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Welcome to the Spotlight Maria Gianferrari and HELLO GOODBYE DOG!

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I’m thrilled to welcome back author Maria Gianferrari to DEBtastic Reads! Her nonfiction book Coyote Moon was featured here last year. Today we’re celebrating the release of her newest picture book, Hello Goodbye Dog! Stay tuned below for a giveaway of this wonderful book!

Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Patrice Barton

(Roaring Brook Press, July 2017)

Moose hates goodbyes, so when Zara leaves for school, he finds a way to be with her. Zara insists he’ll behave when she reads to him. Each time he’s dragged back home, he finds a way back. Zara comes up with the solution of training him to be a therapy dog, and so Moose is able to spend reading time with Zara and her classmates.

Spotlight on Maria Gianferrari:

What was the inspiration behind the story of HELLO GOODBYE DOG? And can you share what the journey to publication was like?

Like many of my books, the initial inspiration was my daughter Anya’s relationship with our dog, Becca. Anya’s an only child, and we got six-month old Becca when Anya was only four years old, so they’ve grown up together. Anya’s now 15, and Becca’s 11! Becca’s like Anya’s dog sister. Here’s my favorite photo of these best friends, taking when Anya was six and Becca was one.

As a rescue, Becca had separation anxiety when we first got her, and used to howl when we’d leave her alone. An undertone of that still remains in the story: Moose only wants to say “hello,” to Zara, not goodbye. Some of the details changed through many revisions over the years, but in its heart, it is a story about a girl and dog who love each other, and who are best friends.

I so appreciate the diversity in this book. Can you tell me more about how you developed Zara as a character?

What makes America great is that we are a melting pot. But many books, especially picture books, need to reflect the experience of a wider variety of people, rather than just focusing on white main characters. My editor, Emily Feinberg and I, wanted to portray as broad a representation of people as possible. We wanted this book to be a mirror, so that kids of color and kids who use wheelchairs can see their faces reflected too, and to build empathy, which we need more than ever these days!

Dogs! I love dogs! I assume you do, too. Do you have a dog? If so, what is his/her name and is he/she anything like Moose?

Me too! Dogs, dogs, and more dogs! As I mentioned above, we have a rescue mutt named Becca who has separation anxiety issues, like Moose. Becca’s a Dixie chick originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sadly, someone abandoned her in a common dumping area for unwanted dogs near a highway. Luckily for us, a couple named Ross and Rebecca (Becca’s namesake) were able to lure her into their car with some leftover Olive Garden chicken. Since they already had several pets, they brought her to a nearby rescue organization, For the Love of Dogs, that works to bring dogs from crowded southern shelters, to homes or shelters in the northeast. I spotted her on Petfinder, and it was love at first sight. This is the photo that made me fall in love with her—isn’t she sweet?

As you can tell from the illustrations in the book, illustrator Patrice Barton is a dog lover too. Moose resembles Becca physically, especially with the constant wagging tail. Becca’s is like a whip—watch out! Moose and Becca both have sweet and loving temperaments. And here’s a photo of Patrice’s dog, Archer.

Thanks for featuring Hello Goodbye Dog on your blog, Debbi

Maria Gianferrari is the author of the Penny & Jelly books, Officer Katz and Houdini as well as Coyote Moon, also published by Roaring Brook Press. For Maria, hello is sunshine after a snowstorm, the scent of cinnamon, and happy greetings from her beloved mutt, Becca. Maria lives in northern Virginia with her dog, Becca, her scientist husband and her artist daughter.

For more about Maria and her books, check out her web site, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Instagram. You can also check out her web site on Penny & Jelly.

Roaring Brook has generously offered to send a copy to a lucky winner. To win a copy of Hello Goodbye Dog for yourself, a child, or a school or library, follow these directions to enter in the drawing:

1. Comment on this post by Sunday, August 6, by midnight EST. A winner will be drawn at random and contacted on Tuesday, August 8 (be sure to include your email address).

2. Entrants must have a US mailing address.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

Check out Maria’s Blog Tour:

 

*Monday, July 24th:                           Pragmatic Mom + THREE book giveaway!

*Two for Tuesday, July 25th:          Librarian’s Quest

Reading for Research

 

*Wednesday, July 26th:                   Homemade City

*Thursday, July 27th:                        Kid Lit Frenzy

*Friday, July 28th:                              Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

*Monday, July 31st:                           Picture Books Help Kids Soar

*Tuesday, August 1st:                        Bildebok

*Wednesday, August 2nd:                 The Loud Library Lady

*Thursday, August 3rd:                     DEBtastic Reads!

*Friday, August 4th:                           Mamabelly’s Lunches with Love

*Monday, August 7th:                         Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

 

EXTRA: August 25th:                         Kidlit411—Interview with Patrice Barton

 

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Welcome to the Spotlight Maria Gianferrari and COYOTE MOON

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I’m over the moon (get it?) happy to shine the spotlight (or maybe the moonlight) on children’s author Maria Gianferrari and her nonfiction picture book:

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Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Begram Ibatoulline (Roaring Brook Press/2016)

Coyote hunts at night – stalking mice, rabbit, geese, but not until the night is almost over does she successfully capture prey, food for her hungry pups, waiting for her in the den. Gorgeous illustrations capture this sleek predator on the prowl in a suburban town.

Those of you who know me know I am very fond of all animals. I have a degree in zoology and was an educator at a zoo, and volunteered as a raptor rehabilitator when I was in college. So, it is no surprise that I absolutely love this book! Stay tuned below for a chance to enter to win a copy of this book from the publisher!

Spotlight on Maria:

What was the spark that inspired you to write about a coyote?

I had a close encounter with a coywolf (also known as an eastern coyote) when I lived in Massachusetts in January 2007, and the seed of a story was born. It was such a majestic and beautiful creature. I became obsessed with learning more about them. At the time, I didn’t even know I had seen a coywolf until I had begun my research.

You do a lovely job – showing the natural balance of predator-prey relationships – how hard it can be for a predator to capture food, and how necessary it is in order for it to feed its young and survive. What were the challenges you faced in telling the story of a coyote hunting? What were some of the highlights of researching/writing this book?

I’d have to say the biggest challenge was trying to find balance between telling the story of a predator to young readers while remaining authentic about the coyote’s ferocity. By making the main character a mother coyote, hunting for her pups, kids can see that she’s hunting to feed her family, so her ferocity has meaning. It’s all part of maintaining balance in an ecosystem.

I loved doing hands-on research, walking in the woods with purpose, searching for signs of the elusive coyote—for scat, bedding sites, kill sites (I once found a bunch of turkey feathers, hence the turkey in the story).

The highlight was interviewing Dr. Jon Way, a noted eastern coyote/coywolf researcher, for what initially began as an article and evolved into a book. I read his book, Suburban Howls, and his scientific papers, and first learned about eastern coyotes/coywolves. I also visited the Stone Zoo where the orphaned coywolves that he rescued then lived. This is a photo of one of them named Lupe, who looked very much like the coywolf of my encounter.

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Do you have a favorite animal? What is it and why?

I LOVE dogs. They’re so affectionate and expressive and full of unconditional love. My dog, Becca, is the best writing companion 🙂

Maria Gianferrari was inspired to write Coyote Moon after her first coywolf sighting on a moonlit night in her own Massachusetts backyard. Maria now lives in Northern Virginia with her scientist husband, artist daughter, and rescue dog, Becca. This is her first book for Roaring Brook Press. Visit her at mariagianferrari.com, on Facebook or Instagram.

Roaring Brook has generously offered to send a copy to a lucky winner. To win a copy of Coyote Moon for yourself, a child, or a school or library, follow these directions to enter in the drawing:

1. Comment on this post by Saturday, July 23rd by midnight EST. A winner will be drawn at random and contacted on Tuesday, July 26th (be sure to include your email address).

2. Entrants must have a US mailing address.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Katz who won a copy of COYOTE MOON! I’ve sent you an email – please respond with your mailing address. Thank you to everyone for stopping by and entering! Stay tuned for more spotlights, reading buzz, and giveaways!