Hello, readers, writers, and eaters of all sorts! We are thrilled to have #SeasonsOfKidLit co-host, not to mention multi-published author and owner of Rate Your Story, Lynne Marie, join us today. Lynne Marie is here sharing her book that is absolutely perfect for the season: Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World! Her book (illustrated by Parwinder Singh) explores foods from 13 countries around the world. When reading Let's Eat, you’ll certainly be inspired to try something new. Want to know more about Lynne Marie and her cuisine-filled book? Read on…
Q: Hi, Lynne Marie. Thank you for joining us at #SeasonsOfKidLit! We’re excited to have you with us and to hear about your book, Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World. Before we take a closer look, can you share a little bit about yourself with the readers?
A: Yes! I’m a long-time writer who managed to stay on the path and become an Author. I share this because it’s often a long and winding road to publication success and it’s important to stay the course. As a result, I have been lucky to be able to combine my passions (reading, brainstorming, writing, revising, researching, mentoring, inspiring, collaborating, speaking and sharing) into a successful day (and night and weekend LOL) job!
On a personal note, I love Thanksgiving! As a child, I loved watching March of the Wooden Soldiers and the Thanksgiving Parade. I loved counting blessings. I enjoyed having so many vegetables to choose from, and of course, apple and pumpkin pie. But I never ate the Turkey.
In fact, I’ve written a story called Fowl Humor in which Harry the Turkey uses humor to try and merit the annual Presidential Turkey Pardon. Yes! This is a true event which occurs at the White House. This story is probably one of my oldest, but most favorite, creations and I really hope to see it published someday soon! In that I’ve just sold a story written in 1997 when I traveled to Versailles, France (The Palace Rat, illustrated by Eva Santana (Yeehoo Press, 2023)), I haven’t given up hope for Harry.
Q: Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World explores cuisines of the world for children. How did this book come about?
A: This is a great question because it allows me to share a different kind of writing experience and my thankfulness for an opportunity. I had published three books (Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten, Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School, The Star in the Christmas Play) and had one on the way (Moldilocks and the Three Scares). And thankfully, this opportunity fell in my lap.
Because they knew I work as a Travel Agent and have traveled the world, Beaming Books contacted me to see if I was interested in a book for kids about world cuisines. I had never written a creative non-fiction book, but I remembered something I had learned from the Highlights Foundation one Chautauqua – if someone gives you a wonderful opportunity, smile and say Certainly! Then, rise to the occasion. So that’s what I did.
To be truthful about the process, it was much more difficult than I anticipated, but I learned so much! There was a lot of trial and error! I started by collecting every children’s and adult book on the world’s children and food that I could find in the library or bookstore. I read, read, read, taking notes and noting countries I found particularly intriguing. I came up with 40 favorites and focused on those. I actually wrote a draft of the book with those countries and showed it to my editor, Naomi Krueger. She said “that’s great, now narrow it down to 13.” It was super tough to evaluate and narrow them down, but I mixed familiar with unfamiliar and made sure I had a nice diversity of cultures. There were so many I would have liked to keep in though! Every culture is dramatically different and is worth learning about!
For each country, I redeveloped text and created (too many) sidebars. When I showed my editor, she said, “That’s great, now streamline the text to 25-50 words for the narrative and just one or two sidebars of up to 25 words.” I’m streamlining this experience, but it was hard to know the right direction and decisions for the project. I agonized over every choice and had to keep in mind my deadline. I wasn’t used to that!
But in the end, it was worth it – I had a beautifully-illustrated book (by Parwinder Singh) that allows children to arm-chair travel and meet children from other cultures, as well as their foods and customs.
Q: That sounds fun! What makes your book the perfect read for the season?
A: One of the things that we are most thankful for on Thanksgiving (apart from other blessings) is food. So this holiday makes a perfect stepping-stone to exploring other foods and cultures beyond American and American Indian. Parents might challenge themselves to also include one food from another culture for children to try on this day or even start “Food Culture Fridays.”
You can find a recipe guide for some ideas here: Let's Eat! Recipe Pack (beamingbooks.com)
Q: What are you most thankful for?
A: I am thankful for all aspects of my journey. My life is so much richer as a result of the books I’ve read, the places I’ve been across the globe, the friends I’ve made, and the experiences I’ve had. And I am beyond blessed to be able to include pieces of them in my stories and share them with others. And I’m thankful to be teamed up with Heather Macht on #SeasonsOfKidlit. Holidays are one of my biggest passions.
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
A: I'm very excited about a few things on the horizon, including a new and exciting 2023 year at Rate Your Story with a whole slew of Crafty Webinars to enjoy, in addition to the Ratings and Feedback, and Mentor Text Talks! Also next year, #SeasonsOfKidLit will have its first Valentine's Day event on select days starting February 1st (www.SeasonsOfKidLit.com) through Valentine's Day, Rate Your Story has our March On With Mentor Text event (https://www.rateyourstory.org/march-on) with Registration on February 15th, and then our April Yearly Contest (www.rateyourstory.org/spring-contest).
As far as upcoming books, I’ve mentioned The Palace Rat coming out (Yeehoo Press, Fall 2023). And I also have Chicken Little's Weather Worries coming out in Fall from Mac and Cheese Press. I'm working on a fun project now as well, that I hope will sprout wings and fly. And there's something big brewing for possibly Fall 2024 that I can't announce but am very, very excited about! It's a definite passion project of mine and even better since it's shared with a friend.
There’s also a whole new #SeasonsOfKidlit #TrickOrTreat2023 event, the #ThanksAndGiving2023 event, and the #12DaysofJoy2023 December Event! So, lots to look forward to with my dear friend, co-Elf and Celebration Connoisseur Heather Macht!
Thanks so much for joining us, Lynne Marie! We can't wait to check out all your books, upcoming books included!
To purchase Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World, or to leave a review for any of Lynne Marie’s books, click here.
#ThanksAndGiving Giveaway! In thankfulness for all readers, writers, parents, teachers and librarians who make the book world a wonderful place, Lynne Marie is giving away one special treat of your choosing:
Teachers: a free Zoom Classroom visit to one commenter who comments “I create readers!”.
Librarians: a signed copy of her book to the library of one commenter who comments “I am a book gardener!”.
Readers: Lynne Marie is giving away a digital copy of her book to one lucky winner who comments "I love reading!".
Writers: a Rate Your Story Speedpass to each of two lucky winners, who comment “I want a rating and feedback on my story.”
The winner will be chosen on or about 11/30th!
Also, check out the fun & FREE downloadables on her website at: www.literallylynnemarie.com
About Lynne Marie:
Lynne Marie is the author of several books, including The Star of the Christmas Play (Beaming Books 2018 & 2023), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares, (Sterling/Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project (Mac and Cheese Press 2022), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project Coloring Book (Mac and Cheese Press 2022), The Palace Rat (Yeehoo Press, 2023), and more, forthcoming. She’s the Owner and Administrator of RateYourStory.org, ThePictureBookMechanic.com, and a Travel Agent.
Feel free to get in touch with her at: LiterallyLynneMarie@gmail.com