middle of a week of spring-like temperatures here in Colorado, so I’m celebrating that too. I’m also excited for March On With Mentor Texts, which is the newly formatted ReForReMo as part of the RateYourStory.org blog. I’m a Rate Your Story judge, so I’ll be sharing a post there with a giveaway!
Today, I have another reason to celebrate, I’m sharing my interview with Nancy Churnin, author of 10 amazing picture books. As a judge for RateYourStory.org, I was given the privilege of seeing one of Nancy’s manuscripts before it became a book. A beautifully written biography about a woman I hadn’t heard of, but I am very familiar with her legacy. While I did give Nancy a little feedback, the most important thing I told her was, “This is ready to submit!” During our interview, she told me that was just the encouragement she needed to send it to her agent. And now, A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE, THE STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD, FOUNDER OF HADASSAH, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg is on my bookshelf. Yevgenia’s art is exquisite and I have a few of her other books, too.
Nancy is generously offering a signed copy of A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE, THE STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD, FOUNDER OF HADASSAH and DEAR MR. DICKENS, illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe, winner of the 2021 National Jewish Book Award and the 2022 Sydney Taylor Honor. Comment on the blogpost to be entered.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I loved when my Mom read me stories and later, when I could read to myself. I always dreamed of writing books. I carried around a notebook and pen to write ideas and sketch pictures. When I visit with kids I like to show them a couple of pages from one of my favorite unpublished creations, D is for Doodlebug. I drew all the illustrations and wrote all the words and I didn’t think anyone would notice that I swiped the paper from my father’s desk (even though every page said FROM THE DESK OF DOUGLAS CHURNIN).
What inspires you?
I love theater, books and music and how they give us the opportunity to empathize, to feel things through other people’s hearts, and to connect with our own true emotions and spirits. I am inspired by ordinary people with a dream that persevere to make the world a better place. I am inspired by kids who realize that they, too, can persevere to make the world a better place.
What’s something you hope readers take away from your books?
It’s always my dream that a child’s experience with any of my books doesn’t end with the last page, but marks a beginning, opening a door to the child wanting to change the world for the better, too. That’s why all my books, in addition to coming with free teacher guides and resources on my website, have complementary projects where kids can share the great things they do. I am looking forward to seeing the kind things the kids do for my two new book projects: #HealTheWorld for A QUEEN TO THE RESCUE, THE STORY OF HENRIETTA SZOLD, FOUNDER OF HADASSAH and Dear… for DEAR MR. DICKENS,, where kids are encouraged to write letters to people in positions of influence as Eliza did in Dear Mr. Dickens, asking them to right wrongs.
What’s next for you?
I have signed two book contracts for 2023 and have had two more books that have gone through acquisitions. What’s very exciting for me is that after writing and publishing 10 picture book biographies, my next books will be contemporary fiction, historical fiction and creative non-fiction. I continue to write picture book biographies, but it feels good to stretch and try new things!
To connect with Nancy and learn more about her books:
Twitter and Instagram: @nchurnin
Facebook: Nancy Churnin Nancy Churnin Children’s Books