Friday, November 15, 2013

Children's Author and Actress Julianne Moore

I am lucky and grateful that every Friday a children's literature advocate drops by Watch.Connect. Read. to celebrate books and finish my sentences. This week I am having a please pinch-me moment. Why? Because award-winning actress and bestselling picture book author Julianne Moore finished my sentences. We "chatted" about her picture books, reading, writing, and libraries. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Julianne! 


I was inspired to write My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not to Me by my mother, Anne Love Smith. My mother emigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1950, when she was ten years old. I was born when she was only twenty, so she still had very strong attachments to Scotland, and her culture. This is a book for everyone who has grown up with a parent from another culture - I write about all of the things that seem embarrassing or funny to a kid, and the things that are that are so very special and unique. And I think that for all of us who grew up with a mom or a dad from somewhere other than where we were raised knows the dichotomy of a parent that seems “foreign” to the everybody else, but is the most familiar person in the world to you.



The first time I saw Meilo So’s illustrations I was struck by how real her people seemed. I wanted the moms and the kids to look like people I could see at my kids’ school. I loved the mom’s bodies, and how expressive their faces were. They seemed alive to me. And it was only after I chose her that I found out that Meilo herself is a foreign mom - in Scotland of all places! So we had something very important in common.



Freckleface Strawberry: Monster Maker is my first app. It is based on the character of Freckleface Strawberry, from my series of books and is available for free on iPad. My daughter Liv is the voice of Freckleface Strawberry! The game is fun, it allows kids to create their own monster and take a picture of themselves with it and email it to their friends and family. I am currently developing a second app that will be called Freckleface Strawberry Dreamtime Playtime. It will be available in November.


Image credit: Save the Children

I am the Artist Ambassador for Save the Children US programs. US Programs focuses on literacy, nutrition and exercise, and early education for underserved communities in the United States. One in four kids in the United States lives in poverty, and doesn’t have access to the education that we all deserve.


School libraries are the best. I grew up spending most of my time in them. I really depended on librarians to guide me, and I am forever in their debt. And they let me hang around all day too, and check out as many as ten books at a time!


Reading is the way I understood the world when I was growing up. I moved a lot, and my constant companions were books. My interest in acting was really fostered by reading - I just wanted to feel like I was actually inside a book, and acting was the closest I could get to it!


Picture books are fantastic. They are a gateway to reading when kids are really small, and they are reassuring and reaffirming when kids are older. I feel so lucky to be able to participate in a world that is so important to kids and their development.


Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about one of the first books I read. I have never forgotten it, it was called Ann Likes Red.



My mother bought it for me at the supermarket, and it was my favorite - all about a little girl who goes school shopping with her mom and only will buy red clothes. It turns out that I was not the only kid who loved that book, it was out of print and brought back by popular demand. I discovered not so long ago that it was written by a 1st grade teacher (Dorothy Z. Seymour) as a reading primer! I love that the book I remember the most was written by a teacher.



I am giving away a copy of My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not to Me

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 11/15 to 11:59 p.m. on 11/17.

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 





(By the way, it was difficult not to gush about how much I love her movies.) 

2 comments:

  1. What a great idea for interviews!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This must have been such a surreal moment for you, Mr. Schu! Sorry I'm just gushing about it now, but I have been consumed with my 1st graders and MLS classes. What a wonderful experience for you! :) Sandra Delgado, @ Sadcampanita025

    ReplyDelete