- FEBRUARY 2017 Read about Leah’s Henderson debut middle grade novel! Thank you Leah!
I had the pleasure to meet Leah Henderson at the WOW Retreat in Atlanta, July 2016. Once I heard the good news of her debut middle-grade novel coming out, I could do nothing more than spreading the word. Leah has always loved stories—short ones, long ones, sad ones, funny ones, and all those in between. When she is not frantically scribbling down the adventures of the characters jabbering in her head, she is off on her own adventures. Traipsing around the globe, venturing down meandering paths, soaking up the vibrancy of tantalizing souks and making lasting friendships. Many of the hopes, struggles, and traditions she witnesses on her travels find a home in her stories and color her and her characters’ lives.Enjoy the interview with Leah and get inspired for writing more exciting stories that speak to the heart!
- MARCH 2016 Interviewed by Jonathan Kemmerer-Scovner on PictureBooksReview as part of his series “Conversations with Storytellers” The relationship with my Yiayia, my writing adventure and the Greek reality of financial crisis! A Conversation with Agatha Rodi
A couple of months ago, I was pleased to review Amelie Gets Busy, written by Grecian author Agatha Rodi. The story concerns a young girl and her relationship with her grandmother, or yiayia. I was curious about Agatha’s real-life yiayia, and also how the Greek financial crisis has affected her life and career as a picture book writer.
You dedicated the book to your mother and grandmother. Did your grandmother live on a farm similar to the one in the story?
Oh yes, my grandmother still lives on a farm in our village! She is around 93 – though her real age is not known to family members. You see, back then parents registered their kids years after their birth!
My yiayia’s name is Athanasia, meaning Euthanasia. She’s a very sweet Greek-type yiayia, thinking only of cooking and cleaning. Her witty remarks can make you wonder for days, and although she is illiterate, her comments on serious issues are very wise! I always admired her courage when she lived up in the mountains, without electricity, only having water from a spring far from the peak.
I also admired the way she confronted life in general. I would choose the word stoicism to describe her attitude towards life’s dramas and great joys. I always have her in my mind, thinking of her daily life when visiting her, the way she reacted and how she treated her animals with tenderness. She was a real devotee and she introduced all her grandchildren to farm work and to the secrets of good cooking! The smells and the images are always there, even after so many years! Her cooking is still exceptional, that’s why I couldn’t resist writing about cookies, spinach pie, and Feta cheese. She prepared dairy products on her own in the traditional way, too. Check more at http://www.picturebooksreview.com/2016/03/a-conversation-with-agatha-rodi.html
- APRIL 2016 Read about Maritza M. Mejia and her writing path thru Poetry, wonderful people always find ways to touch our hearts!Enjoy! POETRY INTERVIEW! Check more at https://agatharodi.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/luz-del-mes-the-light-of-monthcomes-from-colombia/
- NOVEMBER 2015 “The Books that Made Me a Reader”, was accepted by Nerdy Book Club, an honor, and a great chance to talk about my favorite books!
I had started exploring the magical world of reading when I was in high school. That time back my thinking was centered on only getting good marks while doing my assignments by exhibiting a great zeal for reading. In the beginning, reading was like the unknown unfolded in front of my own eyes. I remember myself searching every single word of the stories or poems I chose in trying to decipher the messages hidden in them. That was the feeling, pushing me to discover more for particular notions and words, so this meant more reading!
This obsession of mine bore fruits later on in my life when studying at the university. I was spending my pocket money on buying Shakespeare’s books at the beginning and then I continued with British poets like Alexander Pope.
I was struggling for more knowledge so when I got “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in my hands, I was automatically driven by the simplicity of the words…
- N0VEMBER 2015 Interview by Melissa Rose and Around the World in Books, Blog. Although the blog no longer exists I opted for posting one of my very first interviews!
Hello Agatha, please tell us a little about yourself and your book.
I was born in Patras, Greece and I am a school owner – teacher of foreign languages. Although I have worked at different working posts, teaching and writing are the best occupations for me. My first self-published rhyming book “Amelie gets Busy” was written as a tribute both to my yiayia(grandmother) and my friend Amalia Balch who didn’t have the chance to meet her yiayia.
Where are you writing from?
I write from Patras, Greece mostly but I do write also when I travel, it just comes out naturally!
When did you begin taking an interest in writing books for children?
My first attempt was back in 1997 when I had to write short stories as a part of a Creative Course. Till then I was only interested in Fiction writing. As a student at Institute of Children’s Literature, in C.T, I wrote stories for different age groups.
Do you have a particular writing process?
Brainstorming, Prewriting and Revision are the most important steps in my writing process. I don’t follow them in a particular order each time but I do have a notebook with me always.
Where did your idea for “Amelie gets busy!” come from?
During one of my visits to my village where my yiayia lives I was paying attention to her daily chores and that’s how the idea came.
Are there plans to write more Amelie adventures? Or was this book intended as a standalone?
When I wrote “Amelie” I didn’t have in mind this possibility. Most writers and readers want me to have more books on ‘Amelie” so I guess I will!
To follow up on the last question; are there any more books in the process?
Another story for young learners is on the way of having it published, with the illustrator working on it. I write also Romance and Poetry.
Who did the Illustrations for “Amelie Gets Busy!” and how much influence did you have on them?
Joanna Scott, http://www.joanna-scott.com/ is a British illustrator and I was really lucky to have her illustrate “Amelie”. Joanna enlightened me on many issues during the book’s preparation and I did the same regarding the Greek village details.
What were your favorite childhood books?
My first Alphabet Book. It is still considered to be the most famous Greek Alphabet Book which first appeared in 1955.
Heidi, Johanna’s Spyri, book is my favorite one!
What are your favorite books now?
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey
The Framer and the clown by Marla Frazee
Green is a Chile Pepper: A book of colors by Roseanne Greenfield
Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The red pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
What book are you reading right now? What is it about?
I am reading “Little Red and the very hungry Lion” written by Alex T. Smith. I find the idea of Little Red Riding Hood put against the African setting where he becomes friends with the wild animals although the Very Hungry Lion is lurking in the shadows. I really enjoy this book for its illustrations they are excellent!
This month’s choice will also be “It’s raining Pups and Dogs!
(Sit! stay! Read!)” by Jeanne Prevost and Amelia Hansen. Here is the story:
Lauren is angry with her father for having their dog Scout spayed, dashing her hopes of having the fun of raising puppies. To show Lauren why they made the decision not to breed Scout, Lauren’s dad takes her to visit a large animal shelter. Seeing the hundreds of dogs waiting for rescue, many with little hope of finding a home, Lauren comes to understand why they spayed Scout: there are too many dogs and too few homes for them.
Thank you for taking time to answer these questions. Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself, or your book?
Writing is the best way to know your roots deeply and offer the chance to the rest of the world to get to know more about your country and your personal journey. Reading is the best activity ever to know more about people around you and become more creative by spreading hope. Thank you, Melissa, for this amazing opportunity I wish you the best on your tour around the world!
About the Book:
Amelie is a cute little girl who gets busy while visiting her Greek grandmother (yiayia) at the village. This is her first visit to Greece. Amelie is so impressed especially by the animals in the farm, the bloomed trees, and flowers, the birds. She gets so excited by the colors, the smells and the sounds that she feels so unique! Spending time in the garden is the best time ever for her. Amelie is thrilled with the yummy tastes she discovers! She loves her yiayia’s gift a keepsake box which is full of the village’s smells and colorful memories to have in her heart, forever!