Trick or Treat with Donna Washington!
Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, everyone. Today on the blog, we have a wickedly fun tale filled with stew...and swamps...and scares...OH MY! Legendary and award-winning author and storyteller Donna L. Washington is here to talk about her delightful new book: Boo Stew. Boo Stew is a fractured fairytale featuring Curly Locks and the Three Scares of Toad Suckswamp. This book is packed with rich text and colorful illustrations. So, want to know what makes Donna such a fascinating storyteller and author? Read on...
Q: Hi, Donna. Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I'm excited to have you and talk about your delightful tale for the season: Boo Stew (illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler)! You are an internationally known, award-winning storyteller, spoken word recording artist, and author. How fascinating! Can you share more about yourself with the readers?
A: Well, I am an army brat, and there are seven kids in my family. Every four years our family would move to a different state, community, or country. We spent lots of time traveling, playing, and creating together.
So, my first brush with writing and storytelling happened when I was a kid. My siblings and I would make breakfast for my parents and while they were eating it, we'd put on skits that we'd made up for them. Breakfast and a show!
As for my mom, on days when the weather was terrible, she'd tape big sheets of butcher paper to the walls and say, "Draw me a story". then, she'd get on with her morning and we'd spend our time making stories and drawing on the walls. Then, we'd tell her the stories.
We were also big readers when we were kids. We always had tons of books. I didn't know until later that my mother would just buy them and stick them on the shelves. I guess we kind of thought we had magic bookcases!
I went off to Northwestern University to study, and once I found storytelling, I never stopped.
My writing work happened by accident. I was performing and a woman asked me if I wrote books. I said no, but I want to. She gave me her card, and that was that! She was an editor at HarperCollins children's books.
Since that time, I have toured the world, written lots of stories and articles for magazines and books, and written a few picture books of my own.
Q: That is truly amazing!
You are known as a Walking Disney Movie because of the way you captivate audiences as a storyteller and performer. How has that manifested in your children’s books?
A: My stories typically go through many tellings before they end up in books. So, audiences sculpt them.
Q: Can you tell us about your new book and fractured fairy tale, Boo Stew?
A: My kids and I made it up together. My son is a picky eater. My daughter and son made Boo Stew up at the breakfast table. We composed it together, and then I started performing it for kids. It is about a young girl with a dream of sharing her questionable recipes with someone who could enjoy her food. (Spoiler) in the end she does!
Q: What do you think readers will love the most about Curly Locks and her thrilling adventure in Toadsuck Swamp?
A: The book is meant to be read aloud. It is a book to play with. There are refrains in the book that kids will enjoy saying with the reader.
Q: What makes Boo Stew the perfect addition to any school or home library?
A: It is a wonderful fantasy full of vibrant characters. No matter what your family looks like, someone in this book belongs in your family.
Thanks again for joining us, Donna! What an honor!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: Definitely a treat!
Contest Details: A surprise treat is available for one lucky winner! To enter, comment below and let Donna know why Boo Stew sounds like the perfect spooky read. The winner will be announced on or about November 4th.
*Note: Book giveaways will be shipped in the US only.
Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.
About Donna Washington:
Donna L. Washington was born October 6, 1967 in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Sgt. Don Washington and his wife Gwendolyn. Growing up as an Army Brat meant Donna lived in Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Germany, Korea, Indiana, Japan, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Virginia before she graduated from High School. She has visited almost every state in the union except Alaska. The Washington Family has seven children. Anney, Don, Donna, Joseph, Darren, Milton, and Duyen.
In 1989, Donna graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Speech. She remained in Evanston, Il for seven years after graduation. She toured to Brussels with the Chicago Children’s Theatre and did a few other shows in the area before becoming a full-time professional storyteller.
She has been a storyteller for 33 years.
She is a very animated storyteller who tells stories for audiences ages four to one hundred and four!
Donna is an award-winning international storyteller and author. She tours the world virtually and in person! She has been featured at hundreds of national and international storytelling festivals.
Donna has published articles in textbooks about storytelling and education, articles in magazines about storytelling as well as some wonderful picture books.
Her books include: A Big Spooky House, A Pride of African Tales, The Story of Kwanzaa, Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa, Boo Stew, and a new book coming out in 2023.
Over the last two years Donna won a 2021 Oracle Award for co-founding artistsstandingstrongtogether.net. She was also the 2022 Coleen Salley Storyteller award recipient.
These days, Donna lives in Durham, NC with her husband Dave and their cat Flash.
For more about Donna, check out the below links:
To purchase Donna's books on Amazon, or to leave a review, click here.