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Monday, November 7, 2016

BLOG TOUR: Happy Mamas by Kathleen T Pelley - INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're joining the fab team at The Children's Book Review for a blog tour celebrating that wonderful matriarch of the family, dear old MOM.  She's the one person who can correct you in one breath and kiss away all your fears in the next...and you still love her just the same, as she does you.  The title in today's spotlight brings into focus Mom's of the animal kingdom and how the bonds they form with their young are just as special, precious, and important.  Ready or not, let's check out today's book of choice...

Kathleen T. Pelley
Illustrated by
Ruth E. Harper
CWLA Press

About the book...
Happy Mamas is a lyrical read aloud that pays tribute to the universal joys of mothering in the animal and human kingdoms. Charming illustrations depict all the activities that bring joy to a mama and her baby over the course of a day: feeding her cubs bundles of bamboo shoots; teaching her calf how to trumpet a loud jungle cheer; playing peek-a- boo; watching her chicks fly from the nest; singing a serenade to the man in the moon; or crooning owly lullabies through the deep, dark woods. But as the moon glows and the stars shine, what is it that makes all mamas from desert to jungle, from forest to field, from land to sea happiest by far? Mamas and babies everywhere will delight in this happy romp a perfect ode to motherhood.


Image result for smiley hearts emoji

Isn't that the most adorable cover?!
I admit, when I was reading about it, I couldn't stop smiling, and the was without even seeing the rest of the book!  This time around though, I'm not diving between the pages personally, as I opted to mine the mind of the writer behind the work.  Sound good?  Great!  Let's DO this!

Ladies and gents, please join me in welcoming author Kathleen T Pelley!


INTERVIEW:  Author Kathleen T. Pelley

1)  'Happy Mamas' sounds like a touching tribute to mothers around the world, and a big nod to all that they do!  Tell me, of the MANY lessons mothers teach their children (animal or otherwise), what do you think is one of the most important?

Image result for african colorsThis touching African proverb answers your question perfectly, I think.

“What we teach a child to love is more important than what we teach a child to learn.” 

Most teachers and parents can attest to this nugget of wisdom as it pertains to literature – when we teach our little ones to love words and stories and nursery rhymes from an early age, seldom will they encounter any problems later on with the mechanics of reading!  And of course, not only does it relate to literature, but to all aspects of our lives.  We want our children to lead good lives and so we need to teach them to love - GOODNESS.  

2)  There are so many adorable animal parents and kids featured in this Picture Book; it's hard to pick a favorite, but that's exactly what I'm going to ask you to do.  Which of the furry, feathered, or otherwise featured parents stuck with you the most and why?

Yes, you are right – that is hard to do, but probably my favorite animals are the wolves howling (singing) their heats out with all their might as the man in the moon looks down on them.  I just think our illustrator, Ruth, has done a marvelous job of capturing the earnestness of these wolves – in their element and doing what they were born to do – which of course, is the definition of happiness.

Image result for bamboo3)  I have to ask, how did you and the illustrator determine what "happy mama" would grace the cover of this book?

Great question.  It was quite a process.  At first, I think Ruth and the art director wanted the cover to depict a human mama alongside two other animal mamas, so that readers would know the book was about all kinds of mamas and not just animal mamas.  But it soon became apparent, that it was going to be hard for any human mama to compete with Ruth’s adorable animal mamas.  For a while, we toyed with the idea of having the trio of nighttime Mamas and their babies grace the cover, but finally rejected that as we felt it really “gave away” the climax of the book, and so in the end our Mama Panda won out.  However, I do think we have ended up with the perfect cover, not just because of its “cuteness factor,” but because this endearing picture of a Happy Mama panda feeding her little one is a perfect embodiment of motherhood.  The first act of mothering is – to feed our babies, be it bamboo sticks or bottles of milk.  And at the same time as we are feeding their bodies, we are also feeding their hearts and souls with – our love. If you look at the faces of the Mama panda and her baby on the cover, I think you will agree that Ruth has managed to capture perfectly that moment of Mama and Baby falling in love.

4)  This is your sixth contribution to the Picture Book genre, congratulations!  Question though, WHY choose this particular category?  What about it spoke to you the most?

Thank you.  Well, I think it goes back to our African proverb – from a very early age, I was taught to love the sound of stories – I listened to them on the radio during the BBC children’s story hour, I listened to my uncles and aunts telling stories around the peat fire in my grandparents’ farmhouse in Ireland, and I listened to my dad feeding me his stories of fairies and leprechauns, and so I fell in love with the music of our language and with the way words can paint pictures in your mind – no wonder then, that I want to write in the picture book genre!

5)  Of the works you've created thus far, which has been your favorite and why?

Well, that is a bit like asking a mother which is her favorite child and why!!!  I love all of my books, but for different reasons.

The Giant King – because it was my first book and because it is a book about kindness – on its third printing and used a lot as anti-bullying in schools

Inventor McGregor – out of print now – but was the most fun to write about creativity and inspiration

Raj the Bookstore Tiger – because it is about the power of reading aloud!

Image result for the giant king, pelley
Image result for inventor mcgregorImage result for Raj the Bookstore Tiger

Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer, because it was inspired by my husband who LOVES to measure!

The Sandal Artist, because it is about an artist and I grew up with a brother who was an artist and it is about walking a mile in another mans’ moccasins, which is really what all good stories help children to do.

Image result for Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer  Image result for The Sandal Artist

Image result for happy mamas, pelleyAnd finally, Happy Mamas – I love this book because: 
It was inspired by the mother daughter book club that I hosted at my house for many years.
Our illustrator, Ruth E. Harper, illustrator of the #1 NY Times bestseller, The Kissing Hand, did such a fabulous job depicting all those mamas and their babies.
Its truth -happiness is about loving and creating, is one that really resonated with me.
Its publisher, CWLA (Child Welfare League of America) does so much to bring happiness to all those Mamas and babies who are vulnerable and at risk. 

Girls on a Log, Makumbi Orphans6)  Outside of writing, I see you're also involved in charity, raising funds for the Makumbi Children’s Home in Zimbabwe, Africa.  Tell me, how did that connection comes about?   How did you choose to become involved in this particular cause?

One of my brothers has lived and worked in Zimbabwe for 40 years – he worked for many years with refugees and also was director of the School of Social Work there.  Some time ago, when our girls were in elementary school, we took them to visit Zimbabwe.   We went on the usual tourist sightseeing trips to Victoria Falls and the Safari Adventure, but we also took them to some remote villages and to visit this children’s home for AIDS orphans, run by one of my brother’s colleagues.  The home is called Makumbi – which translates from native Shona language to – Wealth of our Nation, and it caters to around 90 children who have been orphaned because of the effects of AIDS.  Upon our return, our daughters asked us what we could do to help and so we began to collect some funds each year and send to Makumbi.  When my first book, The Giant King, was published in 2003, we sent some of those proceeds to Makumbi, and then some years ago, we joined forces with another family in California who raise a tremendous amount of funds for Makumbi through their annual Run

7) A little quid pro quo for our readers.  I'll ask you favorite of various things, you tell us the first thing that pops into your head.  Ready?  Set?  GO!  Favorite...

Image result for vegetarian pasta...color?  Blue or maybe green depending on my mood

...season?  Summer – but beginning of...  Pasta – al dente – but has to be vegetarian of the week? Friday to read?  Lying on my bed with my two dogs on either side of me to write?  Kitchen table with sunlight pouring in (since I live in Colorado that happens almost every day) and dogs at my feet  Now that is way too hard!!!!  I cannot possibly pick just one….The Kite Runner, Angela’s Ashes, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, A Fine Balance, Behind the Beautiful Forevers….okay, okay I will stop….  Again – you have to be kidding!  Cannot possibly pick just one!
Tolstoy, Dickens, E.B. White, William Steig, Elizabeth Strout, Thomas Hardy…..okay, okay, enough

Image result for vincent van gogh8)  Any final words of advice for future writers in our reading audience?

Vincent Van Gogh’s quote – “The best way to know God is to love many things.”  The best way to write is to love many things – you will then never run out of things to write about and in the process you will be a happier person!


About the author...

Kathleen Pelley was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but spent most of her childhood summers playing on her grandparents’ farm in Ireland. Her passion for stories stemmed from listening to them on the radio during the BBC children’s story hour. Later, her gentle Irish father fanned the flame even more by feeding her his tales of fairies, leprechauns, and banshees.

So much did Kathleen love stories, that off she went to Edinburgh University and earned a degree in HISTORY. She didn’t much care for all the facts and dates and numbers, but how she loved the stories of Rasputin, Napoleon, and Bonnie Prince Charlie! One character in particular captured Kathleen’s imagination—Florence Nightingale. After completing her degree, Kathleen studied to become a children’s nurse, but it was a brief and disastrous dalliance. For much as Kathleen loved children, she did not like to see them sick and suffering. However, decades later, Kathleen now sees herself as a kind of a nurse, because she believes that stories can heal the hurts in our hearts.

As a former elementary teacher, Kathleen enjoys sharing her passion with people of all ages. She has been a regular speaker at Regis University on “Nurturing a Passion for Stories,” makes frequent presentations at schools and conferences, and has been telling stories at an inner city elementary school for the past 20 years. She believes that one of the best ways to teach our children empathy is through stories that help them “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins.” When she’s not reading, writing, telling, or listening to stories, Kathleen enjoys knitting, Scottish music, and hiking with her husband and two Golden Retriever dogs along the trails of sunny Colorado.

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About the illustrator...

Ruth is a self-taught English artist who fancies herself as a spiffy writer-in-the-making. She is the illustrator of #1 classic The Kissing Hand and Sassafras, and Happy Mamas is her 3rd book for CWLA. Powered by dark chocolate, she heartily knits stories together with letters, pencils and paintbrushes. She is often snatched up by breezes and colors and pint-sized things like rocks, leaves, shells, bugs, feathers, and creatures. You may also find her gardening, hiking, wildly dancing, and riding her bike really fast in an odd looking helmet. She now breathes easy in Iowa with an adorable husband, a dog, two cats, and six marvelous kids between them (with handfuls of grandbabies!).


Now that you've read all about it and touched base with the author, how's about a CHANCE TO WIN?  Sound good?  I thought is might.  Keep reading my friends, keep reading...


Enter to win an autographed 6 picture book prize pack from acclaimed author Kathleen Pelley. The prize pack includes finger puppets, adorable stuffed animals, and Happy Mamas (illustrated by Ruth E. Harper, illustrator of the NY Times best seller The Kissing Hand).

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Value: $150.00+

Three (3) runner-up prize winners receive:
  • A copy of Happy Mamas autographed by Kathleen Pelley
Value: $14.95

Giveaway begins October 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 10, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Giveaway open to US and Canadian addresses only.
Prizes and samples provided by Kathleen Pelley.



Special thanks to Bianca at The Children's Book Review for the chance to bring this your to you as well as author Kathleen T. Pelley for taking the time to indulge our curiosity.  (THANKS!)   For more information on this title, the author, the illustrator, this tour, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now via CWLA Press, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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