Wise Bear William (Author Interview and Book Giveaway!)
December 19, 2011 in Books with Health Content, Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Wooten Arthur Tags: Book Giveaway Contest, building self-esteem in kids, character education, picture books for preschoolers
I’m so thrilled to host Arthur Wooten with his picture book Wise Bear William: The New Beginning (illustrated by Bud Santora) on my blog today. I am also excited to let you know that Arthur is providing one soft-cover copy to giveaway to a lucky reader–just leave a comment below and either say PICK ME! or let us know about your favorite old toy. Please leave your comment by Christmas Day, December 25 at 8:00 p.m. CST (U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only please). You will be thrilled by this sweet story and beautiful illustrations–read on for a little about the book and author and some Q and A!
Synopsis: In Wise Bear William: A New Beginning, toys long forgotten in an attic discover that children are coming up to rescue them. All wanting to be picked, each toy examines their own self-described shortcomings and turn to one another for comfort and advice. But the most important thing they discover is that as much as you fix things up on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. With an emotional and surprising ending for all the toys, this heartwarming and timeless tale of love and friendship is destined to become a favorite of young and old for years to come.
Author bio: ARTHUR WOOTEN is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Birthday Pie, On Picking Fruit and Fruit Cocktail, as well as the short story, “A Stroke Of Luck.” Also a playwright, his works include the award winning Birthday Pie, which had its world premiere at the Waterfront Playhouse, Key West, FL. His one act plays, Lily and The Lunch, have been produced Off-Off Broadway; and for two years, he has been the humorist for the London based magazine, reFRESH. Arthur grew up in Andover, MA and now resides in New York City.
Margo: Welcome to Read These Books and Use Them. Thank you for providing a giveaway copy of your book, Wise Bear William, A New Beginning. It is such a beautiful picture book that kids of all ages will love. So, tell us, what makes your book different from other books/stories/movies about toys that aren’t wanted any more?
Arthur: Margo, Wise Bear William, although a very short story, tells a larger than life tale of trials and tribulations that we all struggle with on a daily basis and at different times in our lives. It’s a cozy, quaint, and very moving story; but it also addresses the big questions in life like…am I worthy? Am I good enough? What can I do to take control of my current situation and be more…happy? It tackles some big questions with a lot of humor and honesty.
Margo: WOW! It sounds like parents and teachers can get as much out of it as children! (smiles) Before this book, you have a lot of writing experience with award-winning plays and adult novels. What gave you the idea to write a children’s book?Arthur: Actually, Wise Bear William was the very first book that I ever wrote. And that was twenty-one years ago. As soon as I completed the manuscript and Bud Santora had finished the early illustrations, we showed it to some industry people; and it was immediately optioned as an animated feature film. It bounced around out in Hollywood, languishing in a system that is complicated and tricky and eventually it ran out of steam as a movie. In the early to mid-nineties, this type of story was not the flavor of the year.
Then we were approached by another producing team to do William as a children’s television series. But that too struggled to manifest, and Bud and I went on to other projects. But I always wanted William to be realized. I wrote the screenplay, which in turn provided me with all the material that we would need for what will eventually become a series. It’s exciting when people scratch at your door and talk of movies and television, but the moment Bud and I decided to go back to the drawing board and share William in it’s first conceived incarnation, as a book, it was like putting on an old sweater you had forgotten you had. It felt so good. So right.
Margo: I’m glad that you found the perfect fit for Wise Bear William! So, what was your publication experience for Wise Bear William like then?
Arthur: Well, I created Galaxias Productions, which is a company that oversees all of my titles now. So the publication experience was a breeze. But I must confess, as a boss, I’m tough. Tough on me! I become driven, but I try to channel that energy in a positive way, hence, I don’t procrastinate. And although, earlier this year, I had published my novel, Birthday Pie, and republished On Picking Fruit and Fruit Cocktail, Wise Bear William was a trickier publication. Bud and I completely designed the interior and exterior of the book. With a full color illustrated book like this, it’s a very complicated beast to wrestle. It’s one thing to write a good manuscript and create beautiful illustrations, but then we had to master “the computer”. We both learned as quickly as we could and are now completely proud and excited with the end result.
Margo: Yes, it is a wonderful book, and I am so thrilled to have my very own e-copy! This blog is all about how we can USE children’s books with young readers to teach them skills or lessons and to start discussions. What are two or three skills or lessons you can use this book to teach children? How about discussions you can start with them?
Arthur: My thoughts turn to a colleague of mine in London, England, Clayton Littlewood. He read Wise Bear William before it was released and shared these feelings with me: “Wise Bear William is a lovely, magical story, laced with hidden themes of acceptance, beauty coming from within, and age as something to be cherished.” Right there are three beautiful lessons. The story also shows the characters working as a team, trying to help each other out, and raise one another’s spirits when doubts creep in.
Margo: So, teachers and parents could start a discussion with children about what qualities make a good friend even and focus on the INSIDE qualities instead of the OUTSIDE. Also, working as a team is a huge concept for young children who are so ME, ME, ME. So, you can use the characters in this book to help children see how to work as a team. Where is Wise Bear William available for sale?
Arthur: Wise Bear William officially is released December 15, 2011 and is available everywhere online. The preferred site is actually mine, Galaxias Productions’ eStore, powered by Amazon.
The eBook will be available in a couple of weeks, and it can also be ordered from any bookstores.
Margo: Anything else you’d like to share with us about your book or yourself as an author? Any more upcoming projects for children?
Arthur: Well, as I hinted earlier, there will be a total of ten Wise Bear William books. But more immediately, I have a collection of short stories coming out in January and a new novel titled Leftovers, to be released in February. Leftovers is a romantic dramedy. Set in 1955, a divorced and destitute suburban housewife finds self-esteem, financial security, and true love selling…Tupperware! I had a lot of fun writing that novel.
Margo: Tupperware! I love it. Thank you, Arthur, for taking the time out of your busy life to share with us about your beautiful picture book! Readers, don’t forget to leave your comment below–tell us your favorite toy if you want. If you have a question for Arthur, go ahead and leave that, too.
Arthur: Margo, thank you and keep up the great work!