Ralph Tells a Story is an adorable new book written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon. Here is a short synopsis, my interview with Abby, and a writing tip from the author!
“Nothing ever happens to Ralph. So every day when it’s time to write stories, Ralph thinks really hard. He stares at his paper. He stares at the ceiling. But he has no stories! With the help of his classmates, Ralph realizes that a great story can be about something very little . . . and that maybe he really does have some stories to tell. Debut author/illustrator Abby Hanlon’s endearing text and charming watercolor and colored pencil illustrations prove that writing can be fun! This story works nicely with Lucy Calkins’ Writer’s Workshop model of teaching.”
1 - As the author and illustrator, do you feel your drawings capture exactly what you pictured when you wrote the story?
That is a great question and something I still think about all the time, because doing this project was the first time I learned to think visually. I worked hard to get my simple characters to express a specific emotion. It was something I had to re-do again and again and again to get a face or body exactly the way I felt like it needed to be, to contain just the right amount of energy. So I do feel like my characters’ expressions capture what I pictured when I wrote the story.
2 – Do you consider yourself an author who illustrated her own work, or an illustrator who enjoys writing stories…or both?
DEFINITELY an author who illustrated her own work. When I thought of the idea for Ralph Tells
A Story, I barely knew how to draw, but I have written creatively my whole life. I learned how to draw by drawing Ralph and his classmates a million times over several years!
3 – Was Ralph based on a child in your life? Did that make it easier or harder to write the story?
Ralph was based on a little boy who was in my class when I was a first grade teacher. I loved this little boy and thought he would make a funny character for a story. Because he was such a great inspiration, I feel like the story wrote itself.
4 – Are you planning to write any more books about Ralph, or do you have other characters or themes you will be writing about?
I think it would be really fun to write another book about Ralph, but I don’t yet have any specific plans for another Ralph book. I am working on more books for the same age range. Because I was a teacher, I have a lot of insight into the classroom, which seems to be a great topic.
5 – What are you the most proud of about this fantastic book you have created?
I am proud that I got to illustrate the book myself, as challenging as it was. I am also proud that my five-year-old twins think the book is super funny.
Writing Tip from Abby Hanlon
Help beginner writers by reminding them, “If you can say it, you can spell it.” Tell them, “Say the word slowly, write down the sounds you hear.” I always tell kids, “If you can talk, you can write.” Once little kids master their letter sounds, and finally start to believe that they can stop worrying about correct spelling, there is suddenly no limit to what they can write. It’s amazing to watch as kids figure this out. The pages start flowing.
Ralph Tells a Story can be purchased on Amazon for an ARV of $16.99. It is perfect for ages 6 and up!
One A Mom’s Take readers will win
a Ralph Tells a Story book
Ends 10/26/2012 at 11:59 PM ET. Open to US Only.
- Rules –
Disclosure: I received Ralph Tells a Story book in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other manner. The opinions expressed above are my own and any claims should be verified on the sponsor’s site.