It’s always a joy to help celebrate the launch of a beautiful new book…and it is DOUBLE the joy when there are two!
TREASURE HUNT, written by Stephanie Wildman and illustrated by Estefania Razo, is the story about twins Flor and Roberto who scamper through their house, hunting for treasures hidden by big brother, Luis. Can these everyday objects really be treasures that offer more fun than video games or TV? Join Flor and Roberto on their search and discover what fun Luis creates with a gigantic cardboard box. Bonus content provides direction for creating your own at-home fun!
I always love to hear the story behind the story – and Stephanie kindly stopped by to share a little bit about herself and the path to publication for this book.
STEPHANIE: My path to publication would not exist but for my teacher, mentor, and happily now friend Maxine Rose Schur. When I became a Professor Emerita and retired from law teaching, I took a class on writing for children from Maxine. I hadn’t thought about picture books at all – I’m a word person. Maxine was the one who suggested that the story that became Brave in the Water (my first book from Lawley Publishing) would work well as a picture book. And Maxine is the one who introduced me to Lawley.
So of course, when I had another book to submit (the story that became Treasure Hunt), I asked Maxine to read it first. That story involved a grandmother and grandchild. Maxine’s advice was “whenever you can take an adult out of a picture book, you should.” And I followed her advice, making the story much more fun with twin siblings and an older brother.
AND THAT IS THE PERFECT SEGUE TO LEAD US RIGHT STRAIGHT TO THE LOVELY MAXINE SCHUR AND HER NEW BOOK!
FINLEY FINDS HIS FORTUNE, written by Maxine Schur and illustrated by Olga Alaimo, is about the three sons of a poor widow who go into the world to seek their fortune. The first two meet with misfortune. But when the third son, Finley, sets out, his intelligence, imagination, and hard work change his poor situation into a life of bounty for himself and his family. In this original folk tale, Maxine Rose Schur weaves a lively story with themes of gratitude, ingenuity, and love. It’s a story to be enjoyed as much for its delightful storytelling as for its wise, heartwarming message.
And we are fortunate that Maxine also stopped by to share a little bit about what inspired her to write this story.
MAXINE: Many years ago I fell in love with a beautiful early 19th century silk mill in England. The Whitechurch Silk Mill sits beside the Test river and is still in use to power the looms to this day! I remember the beautiful sound of the river water rushing over the mill’s paddles and the awe-inspiring sight of the great wheel endlessly churning the water to power the silk looms. So when I tried my hand at creating a classic folk tale with the “magic of three,” I was inspired to include in the story a great water mill to grind grain. Finley’s astonishment at seeing a mill wheel for the first time was really my astonishment. To write the story I researched what a grain miller does and how a mill works. My new knowledge is shown in both the words and pictures in the book. Whenever I write for children, I so enjoy teaching myself something new in the process!
I know everyone is joining me in wishes the Happiest of Book Birthdays to both of these lovely and talented ladies.
If you want to find out a little more about Stephanie and connect with her:
Stephanie Wildman, author of Brave in the Water (2021) (illustrated by Jenni Feidler-Aguilar; translated into Spanish as Valiente en el Agua by Cecilia Populus-Eudave) and Treasure Hunt (illustrated by Estefania Razo; translated into Spanish as Búsqueda del Tesoro by Cecilia Pópulus-Eudave), became a Professor Emerita after serving as the John A. and Elizabeth H. Sutro Chair at Santa Clara Law. She directed the school’s Center for Social Justice and Public Service. Her other books include Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America (with contributions by Armstrong, Davis, & Grillo) (2021); Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Diverse America 3d (with Delgado, Harris, Perea, and Stefancic) (2015); Social Justice: Professionals Communities and Law (with Mahoney and Calmore) (2013); and Women and the Law Stories (with Schneider) (2011). Stephanie is a grandmother, mother, spouse, friend, good listener, and she can sit “criss-cross apple sauce” thanks to her yoga practice.
And if you want to find out a little bit about Maxine and connect with her:
Maxine Rose Schur is an award-winning children’s book author and travel journalist. Her books span the range from picture books to YA and she’s won several awards including the Sydney Taylor Award which she has won twice. Most recently her advanced picture book, Brave with Beauty: A Story of Afghanistan was named Best Picture Book by the Northern California Book Reviewers Association. Maxine was the Baker-Nord Guest Lecturer on Writing for Children in the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and teaches children’s book writing at conferences and colleges nationwide.
Maxine has written children’s fiction and non-fiction for numerous trade publishers and for educational publishers including Houghton-Mifflin, Heinemann, Addison-Wesley, National Geographic Kids. She has also written imaginative children’s content for the BBC television program, Playschool, Tomy Toys and the Children’s Television Workshop.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I’ve been working hard on a couple of R&Rs…one was sent to the editor and we are just waiting to see what she says. The other manuscript is still under reconstruction and I hope to send it to the other editor by the end of the week. I’m also thinking of a few new topics to research for new manuscripts and I’m looking forward to the Building Bountiful Board Books webinar hosted by SCBWI-Israel on November 22…it’s free for all SCBWI members but you need to register to receive the Zoom link. And it will be recorded, so if you aren’t able to watch it live, as long as you are registered, you’ll receive a link to access the replay.