Welcome to Friday’s Kid Lit Love! Today I’m super happy to be interviewing Nancy Churnin and reviewing her picture book, CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT, published in 2018 by Albert Whitman and Company. Nancy is the author of several more books listed below.
I was pleased and excited to receive CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT for a few reasons. First off, I’ve never written a picture book biography but it is something I’ve been thinking about trying so reading lots and lots of picture book biographies is a goal for me right now. Nancy’s book really impressed me in how it can take on the feeling of a fictional story in the way it is written. Her particular style makes a great mentor text for me. Yay!
And then there’s the fact that no matter how old I get, I just love getting mail. Any kind will do (except bills of course). Letters, packages, etc. If it is addressed to me, I always open it with anticipation.
Finally, I grew up with a Dad who had a passion for golf. Along with this passion, he was raised with a set of beliefs that are challenged by this story. Though I have great love and respect for my father, some of his beliefs needed to be challenged, and I’ve always known that so I’m really happy this book exists. I’m well aware that there are more people who were raised in the same manner as my father and share those strongly held, yet misguided beliefs. So for me, the story is very relatable.
From the opening lines of the story, I was hooked. I wanted to turn the page. Would Charlie get caught? Nancy’s writing brings Charlie’s story to life. Children will root for Charlie as he pursues his dream to play golf. From his beginnings secretly playing late at night, to his days serving as a caddy, to playing on the PGA tour in front of a cheering crowd, the story takes us through Charlie’s golfing career, inspiring us through the challenges he faced. It also celebrates his accomplishment in terms of being the first step towards allowing black people the freedom to play on the PGA tour which had been impossible before Charlie Sifford. I highly recommend this story . It would serve as a great discussion starter in any classroom. What if your most loved passtime had to be hidden from others?
Introducing……author, Nancy Churnin! Welcome, Nancy!
|What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Words and stories are the invisible threads that connect us all together in one large human spirit. It is the most incredible joy to learn that something I’ve written has inspired someone to smile, to hope, to believe that he or she can make a positive difference in the world.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Write what you love! What will make your book stand out is the passion you put into it. If you write what you love, you will find yourself telling the story the way only you can tell it. That authenticity of you speaking from the heart will go to the heart of your readers. Also, persevere and have patience. It’s not for us to know how long or winding the journey will be. But if you keep going, you will get there.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired by people who who have dreams that can’t be deterred, by people who are kind, by people who persevere until they’ve made the world a better place. Those are the people I like to write about, the people that I hope will inspire kids to dream big and help others, too.
Why do you write for children?
Kids are open to inspiration. I hope my books touch all ages and it has meant so much to me when I’ve been told by adults that they’ve been moved by my stories, too. But kids have more time to think and are more open to asking questions that go beyond to survival to how they can make the world a better place. That’s why I think books about inspiring people can have more of an impact on children than on any other group. Also I just love spending time with kids — they tell you exactly what they think, with no filters, which is always fun and refreshing!
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
With CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT, I hope readers will take home the message that you can achieve your dreams if you don’t give up and that by achieving your dreams, you can open the door for others to achieve theirs, too.
Author’s bio: Nancy Churnin is the theater critic for The Dallas Morning News and author of THE WILLIAM HOY STORY, HOW A DEAF BASEBALL PLAYER CHANGED THE GAME (Albert Whitman), on the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids list, the 2017 Texas Library Association’s 2X2 and Topaz lists, the 2018 Illinois School Library Media Association’s Monarch Award Master List and Connecticut’s 2018 Charter Oak Children’s Book Awards list. MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN (Creston Books) is the 2018 winner of the South Asia Book Award, a finalist for the 2018 Children and Teen’s Choice Book Awards, a 2017 Junior Library Guild selection, a 2018 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, on the 2018 ILA-CBC Children’s Choices list and a Silver Eureka Award-winner. CHARLIE TAKES HIS SHOT: HOW CHARLIE SIFFORD BROKE THE COLOR BARRIER IN GOLF was featured at the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis May 19, 2018. Coming out in 2018: IRVING BERLIN, THE IMMIGRANT BOY WHO MADE AMERICA SING in May and THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE in October. In Spring 2019: MARTIN & ANNE. A native New Yorker, Nancy is a graduate of Harvard University, with a master’s from Columbia University School of Journalism.