The following are the words of Tammy (Seebecker) Brown, Archway Publishing author. Tammy’s book Herman the Mouse is dedicated to her first grandchild, Charlie. She is expecting a second grandson in March and a sequel is already in the works; “I’m Glad It’s Just Me!” – “Herman Gets a Baby Brother.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.
Deciding to Write a Children’s Book
I have always loved the “magic” of books. The stories that create whole new worlds, stories so descriptive whole scenes unfold before your eyes, if only in my mind. My love for children’s books never left me. My favorite books are the ones with plenty of detail in the pictures. I fell in love with the thought of writing and illustrating my own book someday from a very young age. My dream was to see a book in the library, in the children’s section of course, with my name on the side and a card in the back to check it out. I was probably one of the only kids who played “library” when I was a little girl instead of “house!”
Recently I have been traveling to schools and libraries to promote my book. Once, I read it eighteen times in three days! I hand out bookmarks and have drawings for free books and e-books. One of my favorite things to observe at readings are the children’s faces. Some of the younger ones start out restless but then grow quiet as church mice (pun intended); by page two or three they start to watch intently, pointing out the hidden spider on each page. When I reach the climax of the story, when Herman hears a loud “SNAP,” I see their mouths drop open wide. Their faces worried, they wait anxiously for the page to turn so they can see what Herman will do.
The end of the book is always met with cheers, a round of applause, and “will there be another story about Herman?” “Will you come read that one to us too?” If only I could get all the ideas and images down on paper as fast as they are swirling around in my head! Once, there was even a young preteen boy at a reading. He obviously would rather have been anywhere else but at the library with his little brother. Yet after I was finished, he responded with surprise; “That was actually pretty good. You’re a really good artist too!”
My book is one that can be read at home or in an academic setting. Teachers may develop lesson plans from my story that apply to multiple disciplines. As an art lesson they could draw a detailed picture of what they think a mouse house would look like. In English they could write their own story to speculate why Lloyd has only one ear. For science they could draw up their own plans for getting the cheese out of the giant mousetrap; several of Herman’s ideas look like Roux Goldberg machines. The story teaches not to judge by appearances, and suggests that help can come from some of the most unlikely places. Most importantly, it reveals that anyone can be a friend.
After reading to an Elementary school, the principal told me the next day a student brought in a book she made out of construction paper, stapled together. It was a story she wrote and illustrated. The girl said she wanted to be an Author/Illustrator just like me when she grew up. Her whole class gave her undivided attention while she sat in front of them and shared her story. I can’t think of a better compliment than that.
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