Story Monsters Interview Lora Rozler

Hello everyone! I was delighted to be featured in
Story Monsters Literary Magazine this past week.
I’d like to share my interview with you.

♥ Lora


Where did you grow up?
I was born in Israel and moved to Toronto when I was 11 years old. My family had just emigrated from Russia when I was born. I grew up weaved into a mix of cultures which taught me to have an appreciation for differences. But I can honestly say, having lived in Canada most of my life, I feel very much Canadian at heart.

What were some of your favorite authors and books?
I loved (and still enjoy) Shel Silverstein’s color-outside-the-lines style of poems and stories. One of my absolute favourite books by him is The Giving Tree. Also, I’ve always enjoyed fairy tales (but didn’t we all?). Charlotte’s Web, The Babysitter’s Club series and The Outsiders were some of my other favourites when I was growing up.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old. At some point that changed to wanting to become an interior designer, a lawyer, and even a psychologist. I finally opted for my first love and chose a career in teaching.

Tell us about some of the jobs you’ve had before you became a writer.
Some years into my teaching career, I began writing poems and stories for my students. I guess you can say that writing became a calling after I began to see how important storytelling was as an educational tool. But then, I also learned that books added a fun element as well. I’m delighted that I had a built-in audience before I even published my first book!

How did you get started writing?
I wrote quite a bit as a teenager (mostly poetry) but found an audience for my writing in the classroom, writing mainly to support areas of study at school. I eventually discovered a terrific outlet to share my work with others—on my blog (wordsonalimb.com) and associated social media. This allowed me to create a digital library of some of my classroom content. In fact, several years ago, I wrote a poem to teach students about the power of words and their impact. It began to receive positive feedback from students, parents, colleagues, and online subscribers. It soon took a life of its own as an animation and eventually as my first a picture book, Words. This was the breakthrough that marked the beginning of my writing journey.

Why do you write books?
I love taking an idea and molding it to life with words and images. I also love being able to convey important messages through literature. These notions shine through in my book Freshly Baked Pie. It is a simple story, based on a poem that I wrote, that, through effective illustrations and whimsical writing, both gently teaches a lesson and entertains readers.

What do you like best about writing?
I love the creativity and flexibility that writing offers. Anything and everything can exist in our imagination. Real life may have boundaries, but stories, not so much. I revel in seeing a concept, that exists only as a mental sketch, come alive through words and images. I also appreciate the way an author can arrange letters, words, and sentences into a composition that evokes strong emotions—joy, sadness, surprise, wonder or inspiration. I also feel that picture books give me the freedom to take a lyrical form of writing, like poetry, and transform it into a story that can be enjoyed at bedtime. There is something unique about being able to create art from a simple idea.

What do you find the most challenging about writing?
Writing requires commitment, dedication, and most of all, discipline in order to take it beyond a hobby. So I have learned to carve out time from my busy schedule to meet self-imposed deadlines. Sometimes I find that ideas flow through my head faster than I have time to devote to them, and that can be quite frustrating.

What do you think makes a good story?
I think a good story has a redeemable value, something the reader can take away, all the while being entertained. Also, a good story has an element that the reader can relate to, whether it be a character or an event. That connection between literature and real life experiences make the story more meaningful to the reader.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from working with kids,
my students, and my children. Sometimes an idea strikes amid a busy, noisy day. Other times a vision sneaks up in quiet moments of contemplation. My book, Lucky Me, stemmed from a theme we discussed in school. It was around the time of Thanksgiving and we had a great conversation about gratitude and things we felt blessed to have in our lives. This inspired me to write a poem for my class, and eventually I wanted to share this message of gratitude with a wider audience. Regardless of where in the world we each came from, and what stories we each had to tell, we had one thing in common—a sense of gratitude. This element inspired me to incorporate thank you in many languages. Several arduous months later, we published a truly global and memorable, sweet picture book. It was a hop, skip, and a jump from conversation to message-filled pages.



Tell us about your latest book/project.
My most recent title, The Three Witty Goats Gruff is a modern adaptation of the fairy tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff. Once again, the idea came from a simple math lesson about measurement and patterning. My students loved learning math through this story of the three goats! The math unit became my best-selling teacher resource package on a website I love to contribute to, called Teachers Pay Teachers. Once again, I felt compelled to transform this simple lesson into a book that can both teach and entertain kids all over the world. In my remake of the story, I proposed an alternative way for the goats to solve their dilemma—rather than using force to subdue their bully, they use their wit to outmaneuver the greedy old troll. As well, I incorporated a female goat as the heroine of the story as girls are seldom depicted as the hero, and I felt it was time to turn the tables! The book also contains plenty of fun learning opportunities for young children. I am so pleased to have completed and published this title.

What’s next for you?
I am currently working on a compilation book that features many of my poems and short stories that I composed throughout my writing and teaching career. Obviously not all of them can make it into a full picture book! But I wanted to share them in the shorter format just the same. I feel this book will be a landmark piece on a personal and professional level. Sometimes writers can feel vulnerable when they compile an anthology of personal thoughts in words. For me, it is especially the case since I will be sharing work that spans from my early years as a writer to some of my latest poems and short stories. We are currently deciding on the illustrations and book design, but it won’t be long! I am also working on converting my published books into a digital format so parents all over can swipe through my stories on their tablets before bedtime.

Is there anything we didn’t ask that you’d like people to know about you and/or your books?
I want your readers to know that, like many authors, my books are very personal to me, creations that I have nursed from their infancy until they are shared with the world. Readers will find that they can enjoy my stories on many levels: as literal stories, symbolic allegories, educational tools, and of course, bedtime treats.

For more information about Lora Rozler and her books, visit www.lorarozler.com and www.wordsonalimb.com.

Lora’s author page on Amazon.


Thank you Story Monsters for the time in the spotlight!

Check out Story Monsters online Magazine HERE
The place to keep up with the latest news, interviews, and happenings.

♥ Lora

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Words Build. Words Destroy!

Launch-Small


“Words! What power they hold. Once they have rooted in your psyche, it is difficult to escape them. Words can shape the future of a child and destroy the existence of an adult.”

Vashti Quiroz-Vega


Words on a Limb is proud to announce the launch of its first picture-book:

Words Title - Regular
Written and Illustrated by Lora Rozler

Softcover MarketingIn this emotional and Hardcover Marketing
highly visual picture book,
a lonely letter sets off on a journey to find meaning.
As it encounters various letter combinations, it is confronted by two distinct paths and must make an important choice.

Readers of all ages will be captivated by this simple, yet high concept, story that explores universal themes of discovery, relationships and the need to belong, with an underlying message about bullying. Both timeless and original, Words is an evocative tale about how letters become words and words create meaning – meaning which could ultimately build or destroy.

“A compelling story-line, simple yet poignant illustrations, engaging language, a great read-aloud that offers many opportunities for reflection and discussion with children.”

“A heart-warming story with a clever, powerful message about anti-bullying. An absolute must-have
for every parent and educator.”


Available at all major online retailers including:

  barnes_noble_samsung

chapters


For a FREE Parent and Teacher Companion Kit, based on the book, Words

click on the image below

Resource PackPic


Attention all Mini-Artists: Join our Words-Through-Art Sketch Competition

IMG_20150707_180423Get out your sketch pads, sharpen those pencils, it’s time foIMG_20150707_171159r an Art Competition. Words on a Limb would like to invite readers (ages 6-10) to send in their best illustrations, capturing the essence of the picture-book, Words. The winner will receive a hardcover edition of Words and have their work featured on our site, as well as Lora Rozler’s author website.

All entries must be submitted to wordsonalimb@bell.net by August 15, 2015. Please indicate Art Competition in the subject line and specify the artist’s age in the email. The winner will be announced on August 22, 2015. Let the sketching begin!

My Favourites – April 2014

GravatarHello Everyone. Spring is finally here (oh no – I hope I didn’t just jinx it). In honour of our late-comer, here are a few great reads. Thank you to everyone who sent in their suggestions.  Keep them coming.


And Then It’s Spring
by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Published by Roaring Brook Press

Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they’ve had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way.
 


Spring Is HereSpring Is Here
by Will Hillenbrand
P
ublished by Holiday House

Spring is in the air. Mole can smell it. But Bear is still asleep after his long winter nap. How will Mole wake up Bear so they can celebrate together?

 


Continue reading

More of my favourite picture books …

Lora-Mauricio - 0018Here are some more of my favourite picture books.  In fact, you will find them all nestled in my kids’ book cases in their rooms.
Enjoy!


 

Back into Mommy's Tummy
Back into Mommy’s Tummy
Readers pick
by Thierry Robberecht
On her fifth birthday, a little girl has an unusual birthday wish. She wants to go back to being a baby in her mother’s tummy. That way she’d never have to go to bed early, and she’d always be close to her mommy. But when she realizes that babies in tummies can’t go to birthday parties or play with their friends, it suddenly doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Could the real reason for her wish be that there’s a new baby in Mommy’s tummy already?
Playfully exaggerated illustrations convey the child’s complex emotions about a new baby and capture the gentle humor of this fresh take on sibling rivalry.

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as we steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are are, Pete keeps movin’ and groovin’ and singing his song…because it’s all good.

 
 


Bear's Loose ToothBear’s Loose Tooth
by Karma Wilson

Bear and his friends are munching on their lunch when, all of sudden, Bear feels something wiggling and wobbling in his mouth. Oh, no! What can it be? It’s Bear’s first loose tooth!

From a cave in the forest
came a MUNCH, MUNCH, CRUNCH!
as Bear and his friends
all nibbled on their lunch. 

Bear and his friends are munching on their lunch, when all of sudden Bear feels something wiggling and wobbling in his mouth. Oh, no! What can it be? It’s Bear’s first loose tooth!

In the first Bear book in three years, Bear’s friends ease his concerns about his wiggly, wobbly tooth and help him understand losing a baby tooth is perfectly natural. This funny and reassuring story will delight anyone who’s ever had a loose tooth.


Where the Wild Things AreWhere the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him ‘Wild Thing’ and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max’s room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins. But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realises it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all.

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
by Patricia Polacco
There’s nothing worse than a rotten redheaded older brother who can do everything you can do better! Patricia’s brother Richard could run the fastest, climb the highest, and spit the farthest and still smile his extra-rotten, greeny-toothed, weasel-eyed grin. But when little Patricia wishes on a shooting star that she could do something — anything — to show him up, she finds out just what wishes — and rotten redheaded older brothers — can really do. Patricia Polacco’s boldly and exuberantly painted pictures tell a lively and warmhearted tale of comic one-upsmanship and brotherly love.

My Wild Sister and Me
My Wild Sister and Me
by Iris Wewer
Having a wild big sister—who can be a giraffe one day, a giant bear the next, and a racing rabbit the day after that—is just about the very best thing that can happen to little brother.  Iris Wewer’s rollicking illustrations perfectly match this playful story of imagination and adventure!

 
 


The Gruffalo's Child
The Gruffalo’s Child
by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should Ever set foot in the deep dark wood. But one wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s child ignores her father’s warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist …does he? Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are on dazzling form in this captivating sequel to the classic picture book “The Gruffalo”.

 


The Keeping Quilt
The Keeping Quilt
by Patricia Polacco
“We will make a quilt to help us always remember home,” Anna’s mother said. “It will be like heaving the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night.And so it was. From a basket of old clothes, Anna’s babushka, Uncle Vladimir’s shirt, Aunt Havalah’s nightdress and an apron of Aunt Natasha’s become The Keeping Quilt, passed along from mother to daughter for almost a century. For four generations the quilt is a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket that welcomes babies warmly into the world.
In strongly moving pictures that are as heartwarming as they are real, Patricia Polacco tells the story of her own family, and the quilt that remains a symbol of their enduring love and faith.

Penelope and the Humongous Burp
Penelope and the Humongous Burp
by Sheri Radford 
Let’s face it… kids think bodily functions are hilarious. Enter our charming little heroine, Penelope, who literally brings down the house with her boisterous belching.
Summon the doctors! Phone the fire fighters! Call the police! Too thirsty to heed her mother’s warnings, Penelope soon learns the disastrous consequences of gulping a few glass of grape soda too quickly! This first misadventure in the Penelope series will win kids over from the very first page and teach them a thing or two about manners by the last.

Don't Forget to Come Back!
Don’t Forget to Come Back!
by Robie H. Harris

With warmth, empathy, and a healthy dose of hilarity, Robie H. Harris captures the many emotions children feel when parents go out and a babysitter comes in!

Guess what? The babysitter is coming!

That means:

1. Mommy and Daddy are going out
2. the feisty heroine of this book is not going out . . .
3. and she doesn’t like that one bit!

Parents, kids, and babysitters alike will relate to and laugh at this all-too-familiar tale, wisely and wittily penned by an expert in child development and brought wickedly to life with detailed illustrations by a noted New Yorker cartoonist.


Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!
Franny B. Kranny, There’s a Bird in Your Hair!
by Harriet Lerner

Franny B. Kranny’s long, frizzy hair is big trouble. It ties itself in knots on the buttons of her dress and gets stuck in the refrigerator door! But Franny B. Kranny loves her hair. She refuses to cut it and is furious when she has to get a fancy new hairdo for a family reunion. Then a bird decides to make Franny B. Kranny’s hair its home, and suddenly Franny B. Kranny starts to like her new hairdo….

Best-selling author and psychologist Harriet Lerner and her big sister, biologist Susan Goldhor, co-authored the children’s book What’s So Terrible About Swallowing an Apple Seed?. They team up again here with this hilarious and heartfelt story about daring to be different. World-renowned British illustrator Helen Oxenbury brings Franny B. Kranny, her wild hair, and her unique family delightfully to life.

Children’s Choice Award winner for 2002.


Penelope and the Monsters
Penelope and the Monsters
by Sheri Radford
Penelope won’t go to sleep. Never ever not in a million trillion gazillion years. Her father doesn’t believe her, but Penelope knows there are monsters lurking in the dark. How else can she explain the dancing drawers, creeeeaking closet, and bounce-bouncing bed? Will Penelope have the confidence to turn on the lights and call out the things that go bump in the night?
Our spunky heroine takes on gnomes and trolls and giants with the same comic flair that brought down the house in Penelope and the Humongous Burp.

Do Not Open

Do Not Open
Miss moody lived at land’s end with Captain Kidd. Captain Kidd wasn’t the famous pirate; he was a cat. One morning after a storm, Miss Moody found him washed up on the beach. He was nearly drowned. She nursed him until he was well, and he repaid her kindness by keeping her cottage free of mice.

  
 
 
 


John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat (Picture Puffin)
John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat
Rose lived with her dog, John Brown. `Just the two of us,’ said Rose, until the mysterious midnight cat came along, and things began to change.

Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

something-from-nothingSomething from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Published by Scholastic Press

When Joseph was a baby, his grandfather made him a shimmering blue blanket adorned with the moon and stars. As the boy grows and the blanket wears out, the old tailor recycles it, in succession fashioning a jacket, a vest, a tie and, finally, a cloth-covered button. But when Joseph loses the button, even his grandfather cannot make something from nothing. With its judicious repetition and internal rhymes, this thoughtfully presented Jewish folktale will captivate readers right through the ending, in which the boy discovers one last incarnation for his beloved keepsake.

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

knuffle2bbunnyKnuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Published by Walker & Company

Despite their good intentions, sometimes Dad’s don’t always do things right. Little Trixie finds this out the hard way when she accompanies her Dad to the Laundromat. Without knowing it, he throws her favorite stuffed bunny in the washing machine. Her baby talk doesn’t mean a whole lot to her Dad, but when they get home a perceptive mother is able to tell what is wrong instantly. With wonderfully odd illustrations this humorous book is bound to get laughs from both children and adults.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

7732750The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak
Published by Tanglewood Press

Audrey Penn is the author of this truly one of a kind story. When little Chester, a young raccoon, is scared to leave his mother and go to school, she gives him something that makes everything alright. She kisses his palm and tells him that the kiss will help make school as warm and nice of a place to be as home is. When Chester begins to feel lonely or scared, he presses his hand to his chest and feels the warmth of his mother’s kiss in his heart. This is one sentimental and heartwarming story that will help even the youngest child deal with changes they have to go through.