MEET AUTHOR NANCY I. SANDERS
Q: Today we’re showcasing your book, Readers Theatre for African American History. How did you first start writing about African American history for kids?
A: I had already written one book for the publisher Chicago Review Press. My book, Old Testament Days, is a history of how people lived during Bible times. In my contract, it said I was required to send my next nonfiction book idea to the publisher. Knowing that they published children’s nonfiction books on a variety of cultures, I studied their product line to see which cultures they already had covered. I saw they didn’t have a book on several different cultures, so I sent them a list that also included African American history. They responded to say they’d like to see a book on African American history.
So basically, I wrote A Kid’s Guide to African American History to meet an assignment. At the time, I didn’t know anything about African American history. But during the journey to write that book, I discovered a treasure chest of amazing individuals, unforgettable achievements, and important contributions to our country’s history. I was so excited to get that information out to kids, parents, and teachers.
Q: What gave you the idea to write a book of reader’s theater plays on African American history?
A: After I wrote A Kid’s Guide to African American History, I knew I wanted to get the information I’d discovered into the hands of children in a variety of ways. I wanted to write middle grade novels, picture books, readers theater plays, excerpts of primary sources, and other nonfiction books. I wanted to write puzzles, magazine articles, and magazine fiction features about African American history. I wanted kids to become familiar with the names and faces I now knew as my own personal heroes so they could have these heroes, too. And I wanted to do it in as many ways as possible.
So I started exploring various publishers. And I actually landed contracts in each and every single one of those different formats! I also wrote various magazine articles and fillers. Some of my books on African American history include:
D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet: This award-winning picture book is illustrated by E. B. Lewis.
America’s Black Founders: This nonfiction book with historical activities won the Best Books 2010 Award for children’s nonfiction. http://www.AmericasBlackFounders.wordpress.com.
Black Abolitionists: This book contains excerpts of actual text from primary sources of famous African American men and women who helped bring an end to slavery.
A Dangerous Search: This is the first book in a middle-grade historical novel series called Black Patriots in the American Revolution.
Q: How did you land the contract to write Readers Theatre for African American History?
A: I read an interview of an editor from Libraries Unlimited in the Children’s Writer, the newsletter for the Institute of Children’s Literature. She said that she was looking for books of readers theater plays.
I had never written theater plays before, so I looked at a lot of them online. Then I studied the website of Libraries Unlimited. I saw that they had various books of readers theater plays for American history, but not one on African American history. So I e-mailed the editor. I told her I’d read her interview in the newsletter. I asked her if she’d like to see a proposal for a book of plays on African American history. She said she would. I prepared the proposal and landed the contract.
Follow Day 2 of Ms. Sanders’ tour tomorrow at www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com. Leave a comment and your name will automatically be entered to win a Three Angels Gourmet Co mug and a package of Divine Dill Dip Mix – at the end of the month, provided by the National Writing for Children Center.
To continue following Day One of Nancy Sanders’ Virtual Book Tour, please visit her website at: