Let’s Celebrate Black History Month! I am thrilled to have Nancy I. Sanders visit The Golden Pathway today to share the highlights of writing D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet through her inspiring and intriguing interview.
D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet
By Nancy I. Sanders
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Author’s website: www.nancyisanders.com
Book’s website: http://drinkinggourdalphabet.wordpress.com/
Without further ado, an interview with Nancy I. Sanders:
Q: What was a highlight of writing this book?
A: After the manuscript was written and the art was done, the book went to printing. During that time, just several months before the book came out, my husband and sons and I took a trip back east to visit my mom, two of my sisters, and my brother. We were able to visit so many places I had researched for the book, including the Richard Allen Museum in Philadelphia. (See “F is for our Founding Fathers.”) It was Juneteenth, or June 19th on that day. When my family and I walked up to the Richard Allen museum, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer stepped up to us and asked us to share why we chose to visit the museum on that holiday. We told her about the book and she interviewed us for her article. How exciting that was! It’s also hard to describe the feelings I felt as I toured the historic church and museum honoring this great man. Truly, Richard Allen was one of our country’s most influential Founding Fathers. I felt a little closer to the past and understood a lot more about our nation’s history that day.
Q: What letter of the alphabet was the most difficult to write?
A: Usually in an alphabet book it’s the Q or Z, but for me, one of the hardest letters to write was G. I just couldn’t get the poem to say what I wanted it to say and still rhyme with Great Migration. Finally, I was able to rhyme it with “education” and then everything fell into place.
Q: Which alphabet letters were your favorite to work on in this book?
A: There were so many favorites to write! Each time I remember the process, I pick a different favorite. When I wrote J is for Jazz, it was really fun! I listened to CDs of Ella Fitzgerald and even went to a local university to sit in one of their private rooms to watch a really old video of her performing. Her voice lets the listener float on clouds of joy. I also watched clips of Wynton Marsalis and how he told a story about Louis Armstrong. As a young man, Louis Armstrong played his trumpet for a jazz band on a steamboat trudging up and down the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Wynton Marsalis said said something like, “Just imagine if you were standing on the riverbank at night and heard the melodies of a beautiful trumpet come floating across the water to where you stood as the steamboat floated by.” It was this image that sparked the last line of the poem in J is for Jazz: “There’s a new song in the air!”
Nancy is the children’s author of over 80 books including her forthcoming book, Frederick Douglass for Kids. To learn more about the children’s books Nancy has written about African American history, visit her site Bookzone at: http://nancysbookzone.wordpress.com/african-american-history
Nancy, thank you for stopping by to celebrate Black History Month! It is always a delight to catch up with you and to get a glimpse into your illustrious writing career. Thank you!
Also, don't forget to stop by http://thegoldenpathway.blogspot.com/2012/01/golden-pathway-celebrates-black-history_30.html and enter at your chance to win a $25 Starbucks gift card.
Thank you for visiting!
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.