Posts Tagged ‘children’s author’

T.A. Barron Discusses Chinaberry

Monday, March 1st, 2010

T.A. Barron, author of the Merlin Series, shares his thoughts about Chinaberry in this video. We thank him for his kind words. You can purchase T.A. Barron’s Merlin Series on our Shopping Site.

Getting to Know Jim Weiss

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

At a recent conference, I had the privilege of spending some time with storyteller Jim Weiss and his delightful wife and partner, Randy. Chinaberry has been offering Jim’s storytapes for over eighteen years now. If anyone knows the value of storytelling, it’s Jim. He grew up listening to his father tell stories, and the memories of those magical moments never left him. For over 30 years, Jim has been captivating adults and children alike with his own magical storytelling ability. The following is my attempt at recreating our conversation:

Chinaberry: What do you feel are some of the main values of storytelling?

Jim: It’s a wonderful way to learn facts and hard data. Instead of just talking names and dates, tell them the story of Galileo and Beethoven. That gives them something to hang the data on. As they remember the story, they will remember the facts.

Stories are powerful. They carry the value of our culture and what we would like to see in our culture. It’s why someone once said, “Let me write the stories of a nation, and it’s more powerful than passing its laws.”

Telling a story is a great gift the teller gives to the listener. When I read, I am giving you one kind of gift, the sentiments of the author. But when I tell you a story, I am giving you me. It’s a beautiful way to build a bond between people. The walls, which we have all built, fall down. The armor we carry falls off. I have been in schools where 2-1/2-year-olds are wearing more armor than Sir Lancelot due to the horrifying experiences they have endured in their short lives. You can reach people like that through the vehicle of a story. You can reach people at their mental, emotional, and soul levels. Chinaberry readers will know what I mean by that.

Chinaberry: What are the key ingredients in the stories you choose?

Jim: For me, I choose to tell classics and stories from history for several reasons. 1) Some of the most fascinating characters are in these stories. That’s why they have lived for centuries. 2) They give us windows into other eras and other lands. It’s hard to make an enemy out of someone whose stories you know, because you understand that person too well to make them an object.

When Aesop told his stories over 2,000 years ago, he was a slave. The people who owned him thought he was just another object. Through his stories they learned who he was. They then set him free. He earned his freedom through his tales. I look for stories with meanings. I try not to hit anyone over the head with the moral of the stories, but there are always some ethical underpinnings to them. Of course, I look for entertainment value, but also for the meaning. Children are growing up in an age where we need to give them the best of the best.

Chinaberry: What stories are your personal favorites? (more…)

Chinaberry Interviews Author Staton Rabin

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Each of us here at Chinaberry has his/her own personal favorite authors. Staton Rabin is one of my top three. Several years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting her in person at a Starbucks in NYC when she was in the final phase of writing The Curse of the Romanovs. I had intended to ask her some questions that I could share with our customers, but I became so mesmerized listening to her talk about the Romanov story that I didn’t want to break the spell. That’s the kind of storyteller Rabin is – spellbinding! Now that we’ve got our blog up and running, I decided to email her with a few questions. Perhaps not as much fun as chatting with her in Starbucks, but you can’t beat your computer for convenience. I’m very pleased to introduce to you Staton Rabin!

We’re currently carrying two of her books (which she so generously autographed!): Black Powder and The Curse of the Romanovs.

Janet:  When did you first decide to make a living as a writer?  And, as a child, did you ever dream of becoming a writer? If not, what DID you dream of becoming?

Staton: When I was growing up, writing was the family business — my parents and my older brother were all writers. I suppose if I’d come from a family of plumbers, I would have grown up to be a plumber.  But when I was a kid, what I really dreamed of doing someday was becoming a U.S. Senator — or a magician.  I still know a couple of good “tricks,” but I never did run for the Senate.

Janet:  So many of your books revolve around time travel.  If you could travel back in time, where would you go? (more…)

Chinaberry Interviews Award-Winning Author Jane Yolen

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Jane Yolen with her Grandkids - 2002 - Photo from JaneYolen.com

Jane Yolen has long been one of our favorite authors here at Chinaberry. Ann still remembers when she gave away the last 20 copies of Jane’s book Dreamweaver back in 1982. Each of the 20 autographed copies was sent free with orders over $40.00. Many years later, Jane is still autographing books for Chinaberry. Ann and I had the honor of visiting with her as she autographed books for us.

For those of you not familiar with Jane Yolen, she has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the 20th Century, having written more than 200 books for children, young adults, and adults. It’s not every day one gets to spend several hours alone with Jane Yolen, so I decided to seize the moment, grab a steno pad, and ask her if she wouldn’t mind answering a “few” questions. (more…)