Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Reflecting Real Life in Writing

Exciting news. My latest picture book, Big C and Little Ox, arrived this week. Big C, a cape buffalo, is a loner, quite grouchy, and has almost nothing say. Little Ox, a busybody oxbird, is the opposite: loves to jabber, always in a happy mood, and enjoys company. So what do the two have in common? They have a symbiotic relationship: Little Ox picks off fleas that keep Big C from itching; in turn, Little Ox gets lunch. But one day, Big C and Little Ox have a quarrel and Little Ox leaves. For Big C, a lesson about friendship unfolds.

My primary goal in writing fiction is to entertain, but I always add layers of meaning into the storyline. In this book, readers will learn about getting along with others who are different, the dependent relationship of a cape buffalo and an oxbird, and the importance of friendship. Plus, it’s packed with humor.

Humor is the universal language all kids enjoy. Parents and teachers do too. I strive to write so my stories have layers of understanding. The younger child will laugh at the grumpiness of the cape buffalo and his antics. Older readers will appreciate the acceptance of a friend who is different. Friendship is a theme everyone can relate to in some capacity.

Nearly all of my writing reflects real life. I don’t mean specific events or people, but things that are important to me. Animals rank high among my interests. The writer in me enjoys researching and writing about animals in a voice kids will enjoy.

Call for submissions for adult and student writers:
An essay competition for adult and student writers commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Two prizes will be awarded: a “Junior Prize” of $1,000 for essays 1,000 words (or less), which is open to students aged 13-18; and a “Senior Prize,” conferring $2,000 for 2,000 words (or less), which is open to anyone aged 19 or over.” Questions to spark your essayistic response are posted on the website. There is no entry fee.
Deadline: March 15, 2012.
Details at

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