I'm very happy to be hosting Carrie Pearson today as part of her weeklong blog tour! Some of you may recall Carrie from her Michigander Monday interview in 2012 not long after her first book came out. She's back now with a brand new book. Let's hear all about it!
Debbie: Carrie, please tell us about your new book.
Carrie: A Cool Summer Tail (Arbordale Publishing, March 2014) is a nonfiction picture book for readers ages 4-8 that explores how woodland animals adapt to summer heat. While the content is true to life, the story is told in a fictional style with lyricism, rhyming, alliteration, and imagery. The book is unique because it is told from animals’ perspectives, and because it compares and contrasts how animals and humans adapt.
A Cool Summer Tail is a companion to my earlier book called A Warm Winter Tail which won a Gelett Burgess Award in the Nature for All Ages category. Christina Wald, the illustrator for both books, created visuals that are authentic but still child-friendly and ask to be explored over and over. We hope each book individually and both books together will provide insights into the amazing world of animal adaptation.
Debbie: Do you have any upcoming events or appearances scheduled?
Carrie: I was just at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum on August 14 for their popular Second Thursday event. I am currently working on a late fall tour of downstate Michigan, but it’s all top secret information so far. I will say it is highly likely you’ll see me as a featured speaker at the Michigan Reading Association annual conference this spring and I’m super excited about this opportunity.
Debbie: You live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Playing off the theme of your books, please tell us a little about the summers there, the winters there, and how you have adapted to U.P. weather.
Carrie: I live on the shore of Lake Superior – the largest body of fresh water in the world—that acts more like an ocean than a lake and totally influences our regional environment. We can have more weather patterns in a day than Simplicity could ever create. Changes in weather are typical, and we Marquette-ites know to carry extra clothing whenever we leave our houses. Extremes in temperature are also typical so we can endure winters with very low temps (from December to February 2014, our average temperature was 7.5 degrees F. That is not a typo!) and have a few really hot days (above 80 degrees!!) in the summer. Because the climate can be hostile, I've always wanted to delve more deeply into strategies animals use to survive. Both books gave me the opportunity for this but also the chance to share and celebrate how adaptable animals are. Personally, I've adapted by embracing our climate with mostly good humor. I've never regretted getting outside even if it appears to be too hot or too cold for my own good.
Debbie: You’re the co-Regional Advisor of the Michigan chapter of SCBWI. Could you please tell us a little about SCBWI, its impact on your writing career, and what your role is as RA?
Carrie: Warning! Zealot alert!!
SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) is the richest resource for aspiring and current authors and illustrators in the world of children’s books. The founders, Steve Mooser and Lin Oliver, call SCBWI members “the tribe” which represents their desire to create unity, camaraderie, and support within a difficult environment. SCBWI offers conferences, grants, connections, education…so much that it is hard to describe adequately. (And I’m not usually at a loss for words!) An “RA” or Regional Advisor is a volunteer team leader of a region (our region is upper and lower Michigan). There are 80 regions around the world. My co-RA is author/illustrator Leslie Helakoski and together with our Advisory Committee and special volunteers (like you!), we work to create a positive learning environment for Michigan SCBWI members. We do this through our robust website (www.michigan.scbwi.org) conferences, free regional Meet Ups, webinars, and social media connections.
When I first accepted the RA position in June 2013, I worried my writing time would be engulfed by SCBWI duties. It has challenged me to be more efficient with my time, but the rewards are definitely worth it. I’ve met many industry influencers, have the benefit of my RA colleagues’ experiences, and am always growing as a writer and leader through this position.
Debbie: What are you currently working on?
Carrie: I’m currently working on patience as I have three books on submission through my agent (two picture books and a MG historical). It never gets easier to wait, does it? My works in progress include at least one and maybe more projects about the ecosystem in the top of the tallest trees in the world and a biographical vignette book about Cuban-Americans who came to the US during Operation Pedro Pan in the early 1960s. (More about this here: http://www.carriepearsonbooks.com/operation-pedro-pan.html.) I love working where fiction and nonfiction collide so expect to see more from me in this area!
Debbie: Anything else you’d like to add?
Carrie: Just a thank you for including me on Jumping the Candlestick and helping me celebrate the release of A Cool Summer Tail. I’m offering a free giveaway of this book and a plush animal featured in it. To be eligible, readers need to leave a comment at each of the stops on the tour. The winner will be drawn randomly and announced on my blog (http://www.carriepearsonbooks.com/blog) on August 19. Good luck!
August 11: Anastasia Suen: Booktalking #kidlit http://asuen.wordpress.com/ and Nonfiction Monday http://nonfictionmonday.wordpress.com/
August 14: Brittney Breakey: Author Turf http://authorturf.com/
August 15: Deborah Diesen: Jumping the Candlestick http://jumpingthecandlestick.blogspot.com/
August 18: Jennifer Chamblis Bertman: http://writerjenn.blogspot.com/
Debbie: Carrie, thank you so much for being here today!