Monday, June 13, 2011
Interview with Children’s Author Nancy Stewart
Hello Nancy. Please tell us about your new book, One Pelican at a Time.
Bella and Britt think it’s so cool living by the beach, and they particularly love the old crooked beak pelican that they’ve known all their lives. (Pelicans live up to forty years, by the way.) But when an oil spill occurs, everyone’s life changes, especially the pelican’s. The girls try to do something. But what?
Where did you get your inspiration for this book? Do you get any ideas from real life experiences?
Bella’s name came from one of my early morning walks. I noticed a heart drawn in the sand, and the name in the heart was Bella. The tide was just beginning to take it away. About a week later, I saw a beautiful African American child playing in the surf with her parents. Britt! And Pelican was not just a wisp of an idea anymore. It was Britt and Bella, and they were coming to life.
On my beach walks, I’ve heard children ask their parents some really great questions about ecology, particularly during the spill, although Tampa Bay was mercifully spared. Many kids are more educated about green issues than their parents. I suppose there’s both good and bad in that statement.
Each of your books teaches us a lesson about saving nature. In One Pelican at a Time, the children are trying to save the pelicans from an oil spill. What will we learn in Bella Saves the Beach?
In Bella, we learn about beach trash and what a horrible problem it is for coastal areas. Bella and Britt see what’s happening to their beautiful beach and spring into action. Again, I wanted it (and the others) to be a kid empowering book, letting children know they can not only help, but lead by example.
What lesson do we learn in Sea Turtle Summer?
Sea Turtle Summer is quite dear to my heart. In coastal areas, there is so much attention given (finally) to the plight of sea turtles, particularly with their nests being disturbed. Knowing that, it seemed natural to put the girls on the case. And again, it was written with kid empowerment in mind. When the girls see an endangered nest, they take matters into their own capable hands. The lesson? Respect marine life. The sea turtles were here before the dinosaurs. It’s human intervention that is causing their populations to decrease, and ironically, it’s human intervention that can save them.
I think everyone should know that Pelican is in Amazon's Hot New Releases and Most Wished For. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Something about the real me…hmmm. A tough one, but here goes. When I was in Kenya with my family, we were up in the Rift Valley at a place called Lake Turkana. I try to run several times a week, and I wanted to run along the shore. I noticed many crocodiles on the shore, sunning themselves. Our friend, a native Kenyan, had flown us up there in his small plane. I asked him about the crocs, and he assured me they were well fed on Nile Perch in the lake and wouldn’t bother me. So I did it, and he was right. They simply slithered into the water as I ran. Would I do it again today? Probably not. But in the moment, with the sun shining and the birds calling…Well, I was in Africa, after all.
That was great. Wow! You were quite daring, if you ask me. Now I know the real you! The daring author who runs alongside crocodiles without a care in the world!