Interview with Children’s Book Author Sandra Lanton

Photograph of author Sandra Lanton

Photograph of author Sandra Lanton

It is always a pleasure to find a teacher or retired teacher who is involved in writing quality children’s books. Sandy Lanton is just such an author. She has a very pleasing website to look at with some impressive information. I invite you to get to know Sandy and her books through this interview.

Hi Sandy, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our blogs. On your website I was happy to see that you are a teacher by profession and have become involved in writing children’s books. By way of background can you share what age range did you teach?

Sandy: “My degree is in Early Childhood Education.  I taught Kindergarten for 2 years, then taught at the local JCC for three years.  I started in the after school program and then  created their Mommy and Me class.  I taught   the graduates of Mommy and Me (2 year olds ) Toddler Playgroup (2/12, ) and 3’s and 4’s in the Nursery School.”

2) When did you begin writing?

Sandy: “I was inspired to write while I was teaching nursery school.  I was reading to my class and reading to my kids at home.  I thought—“I’d love to create books!”

I signed up for a class in writing for children at a local college in the evening.”

3) What inspires you to write and or where do you get your ideas for the theme of each book?

Sandy: “My ideas come from life.

I wrote  DADDY’S CHAIR, when my cousin died of cancer at the age of 46 and I couldn’t find anything to read to his 6 year old son.  There were plenty of books for his 12 year old  and 15 year old,  but nothing for young children.  I was taking a class with the late Pam Conrad at the time, and she helped with the manuscript.

LOTS OF LATKES was inspired by my writing group, The Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators (LICWI).  Instead of the July meeting we always have a gathering in a member’s backyard for a potluck lunch.  I thought “WHAT IF everybody brought the same thing.   (What if is a great story starter).

THE HAPPY HACKERS started in a screenwriting class at Hofstra.  The assignment was to write a monologue for a person  talking to somebody who doesn’t respond.  One classmate wrote about a woman talking to a photograph, and another had a man speaking to a  corpse.  As the mother of teenagers at the time, I wrote about a mother trying to wake her son, who had been up all night at his computer.  I modeled the main character after my son.

STILL A FAMILY: A YOUNG CHILD’S BOOK ABOUT DIVORCE:  was written when my daughter got divorced.  My two granddaughters were three and eighteen months old  at the time.  Again, I searched for appropriate books and came up empty.

THE LITTLEST LEVINE was inspired by my nursery school class.  As part of the Passover curriculum, we had to teach the four questions.  I was amazed that these tiny children, who couldn’t reach the sink without a stepstool, or tie their shoelaces, could memorize the four questions and recite them beautifully.  The idea mulled around for years and the manuscript went through many revisions until KAR BEN published it in 2014.”

4) Are your books self-published or published through a recognized publishing company? Can you tell the reader how you found the publishing process and why you chose either self-publishing or to find a publishing company?

Sandy: “Three  of my books were published by KAR-BEN, (DADDY’S CHAIR, LOTS OF LATKES, and THE LITTLEST LEVINE)  one by an educational publisher, Wendy Pye, (THE HAPPY HACKERS) and one was self-published (STILL A FAMILY).  When KarBen took DADDY’S CHAIR our of print in 1999, I got together with the illustrator, Shelly Haas, and we reprinted it because we both felt it was an important book.  I self-published STILL A FAMILY because I got tired of collecting rejection slips from publishers who said either “well-written, but we don’t want to touch the subject” or “well written, but we have one in the works”.  Again, I felt the topic was too important to let the manuscript languish in a drawer.”

5) I have only seen the covers of your books, but the illustrations seem to be gentle and beautiful. Can you share anything about finding a suitable illustrator for your book and how it feels to have your writing in book form, complete with illustrations?

Sandy: “Part of the editor’s job is to play “matchmaker” for the author and illustrator.  I was pleased with all of them except THE HAPPY HACKERS.  I had described a messy teen’s room and the cover illustration shows a single piece of paper on the floor instead of the laundry all over the room and socks hanging from the light fixture as I had described in the text.  Since I self-published STILL A FAMILY, I was able to select the illustrator  and have input into the finished product.”

6) Which of your books is your favourite and why?

Sandy: “That’s like asking a mother which child she likes best!”

7) Through your experience as both a teacher and an author of children’s books, what message can you share with the reader about the importance of reading to children and enabling children to read? If you are able to add, do you have a preference to children reading books or eBooks and why?

Sandy: “I think reading to young children (starting in infancy) is the best thing a parent and grandparent can do for a child’s intellectual and emotional development.  I know that e books are popular, but I still love the feel of a book and having a child on your lap while turning the pages together is heavenly.”

Thank you Sandy, it has been a pleasure getting to know you and your books. Can you share with the reader where are your books available?

Sandy: “My books are available from Kar-Ben (1-800-4 KARBEN) Amamzon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Follett, and  my website : www.sandylanton.com.  Your local bookstore might be able to order them for you.”

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7 Lessons Learned from Popcorn

Bowl of Popcorn
Bowl of Popcorn

Every item, object, plant, animal or person has a purpose. We have the ability to take any event or item and elevate it by contemplating the lessons one can learn or what positive purpose that item has in this world. Let us take popcorn as an example. Popcorn is actually quite an amazing food product.

1) Popcorn is quite versatile, add a little salt and you have something savoury, add some sugar or sweetening and you have a sweet treat. String some thread through it or add a bit of food colouring and you can have a decorative treat too.

2) Have you noticed the wonderful variety of shapes with each popped corn? Each one is different. I am not sure if anyone has photographed popcorn and compared the shapes to the next batch, but in every pot, bowl or box of popcorn every one is unique. If we stop and think about this. Every person is unique too. More than this, there is an abundance in this world. Just look at the variety of shapes in each popcorn! To me this makes me stop and think there must be a Creator to this world. Let’s look at a few more examples as to why there must be a Creator and what we can learn about our Creator.

3) Looking at popcorn, I’d say our Creator must be filled with kindness. Imagine, you can have a dried cob filled with corn that has gone hard and yet, it is not a waste! Take those hard seeds, place them in a pot with a little oil and some heat and in a short time the corn will have transformed from a hard seed that could break your teeth to something that is soft, versatile, tasty and even nutritious. It’s low in calories, high in fibre and contains beneficial anti-oxidants. Isn’t that great kindness to us. On top of that, everyone, from the age that they are old enough to eat it, likes popcorn.

4) Popcorn gives us hope and inspiration for our potential to grow and develop. Think about it for a bit. Popcorn undergoes a total transformation once placed in a pot with a little oil and heat. If that is the good that can come out of a few hard seeds, think about the potential for every person who is filled with far more than the hard seeds are. If we apply ourselves correctly, we too can grow, change and develop to become who we are supposed to be and give goodness and happiness to the world.

5) Popcorn is quite magical and gives excitement to others. Once again I regard this as a kindness from our Creator. Mostly popcorn is yellow. We already mentioned the transformation of shape that takes place, but popcorn changes it’s colour too and becomes a fluffy white that can accept any other colour when the food colouring mentioned above is applied.

6) Popcorn is such a gift. It makes watching a movie or attending a party so much more fun. For those who love popcorn at the movies, doesn’t it provide the perfect way to occupy your hands and mouth while you settle into the idea of the movie? By the time you have finished your popcorn, you are absorbed into the story-line and able to concentrate despite sitting still for a long time.

7) Personally, I think popcorn is one of those items that proves there must be a Creator. What scientist or other person would be able to come up with an item that has so much that it offers. Who would be able to make such a total transformation in terms of consistency, shape, colour, texture and to come out with variety, positive lessons and nourishment too?

Next time you enjoy your popcorn, consider all the wonderful lessons that simple popcorn offers. What a wonderful way to elevate your healthy snack and use that time for good. Let the food for thought fill you with inspiration and motivation to apply your skills to something positive and productive.

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Welcome to our Bridal Gown Gemach

Shoshanah with the Bridal Gowns
Shoshanah with the Bridal Gowns

Welcome to our Bridal Gown Gemach. It has taken quite some time since moving to clear things up enough to begin renting out the bridal gowns. We still have some work to do to get this section of our centre to the level that we want it to be. So please excuse the space being a little smaller than we wanted. We also hope in time to add items such as bridal veils.

Second Image of Shoshanah with the Bridal Gowns
Second Image of Shoshanah with the Bridal Gowns

While we work behind the scenes to continue to develop the wonderful centre that we are creating, we’d like to invite you to come and take a look. If you are getting married or know anyone who is, we would like to invite you to come and view the bridal gowns in our Bridal Gown Gemach.

The images above show me with a few of the bridal gowns. This is to demonstrate that the gowns are really in the centre we are developing and it is not all talk.

An image of the Bridal Gowns with the Mirror
An image of the Bridal Gowns with the Mirror

This last image shows what I was looking at. The gowns are all lovely and quality. They are all modest in keeping with Torah standards as is fitting for a Torah centre.

So come along and take a look. If you rent your bridal gown from Chessed Ve’Emet, you can do a Mitzvah with your rental as a percentage of the proceeds goes to assist an orphan to rent her bridal gown too.

We look forward to hearing from you

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In the Spirit of World OT Day

Logo of World OT Day Prepared by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists
Logo of World OT Day Prepared by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists

There are so many ideas on my mind for posts to go onto this new blog, however, perhaps the most suitable is one that really should have gone up last week. Did you know that there is a World OT (occupational therapy) Day? Just like there is a Mother’s Day, a Father’s Day, A Friends Day and all kinds of other days, one day in the year is devoted to World OT Day. It is a day when OTs around the world promote our profession in some way. I had hoped to get this blog post out on the correct day, which was the 27th October 2016. Sadly my time schedule did not permit it, however, I did achieve another goal and that is to complete recording a video and preparing a crowdfundraiser towards raising the necessary funds for a book that I am bringing out to promote OT. The work involved in setting this up took a few days, but the crowdfundraiser went live on World OT Day!

Shoshanah with Proof Copy of her book "Healing Your Life Through Activity"
Shoshanah with Proof Copy of her book “Healing Your Life Through Activity”

I am very happy that the crowdfundraiser went up on the right day, but I had hoped to co-ordinate this post with it too. Either way, now comes the hard work and that is to get the word out. As a result, this post is to share a little about the campaign and to encourage you, the reader to visit the campaign and get involved to help me to reach my goal. The campaign is entitled: “Healing Your Life Through Activity“, as it is the book title that I am working to complete and that requires funds. The campaign is to come up with the necessary funds to complete the editing and bring this book into being. Once the book is ready to launch, further costs are involved in effective marketing and promotion.

What is the book about?

The book is written to promote my profession of occupational therapy. Most people do not know what OT is or the far reaching benefits to a very large percentage of the population. Please visit my campaign and help to bring this important book into being. Help the world to recognize an invaluable profession.

There are two ways to help. You can visit the campaign and make a contribution or you can share the campaign. Actually, if you make a contribution you can share the campaign too!

Here is the link.

https://igg.me/at/my-OT-book/11095426

If you visit the above link, you will find some other ways that you can assist. One fun way is to get involved in our virtual book tour. We are still in need of suitable blogs to host a post about the book when it is ready to be launched. The post can be a Q & A post from interviewing the author, it can be a post that I have prepared or it can be a book review completed by the manager of the blog. Find out more about the Virtual Book Tour on:

Join Us For A Virtual Book Tour

Thank you for your assistance

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Welcome to Shoshanah’s Blog

Welcome
Welcome

Welcome to my new website on WordPress!

It has been a long road and an interesting process, but we are finally transitioning over to WordPress. A number of factors kept us away, but finally, the need to ensure web accessibility forced us to take the plunge. I must say, I rather like the new revised version. Please do visit the website itself and let us know what you think of the improved site.

As for the blog, well, there is much work to do. The first step will be planning what posts to put up, what order or sequence, what categories and then, we will be heading over to the next phase which will, of course, be publishing a number of posts on the blog section of this site.

For now, I really just want to introduce you to our new, revised website and to say, Hello, here we are, we took the plunge and arrived on WordPress too!

I look forward to sharing posts related to the theme of this website. If you have any special requests or questions, please share them in the comment section below.

Have a blessed day or evening

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Shoshanah Signature

 

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