top of page

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Susan B. Katz!


Hi, readers, writers, and all you KidLit fans out there! We have the amazing Susan B. Katz, author of over 80 books, on the blog today sharing her newest book that's a lovely read for the season. Share Your Love, illustrated by Jennie Poh, focuses on showing children how to wish for their own happiness, good health, peace, and safety through loving kindness. This book can't be missed! Want to know more about Susan, her empowering book for kids, plus want to hear a sweet message she has for you? Read On...



Q:  Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re thrilled to host you, and to hear all about your new book, Share Your Love. This is a sweet book, perfect for showing little ones how to spread the love, on Valentine’s Day or any day! Please share your inspiration for this book. 



A: As an educator and long-time practitioner of Metta/loving kindness meditation, I wanted to show children that they have agency in healing the world, one heart at a time. It all starts with sending themselves kind thoughts, expands out to their family and friends, neighbors and community members, and even to someone with whom they might not get along so well. Finally, it comes back full circle to loving kindness towards yourself. Especially, post-pandemic, kids are dealing with anxiety at alarming rates. This simple technique brings children back to their breath and gives them a way to send out well-wishes to the world.



Q: The narrative unfolds in such a soothing and peaceful way – recommending, without feeling forceful. How many rewrites (and revision requests) did it take to get the manuscript to this wonderful level? Please expand a bit on the process. 



A: Thank you very much for complementing the cadence. Since the refrain/chorus is sung to the tune of Happy Birthday to You, I originally wanted the title to be Happy Worth Day, then it got changed to Wishes for the World. My publisher suggested something more universal which was the right path. Share Your Love probably went through a dozen revisions, over the span of a year. I wrote it in 2020, during the height of the pandemic. The world needed love more than ever. The refrain is something I learned from Sylvia Boorstein at Spirit Rock, so that set the tone for the rest of the rhythm. Metta, as a practice, has a pattern of starting with self, expanding out to friends, family, etc., and then coming back to self, so the storyline wrote itself. I have written in rhyme since I was in the fourth grade, so that is my passion. I love the way the words sing and how children can finish the sentence with a cloze, if you write it well enough.



Q: We really enjoyed Jennie Poh’s sweet art, as well! As published picture book authors ourselves, we know that every process for pairing with an illustrator can vary. How did this pairing unfold? Did you submit this with art notes?




A: I had already published Meditation Station with Bala Kids/Shambhala, so I trusted their process. They sent me samples of artists and finally selected Jennie Poh, which is perfect! I did not give any initial art notes; however, I did give some minor feedback once the art was in progress. Mostly, Jennie made my words come to life for readers in such a beautiful palette and with breathtaking compositions. The emotive part of Sharing Your Love really comes across with her art.






Q: Where did you learn to write in rhyme or to improve your rhyme? What advice do you have for someone who wants to write in rhyme?



A: I literally started writing in rhyme in 4th grade, when my teacher Mrs. Schultz took us outside to write poetry under the weeping willow tree. I went on to enter poetry contests in middle and high school, winning a Detroit Free Press award for a poem about my Grandma Grace. I wrote my high school Valedictorian speech all in rhyme. I think, as a reader, I learned to love rhyme from reading Dr. Seuss and Shel Shilverstein. As a teacher, I loved to read rhyming books to my students. As children’s book writers, we often hear warnings not to write in rhyme. That’s because so many people do it poorly that editors get inundated with awful rhyme. I’m living proof that rhyme does sell (both to the publishing house and to parents, teachers, and librarians) because KIDS LOVE RHYME! About half of my 80+ published books are in rhyme. My advice would be to first read Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook or Rules for the Dance. Then, join a critique group and have someone else in the group read your manuscripts out loud so you hear where they get stuck and what feels like forced rhyme. Also, try and write your story in prose to get the concept or story across and then come back to writing it in rhyme. Count for your cadence! Count syllables and see where the emphasis naturally falls. Each line in an ABAB or AABB rhyming pattern should have roughly the same number of syllables. Finally, read well-executed rhyming books. Lots of them!



Q: The blessings are a nice touch! How did you come up with the idea for the blessings?



A: Not sure I’d call them blessings because that sounds religious. Loving kindness meditation is a positive practice of wishing well to yourself and others. Anyone of any religion can practice this type of meditation. My 25+ years studying at Spirit Rock, and practicing Metta on my own, gave me a strong basis for writing this book. Again, Sylvia Boorstein taught me to sing it to the tune of Happy Birthday to You. In my own meditation, I use the tune of a John Denver song. The basic mantra is the same: May I be happy. May be healthy. May I be safe. May I be calm. In Share Your Love it reads, “May you be protected and safe. May you be happy and pleased. May your body be healthy, and may you live with ease.”



Q: What’s next for you as an author?


A: Eighty-plus books in as an author and I am now trying to break out as an illustrator. I studied environmental science and worked in a Costa Rican rain forest in college. I’m a “Nature Girl” at heart and, during the pandemic, returned to my love of photography. Given the rising demand for non-fiction texts, I am working on pitching a series of STEAM titles with my photography. https://susanbkatz.smugmug.com/ Dummies available, any editors or art directors out there!




Q: How fascinating! Thanks for sharing.



BONUS Question: What is your favorite thing about Valentine’s Day (or your favorite Valentine’s Day candy)? Why? 



A: Such a strange thing, but I love cutting out hearts because they are symmetrical. It is something kids can do and feel successful. I’m allergic to chocolate (and all dairy) so Valentine’s day candy hearts are really the only candy I could have growing up. Also, it’s worthwhile to know that in Latin America and Spain, it is called the Day of Friendship (El Día de la Amistad) so celebrate the love you have for your friends, too, not just romantic partners.


Readers, want to know what we thought of Share Your Love? Click here to see our review! You can also find our reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.



Would you like to leave a sweet treat for the readers?


Yes - I'd love to leave a sweet message/Valentine for all the readers out there!



Thanks SO much for sharing and for joining us, Susan! We really enjoyed having you. Readers, please leave a message below and thank Susan for stopping by.


About Susan B. Katz:


Susan B. Katz is the bestselling, award-winning, Spanish-bilingual author of over 80 titles with Scholastic, S&S, PRH, Callisto, Capstone, Lerner, Bala Kids, North South, and Heinemann. Her book, The Story of RBG, hit #18 on Amazon overall and #9 in kids. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in environmental studies from the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. She has many STEM titles, and is an avid snorkeler and wildlife photographer. Ms. Katz is also a National Board Certified Teacher. Her website is www.SusanKatzBooks.com. Her wildlife photography can be found at https://susanbkatz.smugmug.com/  



For more about Susan, check out the below links:


Facebook/Insta: @susanbkatzauthor


For more about Jennie Poh, check out the below links:


Facebook/Insta: @Jenniepohillustration


To purchase Susan's book on Amazon, or to leave a review for them, click here.



 



140 views

8 Comments


Thanks for spending time with us! I can't wait to read your book:)

Like

Beautiful message...show children that they have agency in healing the world, one heart at a time.

Like

Thank you for sharing, Susan. Congratulations on your book.

Like

Thank you - feeling the love. Sending ❤️ back!

Like

Sounds like a great book!

Like
bottom of page