Time to celebrate!
Michelle Schaub’s latest book, KINDNESS IS A KITE STRING: The Uplifting Power of Empathy, releases April 1st, Illustrated by Claire LaForte (Cardinal Rule Press ) AND today is her actual BIRTHDAY!
We have some questions for her.
But first, let’s check out her book:
How can YOU lift others with kindness?
KINDNESS IS A KITE STRING is full of metaphors and similes (Great #writing mentor text, teachers!) as well as ways to spread kindness and brighten the lives of others.
The best book for positively teaching kindness.
Q 1. I love the use of metaphors and similes in this book, Michelle. If KINDNESS IS A KITE STRING, what might your #kidlit journey be like?
Michelle Schaub: My kidlit journey would be a squiggly, wiggly line with lots of twists, turns, and tangles as it charts its course. I use this metaphor when I talk about effort, persistence, and success during school visits and pair it with this image:
To elaborate on my squiggly-line metaphor: I first set the goal to be a children’s author over twenty-five years ago. But I was teaching full time, which made it challenging to find time to write. Then I had three children, which made it even harder to find time to write. During those years, I focused on reading as many picture books as I could and studying my craft. I wrote and submitted picture book stories here and there, but they were all rejected. Then I started writing nonfiction articles for magazines and realized I had a flair for making facts kid friendly. (The teacher in me.) I published some articles in Highlights, Appleseeds, and other kids’ magazines. Then I took a class with children’s poet Heidi Roemer and discovered my love for poetry. I sold some poems to Ladybug and Highlights’ High Five and started sending poems to children’s anthologies. Some were rejected, but others made it into actual books! This gave me the confidence to start writing my own poetry picture books. After twenty-five years of rejection, redirection, and persistence, I sold my first book, FRESH PICKED POETRY: A DAY AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET to Charlesbridge in 2014.
Michelle Schaub: So back to the line metaphor. Some people have that misconception that setting a goal and working hard creates a smooth path to success. But particularly when it comes to children’s book writing, setback and rejections are inevitable. You have to wrangle with snags and persist on your path to publication.
Q 2. What was the inspiration for KINDNESS IS A KITE STRING?
Michelle Schaub: A commercial for life insurance. No, seriously. I was watching television one day and this Liberty Mutual advertisement came on that totally teared me up. It’s set in a city and starts with one lady stopping a man from crossing a busy street in front of a car. That man goes on to help a mom carry her stroller off the bus. The mom goes on to help someone else, and the kind acts continue to have a ripple effect until they circle back to the first lady. I was intrigued by this pay-it-forward, kindness chain and decided to try and capture that spirit in a children’s book.
Q 3. What do you hope young readers will take away?
Michelle Schaub: KINDNESS IS A KITE STRING describes kindness through experiences children will find familiar, using similes and metaphors. The story guides the reader through a journey of the power of empathy and explains how kindness spreads happiness like sunshine; ultimately connecting diverse groups of people and the community at large. During this challenging year, I wanted to share how the simplest act of kindness can change lives and connect others, no matter how different you may feel. My hope is to inspire children to lift others with kindness. It’s something we can control right now that can make a huge difference in our daily lives and the lives of others. Cardinal Rule Press designed an amazing Readers’ Guide to accompany the book that includes great ideas and downloadable resources, like a kindness journal, to give kids more tools for spreading kindness.
Important: Save the date! Michelle’s official launch of KINDNESS IS A KITE STRING will be a Virtual Story-time at Anderson’s Bookshop on April 1st. (No Joke.)Details here.
Q 4. I read that Marilyn Singer is one of your poetry heroes. Any other writing mentors?
Michelle Schaub: There are so many children’s poets I admire. At the top of my long list of writers who are doing some creative, inspiring things through children’s poetry are Irene Latham and Charles Waters (who often work as a team,) Nikki Grimes, Laura Purdie Salas, and Liz Steinglass. I encourage everyone to check out their work.
Q 5. Tell us about Poetry Boost–and the poems you’ve collected for Poetry Month.
Michelle Schaub: Poetry Boost is my blog where I share poetry lessons, graphic organizers, and mentor texts. From my own experience as a teacher, I believe strongly in the power of poetry to boost content knowledge, vocabulary, literacy, and social-emotional learning. There are so many amazing poetry picture books out there on a vast array of topics. It’s really an underappreciated genre. I created Poetry Boost to give parents and teachers fun and easy tools for sharing poetry, while also expanding the audience for poetry picture books.
On POETRY BOOST during the month of April, I’m hosting POEM SHARE FOR POETRY MONTH. I’ve invited children’s poets from around the country to share videos of themselves reading their poems. Each day, I’ll post a new video. From a pantoum about goblin sharks to a two-voice poem about avoiding a book report (written by YOU, Erin Dealey,) I’ve got a delightful round up of poems. I invite everyone to head over to http://www.poetryboost.com/ throughout April for a daily dose of poetry.
Michelle Schaub is an award-winning children’s author and teacher. DREAM BIG LITTLE SCIENTISTS, a rhyming bedtime book with a clever #STEM twist, reminds us that oceans, mountains and forests sleep too, and while daytime wildlife settles down, others awake.
She is also the author of Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections and her poems have appeared in And the Crowd Goes Wild, A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, and The Poetry Anthology for Celebrations.
Huge thanks for joining us on the blog today, Michelle–
and Happy almost Book Birthday!
To learn more about Michelle, check out MichelleSchaub.com & follow her on