Thursday, February 11, 2010

Author's Debut Book:The Declaration of Independence from A to Z

Catherine Osornio, yet another published member of our critique group, Wordsmiths8, is preparing for her first school visit with 6th graders. It may be her first---but certainly NOT her last. If you want your children, grandchildren, or classroom to really understand the Declaration of Independence (or if YOU need to brush up) you won't be disappointed with Catherine's debut picture book,
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM A TO Z (Pelican Publishing Company, 2010)

The combination of magnificent, richly colored illustrations by Layne Johnson, and Catherine's amazing facts, will hold the attention of an entire class or assembly!

Because Catherine is a dear friend I asked if I could interview her for my blog. Here's Catherine:

Q: Catherine, what prompted you to write about this particular subject?

A: I originally wrote this as a holiday alphabet book about the 4th of July. The publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, preferred a story about the Declaration of Independence, so I rewrote my manuscript to tell the history of this famous document.

Q: Kids can sometimes think of history as booooring. I know I did. Sigh. What is it about YOUR book that makes the topic of the Declaration of Independence EXCITING for children?

A: I tried really hard to make the text informative as well as interesting. The illustrations, painted by Layne Johnson, created a beautiful backdrop that made my words come alive. I think this blend of words and pictures will draw reluctant history readers in, allowing them to learn and to be entertained at the same time.

Q: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?

A: I took three months to research all I could about the period of time in America and about the Declaration itself. The hardest part was trying to compact all that information into 26 letters, while also writing it in chronological order so that it made sense.

Q: Catherine, have you always wanted to be a writer?

A: No. I grew up wanting to be a scientist, and ended up going to school to learn about film making. I didn't become a writer until about eight years ago when a friend asked for help developing her writing skills. As I taught her about creating stories, I realized that I enjoyed the writing process, and I haven't stopped since.

Q: What advice would you give to students or adults who want to be writers?

A: Read, read, and read some more so you can understand what makes a good story. Learn the rules of grammar, then keep writing and revising, until you can write a story well, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Q: Are you working on any other projects right now?

A: I write articles and short stories for magazines, newsletters, and for an early reader program, but I really want to write middle grade novels. I'm working on a mystery series that I hope will be published some day.

THANK YOU, Catherine! I hope your success story has inspired other writers to press on!

Catherine L. Osornio can be contacted via email
Visit her writing blog at:

Want to get goose bumps and perhaps even choked up in a happy way? Then watch and listen to this short youtube tribute to her book!:
Youtube video:


Nancy I. Sanders said...

Hip hip hooray, Catherine!!!! Congratulations on your new book. And thank you for such an awesome interview, Sherri. I love the photo in the classroom, too! -Nancy

Janet said...

I enjoyed the interview and went over to her site. Congratulations, Catherine.

Clementine said...

What a wonderful interview, Sherri! Thank you to both of you. Congratulations Catherine!

Tina Cho said...

Great interview! Congratulations again, Catherine!
~Tina Cho

Sheryl Crawford said...

Tina, thanks so much for reading the interview! Spread the word to teachers! This is an author you will hear more about! She's an amazing researcher and so SMART! I can't believe I'm in the same crit group with her! I know who to go to for research advice. In fact, she's agreed to do some posts on Sherri Tales about simple steps to research.Can't wait!

Sheryl Crawford said...

Hey, Amy! Glad you like the interview with this wonderful first time book author, Catherine Osornio!
Read my comments to Tina and you'll learn more. How are you? Querying editors?