Piratess Tilly Book Launch + Cure SPG47 Fundraiser

The Piratess Tilly Book Launch and Cure SPG47 Fundraiser on Saturday, May 13th, 2017 was a beautiful success. The location could not have been more appropriate than in the “Hall of Ships” at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, a room in which a painting of ship Tennyson hangs proudly. For it is this ship that a woman – Mary Newton Lunt Graves – in 1860 took control and safely brought it to port when her husband, Captain Alexander Graves, became disabled. How could we not launch Piratess Tilly’s second girl-empowering sea adventure in this maritime museum with such inspiring historical stories!

Author Elizabeth Lorayne with Kasey Edwards, co-founder of Cure SPG47 and her daughter, Robbie.

Author Elizabeth Lorayne with Kasey Edwards, co-founder of Cure SPG47 and her daughter, Robbie.

The Custom House Maritime Museum itself was so generous with their support that admission was free for the length of the event! Guests got to not only get their books signed, work on a book related craft (coloring pages and a paper hang glider), grab an organic lollipop, watch the slide show of the book itself, and browse the overflowing totes for the raffle, but they also got the chance to peruse the museum and soak in a dose of history. 

I would like to take a moment to thank Newburyport Montessori School because it was there that I first met Kasey Edwards and her two children, Davis and Robbie. Kasey is the kind of person who radiates love, patience, strength, and perseverance. I am in awe of her grace and determination. I encourage you to follow their story on Curespg47.org and on their Facebook page. Their fundraising journey to study and, hopefully, find a cure for hereditary spastic paraplegia, type 47 has just started and I am thrilled to be writing them a check that includes nearly 100 book sale proceeds and raffle ticket sales of $1,858. Siga Snipas and Gretchen Stone of Bean Group will be writing them their own checks ($5/book sold at the event) for a grand total of $2,233! No doubt Piratess Tilly and koala Yuki are just as proud!

When I first had the idea exactly 2 months prior, I had no idea how generous and encouraging Newburyport shops, businesses, and friends would be in supporting the book launch and Cure SPG47 fundraiser. From newburyport.com sharing the story, to a childhood best friend flying from Seattle, to Siga Snipas and Gretchen Stone of Bean Group jointly pledging $5 per book sold, I feel truly fortunate and grateful – it was a magical morning and experience. As a keepsake for those who attended the event and even for those supported Cure SPG47 through online book sales that week, people received a double-sided bookmark featuring the businesses that contributed and a red ribbon tassel. 

From the moment the party started until shortly after the raffle drawing, there was a wonderful and continuous line of families wanting books and raffle tickets, but one family I will always remember, for they are related to another child in Seattle who also has hereditary spastic paraplegia, type 47. Signing the Piratess Tilly books in her honor was truly special.

Robbie Edwards drawing 1 of the 3 winning raffles!

Robbie Edwards drawing 1 of the 3 winning raffles!

As a child, I had watched my mother organize rather grand fundraisers. It was particularly meaningful for me to have my own young daughter see the work and passion it takes, no matter the scale, to orchestrate a successful fundraising event. And I couldn’t think of a better way to include the children related to myself and the Edwards family than by having them draw the winning raffle tickets! 

Thank all of the businesses who donated products, services, and gift certificates:  Shanti Salon, Repose Yoga StudioPort City Integrative HealthGreater Newburyport Mother's and Family ClubWillow Event PlanningButtermilk BakeryBrooke Whicher PhotographyPretty PoppyCustom House Maritime MuseumKaren Watson ArtSoufflesInterlocks Salon + SpaSoakGrand TrunkMotivateBC Essentials, Seacoast Sweets, & Joppa Fine Foods

And a huge rounds of thanks to each of you who attended the event or ordered books online through the Piratess Tilly shop to support Cure SPG47! This was a truly beautiful morning and I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. –Elizabeth Lorayne

Macaroni Kid's Interview with Elizabeth Lorayne

Meet Piratess Tilly at the Custom House Museum Family Fun Days

By Emily Cowan, Editor/Publisher
Apr 11, 2017

April's Family Fun Days sail into the Custom House Maritime Museum next week, along with a special appearance by Piratess Tilly, the heroine of two critically acclaimed books by local author and Newburyport mom Elizabeth Lorayne. We caught up with Elizabeth to find out more about the book series and its focus on a smart, strong female character who loves science and exploration.

Newburyport Macaroni Kid: Many children's-book authors are inspired to write because they perceive a gap in representation for a certain kind of kid. Did you feel that there was something missing from bookshelves?

Elizabeth Lorayne: When I first felt inspired to create the character of Piratess Tilly, I had observed a huge gap on the bookshelves. I saw far too few picture books with strong, intelligent, compassionate, relatable (to me), adventuresome heroines, let alone ones interested in science and history. And I therefore wanted more for my own daughter and for myself – I even wanted to see someone who represented pieces of myself as a child because I imagined I wasn't the only one who was was curious about nature. Or who cared about saving the animals and the planet. Or who was a leader. Or who loved being outside – on the water sailing. 

Continue reading the full interview here!

Free Children's eBook!

In the spirit of holiday giving, I'm offering my ebook for free! In this picture book, written in haiku, an adventurous girl and her crew of orphaned boys sail the high seas and intercept a band of pirates kidnapping tortoises on the Galapagos Islands!

"Tilly—tough, daring and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea." —Publishers Weekly

ebook_promo_piratesstilly
ebook_promo_piratesstilly

All Hands on Deck for Girl-Empowerment: My Interview with Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez of El Galeón

Captain Rosario and Elizabeth Lorayne_150 rgb web.jpg May 27, 2016  Interview with Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez of tall ship El Galeón docked in Newburyport, MA written by Elizabeth Lorayne.

There was magic in the air that morning of Friday, May 27th. Not only was the 16th century Spanish tall ship replica, El Galeón, in Newburyport’s harbor, but I was scheduled to meet the captain, the only female captain of a tall ship in the world. The synchronicity of this opportunity left me feeling giddy as I walked the enlivened streets of Newburyport to the ship. This special meeting was arranged by the Newburyport Custom House Maritime Museum because of my children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. Piratess Tilly is the captain of her own ship and leads her crew on naturalist expeditions. It felt all too pertinent that I give a copy of the book to a real female captain. 

Boarding El Galeón, walking topside, past the hundreds of salt water infused lines, and simultaneously ducking while stepping over the lip of the doorway; immediately sent me back to my formative years sailing and boating 60 miles northeast of Seattle, WA in the San Juan Islands. Upon meeting Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez, I immediately felt a kinship, while her gracious confidence reminded me of my task at hand.

Once seated on the wooden benches in the galley, I presented her with my book. Her eyes lit up at the cover showing young Piratess Tilly at the helm of her own tall ship. Rosario immediately related to the many purposes of the book. She loved the poetry and the art, but mostly she loved the girl-empowerment and the educational features of Piratess Tilly and her crew’s life aboard the ship.

Tucked inside the book I had a few questions I hoped Rosario would be willing to answer. Little did I know we would speak for the next two hours, discussing her own childhood sailing and some of her experiences becoming a female captain.

Was there a specific moment from your childhood that contributed directly to your desire to work on and eventually captain a tall ship?

Rosario grew up in Arcos de la Frontera, Spain, where her family lived some 300ft from a lake. It was on this lake that her passion for sailing was born. When Rosario was a child, her father and his friends often sailed a 420 sailboat,

“I remember being seated on to the top of the box for the keel and I remember perfectly the color of the hull, and also the shape of the sail completely, full of wind. I remember that I liked it a lot.”

From that formative moment she seized the opportunity to sail her father’s friends windsurfing board. She didn’t know how to sail, but she persevered and managed to sail across the lake. When she reached the other side, she didn’t know how to return against the wind, so she paddled atop the board! From that moment she knew she needed to learn how to sail properly.

Her father took his own passion for sailing and worked to build a sailing club, the Arcos Sailing Club. Rosario explained that because Arcos de la Frontera is 70 miles from the coast, it took some time to show the local community and councilmen the advantages of sailing as a sport. Her father was determined and after receiving several donated 420 sailboats from clubs on the coast, his own sailing club took flight.  Pride overfilled her eyes as she told me about the hours she spent helping him repair the boats in preparation for their club. A few years later, when she was 13, in conjunction with a club on the coast, they were ready to offer sailing lessons. Rosario quickly decided she wanted to become a certified sailing instructor, which she accomplished a few years later.

When did you decide to become a captain?

While attending courses in art history at university, Rosario spent every free moment teaching. Once she finished school, she quickly realized she was truly happiest on the water.  She then decided to make sailing her way of living, saying she,

“wanted to have my own ship, I want to charter my own ship, I want to become a captain of my ship, but I didn’t think of being a captain of a tall ship at that moment,” laughing with amusement at the major role she eventually attained.

What are your favorite aspects to both working on and captaining a tall ship?

When meeting and spending time with Rosario it is not hard to see how seriously she takes her role as captain, from how she oversees her crew, expecting them to always be maintaining the ship and learning, to her own willingness to learn,

“I like that I am all of the time teaching, I like that, but also I am all the time learning. And also I get to know many many different places and many different people. It’s also a way of knowing myself or trying to know myself and I try also to learn about everything to be a better person and captain. I try.”

What would you say to young girls who have big dreams and goals?

With the girl-empowerment aspect of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, I was curious to hear what this real life female captain would say to young girls,

“Everything is possible if you work towards it. I mean, if you work, focusing, you can get it, you can get it.”

Rosario explained to me some of the hardships she’d experienced as a woman trying to become a captain. She often faced disbelief by boat owners, who would instead offer her jobs as a stewardess. Her perseverance and patience endured and she went from captaining a dredger ship to captaining the Nao Victoria and El Galeón. Even as our time together was coming to end, it was clear to me how important this question was to Rosario as she came back to it saying,

“If you work hard, if you focus on what you want and if you are full of what you want, you can do it. And if someone wants to restrict you, just try to smile and look to the other side and go the other way. Take the other door - the other paths - there are many, many paths. Just try another one.”

Elizabeth Lorayne is the author of the award-winning children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. A native Seattleite and the granddaughter of Admiral Walter T. Griffith, she feels most at home near water, which makes living in Newburyport, MA most appropriate. She is an artist and writer, who enjoys hiking and creating art with her family. You can contact her by email ElizabethLorayne@gmail.com or through her books website PiratessTilly.com The sequel to The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, taking place on Easter Island, is due out this October.

Softcover now available!

Softcover Piratess Tilly Give-away What wonderful timing to share both the latest Amazon Review and the news that a softcover version of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is now available directly from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Review on Amazon:

We LOVE this book! My five year old daughter loves it just as much as my eight year old son. First, I look to read stories with my children that have a strong female lead character. This is an empowering, uplifting and "feel good" story for both girls and boys. Written in Haiku, Tilly and her crew go on exciting adventures together. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful. I can't wait to read further adventures of Tilly and her crew.

Happy Monday!

Finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year!

I am so honored and proud to announce that The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is a Finalist for the 2015 Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards (category: children's picture books)! This is absolutely wonderful recognition! Winners will be announced at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June. I am posting Foreword Reviews' press release below. Thank you to everyone for their support. Onward and upward!

Foreword Reviews Announces Finalists for 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards

Traverse City, MI, March 7, 2016—Foreword Reviews, a media company devoted to reviewing books from small, independent publishers and university presses, is pleased to announce the finalists for its 18th annual INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards.

Visit the Foreword Reviews website for a full list of the finalists, searchable by genre.

Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd. In the next three months, a panel of more than 130 volunteer librarians and booksellers will determine the winners in 66 categories based on their experience with readers and patrons.

“The 2015 INDIEFAB finalist selection process is as inspiring as it is rigorous,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “The strength of this list of finalists is further proof that small, independent publishers are taking their rightful place as the new driving force of the entire publishing industry.”

Foreword Reviews will celebrate the winners during a program at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida in June. We will also name the Editor’s Choice Prize 2015 for Fiction, Nonfiction and Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Publisher of the Year Award during the presentation.


About Foreword: Foreword Magazine, Inc is a media company featuring a Folio:-award-winning quarterly print magazine, Foreword Reviews, and a website devoted to independently published books. In the magazine, they feature reviews of the best 170 new titles from independent publishers, university presses, and noteworthy self-published authors. Their website features daily updates: reviews along with in-depth coverage and analysis of independent publishing from a team of more than 100 reviewers, journalists, and bloggers. The print magazine is available at most Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million newsstands or by subscription. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. They are headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, USA.

https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/finalists/2015/press-release/

Australia Day: We've Adopted a Koala!

I am so excited to share that Piratess Tilly has truly adopted a koala - Koala Wattle, who represents all of the koalas in the wild that need protection from losing their natural habitats. Proceeds from book sales will now be going towards a monthly contribution to the Australian Koala Foundation! Thank YOU for your help! To learn more, please visit savethekoala.com! And with that, Happy Australia Day!! <3 <3 <3

Piratess Tilly book proceeds AKF

Independent Publishers of New England Interview

Honored to share Elizabeth Lorayne's interview with the Independent Publishers of New England! You can also read it here!
It is our pleasure to highlight IPNE member and children's author Elizabeth Lorayne for this edition of Learn from Your Peers. Elizabeth will be at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 24th for an IPNE author signing event.

When did you know you were a writer? I think my personal acknowledgment that I am a writer came from realizing that I tend to communicate better through writing and that my desire to then share those thoughts, stories, characters, and visuals was truly a part of who I am. I have been writing since childhood, often stories inspired by dreams. As I got older, I took to journaling and writing poetry as ways to express myself. My writing abilities became more refined through numerous writing courses in high school and college and just simply with practice. Writing haiku, as how I’ve written the book, came from a need to get back to being creative. At the time I started writing haiku, my daughter was six months old and we were deep in an all-consuming house restoration. There was no real access, time or energy for my usual art — collage and printmaking. I had started a blog and through the Wordpress community I was reconnected with haiku. I researched the traditional forms of haiku, how they are usually about nature and have a surprise twist or ending. From there, I let myself play and experiment.

What does your writing process look like? That really depends on what kind of writing I’m working on, but in general my process includes quieting my mind and not overthinking — just writing. For the haiku in The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, I have found that for the more educational pieces, simple information or visual references are more than enough for me to create the haiku. As for the pieces I’ve created on my own, I simply interweave bits of my own childhood and younger self into the overall story. One of the reasons I feel the haiku works so well for a children’s picture book is because it can be descriptive and yet open ended. It gives the reader and audience a great deal of room for their own imagination even alongside the beautiful artwork. It gives the reader their own sense of involvement and I love that!

Tell us about your book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. The Adventures of Piratess Tilly follows a young adventurous and compassionate girl, Tilly, on her sailing quest to document the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. Her crew consists of seven orphaned boys from around the world and her best friend Yuki, a koala she rescued in Australia. As budding naturalists they spend their time on the ship reading Charles Darwin, sketching, painting, and documenting their nature finds. Once they arrive, they see the beautiful landscape and spot several animals. They even come upon pirates! And those pirates just happen to be smuggling baby Giant Tortoises. So of course Piratess Tilly, Yuki, and the brothers create a plan to rescue them and return them to their family! The story was greatly inspired by my upbringing: bike riding, boating, and exploring the shorelines of the Pacific Northwest, as well as from studying primatology, and anthropology as a young adult. And once I had a daughter, I realized how much I wanted to create and share a strong, independent, curious, intelligent, and compassionate female lead. I wanted my daughter to grow up reading about a young female captain, who was intelligent and perfectly capable of adventure and leadership. And this is certainly not the last story with Piratess Tilly! I have finished writing the second book and have begun the illustration process with Karen Watson. We have all set sail for Easter Island! So please stay tuned!

Why did you choose to self-publish? I primarily chose to self-publish because I wanted full control over the book. I wanted to find the illustrator myself and work with her closely. I also wanted to build my own publishing company in hopes expanding one day to include publishing other girl-empowering works by women. I suppose I’ve always been someone who never fit the mold and I knew that what I had created was out of the norm, and therefore to me, that much more worthy of publishing it myself.

What roadblocks or obstacles did you face? I think the actual book production was the biggest obstacle. I wanted to print in the U.S.A, but the costs were prohibitive for what I wanted with my book: hardcover with dust-jacket, offset printing, 32 pages, 8 1/2” by 11 size, and a smaller run.

How do you balance being a mom with writing and promoting a book? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I somehow get a lot accomplished in several two minute increments throughout the day! My daughter is now just over three years old so she is attending a morning program, which allows me the focused time I need for promotion, research, writing blog posts, or creating the graphics for postcards and social media posts. I’ve found though, that if I’m in haiku writing mode, I tend to be very distracted for those few days; however meals always need to be made and everyday life still goes by regardless. I allow for those everyday routines to give my mind time to mull over ideas. It all seems to work out in the end and everyone gets what they need!

Other than IPNE, what are some other valuable resources for children's authors and publishers? I became a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators right away when I felt my story was ready and that I was serious about publication. They are a fabulous organization and I highly recommend joining. They have bicoastal and regional conferences as well as meet-ups and online forums. It was through them that I found the illustrator, Karen Watson! I also suggest taking a class on writing for children. It isn’t as easy as people tend to first believe. Having an understanding of those guidelines is definitely helpful. I had taken a course in college on writing for young adults. Although that isn’t the same as picture book writing, it still helped me.

How did you choose the illustrations for your book? How did you structure your working relationship with the illustrator? Working with Karen Watson was absolutely wonderful! I gave her written descriptions of how I wanted each page. She not only executed my ideas perfectly, she also added so much fine detail and on a particular page I was stuck on, she came up with a wonderful setting. As I had never done this before, Karen guided me through her own process. I loved getting an email with several pages worth of initial sketches, then line drawings, and finally the finished painted pages. Her work is both meticulous and whimsical, which is perfect for Piratess Tilly, who is studious and fun-loving!

What advice do you have for other indie publishers? How can we find your book? Don’t give up! If you believe in your book and what you’ve created gives you a sense of pride, then do whatever you can to get it into the hands of readers and supporters. Also, be creative with marketing, think outside of the box. For instance, I donated a few books to the Galapagos Conservancy, where the proceeds will go to benefitting their many programs. Not only does that tie into the book, it supports something important and there is no saying what that relationship will become. Also take chances! No matter how nervous I was, I sent The Adventures of Piratess Tilly for a Kirkus Review and was overwhelmingly relieved they understood and appreciated the book! Because of that I felt confident to send the book to Publishers Weekly and got another good review. I believed in the book and the overall product of what was created! Go for it! You can find The Adventures of Piratess Tilly on the book’s website: http://piratesstilly.com and on Amazon. Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or the blog for more updates on local stores and more sites.

October Book Reading & Signing Events!

Announcing 2 events this upcoming week! The first is a book reading and signing by Elizabeth Lorayne at Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport, MA. It is part of a fundraiser for the Newburyport Montessori School's Parent Association! The event and reading of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly begins at 4pm. There will be a second children's book author, AJ Smith reading his book Even Monsters at 7pm! Piratess Tilly Jabberwocky book reading 10-22-15The second event is Saturday, October 24th at the Boston Book Festival. Elizabeth will be signing and selling books from 10:45 to 11:30 at the Independent Publishers of New England table on Boylston Street side in Copley Square! Please come support Piratess Tilly and all of the awesome authors at the event! And stay tuned for pictures and posts following the two events! Thank you!

Piratess Tilly Boston Book Festival

We won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award!

Moonbeam Sociam Media We are incredibly honored and thrilled to announce that The Adventures of Piratess Tilly has won its first children’s book award!! We were 1 of 5 to win a very special award, the Moonbeam Spirit Award for Exploration, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. See the full list of winners here!

This Moonbeam Spirit Award is “for dedication to children’s books and literacy and for inspired writing, illustrating and publishing. This year we chose books in five different areas. All recipients will receive gold medals.” The other 4 categories for this Spirit Award are: Creativity, Compassion, Imagination and Preservation.

A little bit about Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, which is in its 9th year:

“Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts. Each year's entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. Award recipients receive gold, silver and bronze medals and stickers depicting a mother and child reading and silhouetted by a full moon.”

More info to follow once the press release is up!!

Piratess Tilly in . . . Easter Island!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Karen Watson and I are moving forward with the next book in The Adventure of Piratess Tilly series! She and her crew are headed to Easter Island! Here is the very first watercolor illustration!  

Piratess Tilly Easter Island Promo

Galapagos Conservancy!

I donated a few books to the Galapagos Conservancy whose mission is: "... to advance and support the conservation of the unique biodiversity and ecosystems of Galapagos through directed research, informed public policy, and building a sustainable society." With each purchase from their e-gift shop, the proceeds go to "supporting the important marine and terrestrial conservation programs taking place in the Galapagos Islands." Within the first week, 2 of the 3 books were purchased and another week later, the last book was no longer listed! I am so pleased the books sold quickly to benefit the Galapagos Conservancy! Here's a a screen shot of the book listed on their page. Had I realized they would sell so fast, I would have gotten a screen shot of the actual product page as well. :)

 

Piratess Tilly Galapagos Conservancy

From the Crow's Nest: Reviews by Children

Introducing a new series, From the Crow's Nest, featuring children's reviews of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly! Below is the first review by a 6 and half year old boy named Finny! Please feel free to download the review question ideas below and email Elizabeth Lorayne your child's answers at whitewavepressbooks@gmail.com. You can also find these on the activities page! Thank you! Enjoy!

Downloadable review question ideas:

Piratess Tilly Children's Book Review Questions

8/10/15 Publishers Weekly Review!

Our review from Publishers Weekly is in! Another nod to Charles Darwin and praise for our courageous, eco-conscious heorine, Piratess Tilly.

Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. -Publishers Weekly

 

Publishers Weekly Review as seen on 8/10/15:

"Lorayne crafts an environmentally focused adventure told through haikus and punctuated by moments of excitement. Piratess Tilly, a brunette girl in patchwork jeans, travels on the research vessel Foster with a crew of young sailors from around the globe and her fedora-wearing koala, Yuki. Watson depicts Tilly and Yuki’s time aboard the ship in gentle watercolors with light fantasy elements. Tilly and Yuki read Charles Darwin and Beatrix Potter in their cozy cabin, a smiling crescent moon shining through the window, and collect nature specimens to study and sketch: “Many days passing/ Best used for examining/ What would Darwin think?” The plot turns from wildlife examination to conservation when Tilly and the crew discover that nefarious pirates are smuggling baby giant tortoises from the Galápagos Islands. In a perilous—albeit brief—mission, Tilly and her crewmates rescue the tortoises and release them into the sea. While the sequence of haikus can make for a slightly herky-jerky narrative, Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. Ages 4–8. (BookLife) "

View the review here!

Thank you again for all of the support!

~ E.L.

BOOK REVIEW: The Adventures of Piratess Tilly

A special 'Thank you' to Michael Barton for this lovely book review! I am thrilled he and I are in touch after Piratess Tilly's adventure with the National Center for Science Education!

New Art Show Poster!

I absolutely love Karen Watson's new art show poster! I know I'll be printing one out and framing it. I am so excited for her solo art show featuring the original artwork from The Adventures of Piratess Tilly and other work inspired by classic tales! Stay tuned for photos from the actual show opening on July 26th. And please check out her recently updated website! DrawnToStory_Poster_Sml

An Interview with Author Elizabeth Lorayne!

A special thank you to the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Familes Club for the lovely interview (and for granting me permission to share it with all of you!) as their 'Member Spotlight' in the current newsletter! A highlight from the interview:

I hope that children feel inspired to be their own captain ~ to explore, question, study, observe, give back and be a part of their community. I hope that seeing a girl be the leader of her crew, her ship and her rescue missions not only empowers young girls, but influences young boys too.

*** As I'm sure the interview was too long, it seems a paragraph was cut. I'm posting it below. It's in regards to the question about advice for others who are interested in writing. ***

"For others interested in writing or specifically writing for children, I would suggest taking a writing class. Writing for children is actually not as easy as some people tend to think and there are helpful guidelines to know ahead of time. I would also suggest joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. They're a fantastic organization with forums and regional conferences as well as meet-ups and workshops. "

I hope you enjoy the interview! 

Piratess Tilly Elizabeth Lorayne Mothers Club Interview

Piratess Tilly's 7 Favorite Girl-Empowering Picture Books

Piratess Tilly Favorite Girl Empowering Picture Books Piratess Tilly’s 7 Favorite Girl-Empowering Picture Books

As someone who wants to promote strong female-lead characters and stories to my young daughter, I thought I would share (in no particular order) some of our current favorite picture books. And as Piratess Tilly (from The Adventures of Piratess Tilly written by Elizabeth Lorayne and illustrated by Karen Watson) is a curious naturalist who is also a  leader, explorer and protector, I tend to lean towards books that instill such qualities. I hope you find this list inspiring and helpful!

1. Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay

I have a passion for collage and anything paper related so I was particularly thrilled to discover this unique and stunning picture book designed with paper-cut illustration! Add a beautiful story of a young girl who longs to rebuild a neighborhood butterfly garden by sharing her curiosity and passion with her local community, and I am wholly inspired and touched.

2. Deer Dancer written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

A lovely story about a young girl who finds her inner strength, her “voice”, through dancing in a field where she meets a deer. She practices with the deer, both dancing to a silent song by Mother Nature. The whimsical and lively illustrations perfectly accentuate this empowering story of self-discovery through perseverance, movement and nature.

3. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

A personal favorite of mine. One that I remember from my own childhood. We follow Miss Rumphius as she pursues her childhood dreams and goals of traveling and eventually settling down by the sea. Her ultimate goal, one that was bestowed on her by her grandfather, of contributing to the world by doing something beautiful, tugs at her heart. She eventually feels inspired by nature and spreads beauty throughout the countryside! A magnificent, gentle story of self-reliance and finding beauty in small acts.

4. Journey by Aaron Becker

An absolutely remarkable book. It is a story without words ~ just amazing artwork that truly inspires the imagination. Without the words, it is a fabulous way to encourage and invite young people to tell the story they see. That alone is empowering!

5. Ladybug Girl (at the beach) by David Soman and Jacky Davis

We found these books (it’s a lovely series) when my daughter was an infant. We’ve both enjoyed being a part of Ladybug Girl’s adventures. They are friendly, while also subtly teaching about bravery, or empathy or compassion, for instance. The beach story is a personal favorite as it follows Ladybug Girl while she visits the beach for the first time ~ an experience that can be overwhelming and frightening. It is fun reading and seeing, in the lovely watercolors, how Ladybug Girl plays and investigates the beach!

6. Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

Quite the lyrical tale of a small girl who wants to be an engineer! The artwork is fantastic and fun. The historical reference to the original Rosie the Riveter is lovely and intriguing ~ an uplifting story of learning perseverance and the importance of following your heart, even when mistakes are made.

7. Me. . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

For someone who grew up admiring Dr. Jane Goodall, I knew this book would be enjoyed by myself and my daughter. It is a cute and inspiring account of who Dr. Goodall was as a child and how those interests, her patience, her research and her determination lead her to become as revered and important as she is today. An empowering story told simply and beautifully, followed by a call to action ~ ways to get involved and help make the world a better place.