July 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm (Interviews) (artist, Author, birding, birds, collage artist, education, illustrator, Interview, kids, kids books, Marit Menzin, picture books, Song for Papa Crow, story time)
Along with the story time kids, I had the opportunity to interview the author of Song for Papa Crow, Marit Menzin.
First, questions from the kids:
“What made you want to write a book like this one, about crows and singing?” – Justin, age 9
I love animals and nature, and I’m childlike in the sense that I always keep asking questions. I live in Lexington, Massachusetts where I see most of the birds featured in Song for Papa Crow in my backyard. The idea for my book came to me when I helped one of my children with a school project on birds. When I discovered that father crows take care of their offspring longer than most other birds, and that the whole flock would come to help a wounded crow, I asked myself: What would happen if a little crow was teased by songbirds for his unique song? And, what if in his quest to make friends he learned the other birds’ songs, but when he was in danger his father wouldn’t recognize his song? This idea is not farfetched, as I learned to my surprise that crows can mimic sounds made by animals and other birds, as well as sounds made by humans.
When I wrote my story I wasn’t thinking about morals, but there are many morals that I subconsciously conveyed: Every child is special, and every child has unique gifts. Be proud of your family, and with who you are. It’s a good idea to tell your parents where you’re going, and whom you’re hanging out with so they’ll know where to find you. Your family loves you no matter what. Your family is the most important thing.
“My question is about Papa Crow. Will he always save Little Crow? That’s my question.” – Ayla, age 3
Yes. Papa Crow will ALWAYS save Little Crow when he hears his voice. For Papa Crow, Little Crow’s voice is the sweetest thing in the world.
“Exactly why did you make the singing scenes? And who did you write the story for?” – Ian, age 7
I made the singing scenes because the birds I see and listen to in my backyard inspired me. I also thought that it would be fun to research bird songs and rituals.
Although Song for Papa Crow is a fiction picture book, the story line is based on true facts. The mockingbird is a great singer who can imitate the sounds of other birds, and is also one of the few birds that can be heard singing at night.
Questions from Anaklian Whims Blog:
What led you to Schiffer Books? (www.schifferbooks.com)
What inspired your collage art? It’s a very unique way to illustrate.
I doodled and painted since my early childhood, and I experimented with different art media including oils, and pastels. But I only started developing my collage technique when I took classes with the Caldecott award-winning illustrator Ilse Plume at the deCordova Museum.
I see that you are a freelance collage artist. You do book covers for hire? What sort of cost would an indie author be looking at?
I designed the cover for my book. In general, a cover price can range anywhere from $150 to $4000 but an Indie Author could pay $250-$1000 depending on what she’s looking for and how much work is involved.
Do you have more kids’ books of your own in your future?
I’m currently working on the illustrations for a new book.
I see you do school visits. What would it take to get you to Texas?
I would love to visit Texas. You’ll have to add travel & lodging expenses to visit cost. For more about this author/illustrator, visit: http://maritmenzin.com/