"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, October 24, 2016

Blog Tour (Guest Post and Giveaway): HAPPY MAMAS by Kathleen T. Pelley (C)

Welcome to the HAPPY MAMAS Blog Tour... 
"A perfect ode to motherhood!"

Hosted by TheChildrensBookReview.com
by Kathleen T. Pelley
Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper 
Release date: October 10th, 2016
Published by CWLA Press 
Genre: Children ages 3 - 6
Format: Hardcover


A lyrical read aloud that pays tribute to mothering in the animal and human kingdoms. 
Charming illustrations depict activities that bring joy to a mama and her baby over the course of a day: feeding her little ones bundles of bamboo shoots; teaching her calf hot to trumpet a loud jungle cheer; playing peek-a-boo; watching her little ones fly from the nest; singing a serenade to the man in the moon; or crooning owly lullabies through the deep dark woods. But as the moon glows and the stars shine, what is it that makes all mamas - from desert jungle, from forest to field, from land to sea - happiest by far? 

Mamas and babies everywhere will delight in this happy romp - a perfect ode to motherhood.

Perfect for one on one sharing or for use in the classroom. 

Importance of having a Spanish version of Happy Mamas

We Celts love our circles – long ago we worshiped the moon and the sun, we sat in a circle to tell our stories, and when St. Patrick brought us Christianity, he took our beloved circle and placed it around the Christian cross, giving us the Celtic cross.   Most stories are circular too in their structure – that last page will often circle back to some character, scene, or concept from the first page, and reveal some shift or change that has taken place.  And of course, just as circles are seen as ways of connecting, so too are stories: stories connect us to other cultures, to other places, to other people and even to our ancestors and descendants.  That is why they are such an effective way of teaching children compassion and empathy: stories allow children to see the world through another’s eyes, to touch it with another’s skin, or to feel it with another’s heart.

But before children can relate to other cultures, they need to develop a strong connection to their own, which means they need to see themselves reflected in the stories that are read to them.  In this way, they can develop a strong sense of pride and honor about their heritage, language, and traditions.  From my own experience of growing up within a Scots/Irish culture (I was born and raised in Scotland, but spent most of my summers on my grandparents’ farm in Ireland) that was often undermined by the overall dominant English influence, I can totally relate to this need for honoring one’s own language and traditions.  Back in those days, the only kind of accent heard on radio or television, was the “Queen’s English.”  Scottish or Irish accents were branded as uneducated or inferior, and it was not until fairly recently, that the trend came full circle and now these regional accents are much more in vogue.

 Later, when I came to America, I experienced a certain loss of my cultural identity that is common amongst many immigrants.   I craved time with other Scots/Irish people – our accent and dialect, our traditions and common cultural roots gave us an immediate and lasting bond.  When I visit children in schools, they love to learn about the differences between Scots English and American English, and delight in some of our lovely Scottish sayings such as, “Lang may Yer Lum reek” or “the best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglae.”   I like to show children how our language is so tightly connected to our identity and how this explains the need for a new American dictionary that came into existence after the American Revolution.

Of course, some may argue the danger of immigrants who maintain strong ties to their native land, is that they will never totally assimilate into their host country.  However, I think the opposite is true: when children have a strong bond to their native land, it can help them be more open to learning about the culture where they live and so ultimately strengthens their sense of belonging to two cultures.

As we know, this sense of not belonging is at the root of many or our societal woes, but when I talk to children about writing, I explain that sometimes we can actually use this feeling of not belonging to help our writing.  William Trevor, the Irish novelist, who was one of those rare breeds – a Protestant living in the south of Ireland (predominantly Catholic), attributed his literary success to his experience of always being “other” and not belonging.   As I tell children, when you come from another land, it is easy for you to observe things that the native people cannot see, and so it helps you to become a better writer.

In recent years there has been much discussion in the publishing world about the need for diverse books.  Rudine Sims Bishop noted, “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.”

Again, from my own experience of over twenty years of reading picture books to children – Kindergarten – 8th grade at an inner city school serving the Hispanic community, I witnessed this phenomenon first hand.  Over and over again, when I managed to find a wonderful picture book, featuring Spanish speaking characters or depicting some aspect of life in Spanish speaking countries, I could see the children literally sitting up in their seats, saucer eyed and mouths agape. Their excitement at connecting to these characters was palpable.  The perennial favorite for all grades from 1st -8th was The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart and David Small, featuring a little Mexican immigrant girl in the 1950’s.

No wonder then, when I heard my Happy Mamas was also going to be a Mamis Felices, I was a very Happy Author!

Picture books are meant to be read aloud – they should be a veritable auditory feast filled with fresh, juicy, alliterative words, onomatopoeia, and rhythmic, playful language – all the better to enchant young readers into an early love of literature.  The first sound a child hears in the womb is the beat of the mother’s heart and so naturally we humans feel soothed and lulled by rhythmic patterns be it the pitter patter of rain, the click clack of knitting needles, the tick, tock of a clock, or the lovely lilt of a tale well told. 

 I fell in love with stories before I could read or write, by listening to them – on the radio, around the peat fire in my grandparents’ farmhouse, and later on, when we finally acquired a television in our house, from the voice of Roald Dahl himself reading aloud Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – yes, really!  When I write a story or read it aloud, I want to bask in the beauty of words and the wonder of language.

So, imagine my delight, when we found our talented translator, Gloria Garcia Diaz, an immigrant from Mexico, and translator of acclaimed author, Laura Resau’s book Star in the Forest.  Now, I have to admit, I can speak only a small smattering of Spanish, but like most Scots educated people, I did study French, German, and Latin all the way through high school, and even continued with my Latin through university.  All of that to say, I know enough about the translating process to understand that a good translation, especially of a children’s picture book, requires a translator who is willing to breathe her own life and love into the text, and thus retain the rhythmic, playful language that makes it a joy to read aloud for any parent.  Gloria’s labor of love now means that Mamis Felices will have a wider circle of children and parents who can enjoy this book and celebrate a Mama’s love.

Newbery Award winning author, Katherine Paterson, maintains that in every children’s book there should be “the wonder of language and the wonder behind and beyond the story that ties us to the mystery of the meaning of our lives and all of creation.”

And that is the magic of literature – it links us together, like letters in a word, or words in story no matter our race, culture, religion, age, or language.

Gracias, Gloria for our Mamis Felices!

·        Lang may yer lum reek – old Scottish blessing for newly married couple, meaning long may your chimney smoke – may you always have enough money to put wood in your fire!

·        The best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft aglae”  the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry- from Rabbi Burns, Scottish Bard, To a Mouse.

Rudine Sims Bishop’s article, 1980 “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” http://weneeddiversebooks.org/mission-statement/


- Enter to win an autographed 6 picture book prize pack from acclaimed author Kathleen Pelley. The prize pack includes finger puppets, adorable stuffed animals, and HAPPY MAMAS.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Value: $150.00+
Three (3) runner-up prize winners receive:
  • A copy of Happy Mamas autographed by Kathleen Pelley
Value: $14.95

- Giveaway begins October 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 10, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST. Open to US and Canadian addresses only. (Prizes and samples provided by Kathleen Pelley.)

(Bumbles and Fairy-Tales will not be held responsible for any lost, unclaimed, damaged, etc. prize(s).)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Kathleen T. Pelley

Kathleen Pelley was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but spent most of her childhood summers playing on her grandparents' farm in Ireland. Her passion for stories stemmed from listening to them on the raiio during the BBC children's story hour. Later, her gentle Irish father fanned the flame even more by feeding her his tales of fairies, leprechauns, and banshees. 

So much did Kathleen love stories, that off she went to Edinburgh University and earned a degree in HISTORY. She didn't much care for all the facts and dates and numbers, but how she loved the stories of Rasputin, Napoleon, and Bonnie Prince Charlie! One character in particular captured Kathleen's imagination - Florence Nightingale. After completing her degree, Kathleen studied to become a children's nurse, but it was brief and disastrous dalliance. For much as Kathleen loved children, she did not like to see them sick and suffering. However, decades later, Kathleen now sees herself as a kind of a nurse, because she believes that stories can heal the hurts in our hearts. 

As a former elementary teacher, Kathleen enjoys sharing her passion with people of all ages. She has been a regular speaker at Regis University on "Nurturing a Passion for Stories," makes frequent presentations at schools and conferences, and has been telling stories at an inner city elementary school for the past 20 years. She believes that one of the best ways to teach our children empathy is through stories that help them "walk a mile in another man's moccasins." When she's not reading, writing, telling, or listening to stories, Kathleen enjoys knitting, Scottish music, and hiking with her husband and two Golden Retriever dogs along the trails of sunny Colorado. 

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