Kid Lit Village: James’ Reading Rescue

Hello lovely readers! And welcome back to Kid Lit Village. Today I have an interview with Dianna Wilson Sirkovsky along with a feature of her book, James’ Reading Rescue, published by Clavis Books. The book is Illustrated by Sara Casilda.

James’ Reading Rescue


James struggles with reading – and even has to miss recess to practice! Feeling blue, he stops by the animal rescue where he likes to play with the cats and meets Ghost, who hides in a box. James wants to help Ghost overcome his fear and begins reading to him and the other cats. What he doesn’t realize is that his kindness is improving his reading skills. It’s a win-win!

Welcome to the blog, Dianna! And congratulations on the publication of your book!

Dianna Wilson Sirkovsky

Please tell us a bit about why you write for children.

1. I have always wanted to write for children. I fell in love with picture books reading to my children many moons ago. Several years ago I came across a true story I thought would make a wonderful picture book and decided I had to write it. In picture books I love the way words and illustrations work together to weave a story,  creating a book a child can love for years.

What things challenge you about being a writer?

2. Every time I sit down to write I feel challenged. Have I found my main character’s voice? Have I achieved what I want with this story in the fewest possible words? Will children and their parents love it as much as I do? It is always a challenge, but one that always beckons me forward towards the next story.

Please tell us about a writer you admire.

3. There are so many wonderful writers out there! I have a special fondness and admiration for Vivian Kirkfield. Like myself, she began writing later in life. She was an inspiration to me. She often writes about real people, as do I, and she is so giving of her time to the writing community. She really is a beacon of joy and light.

Can you share some of your favourite picture books?

4. So many fun and fabulous picture books! I loved to read Gregory The Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat to my kids and it still stands the test of time. If you haven’t read it please treat yourself! Other favorites are Vivian Kirkfield’s Making Their Voices Heard and From Here To There; This Book is Spineless by Lindsay Leslie; Great Joy, Kate DiCamillos first picture book; The Rough Patch by Brian Lies; Luis and Tabitha by Stephanie Campisi and The Bear Ate Your Sandwich which is my favorite story within a story. Each has something special to offer readers!

Please tell us a little about your path to publication.

6. My path to publication was a lucky one. I was a debut author with no idea about the process of writing and publication. I was helped along the way by generous people whom I contacted and by doing LOTS of research. I sent out my first story to 40 publishers and was fortunate enough to be accepted by Clavis. I had to read their email 3 times before I realized it wasn’t a nice refusal! It took around 3 years from first writing the story to actual publication.

Where did you get your inspiration for the book?

7. The inspiration for James’ Reading Rescue came from a true story I read online a number of years ago about a young boy who struggled with reading and improved by reading aloud to cats at the local rescue. The story captured my heart. My own son struggled a bit with reading and my family and I are deeply committed to animal rescue. My kids grew up with 9 rescue cats. It just seemed like a story I had to write. A few weeks ago I had a zoom reading with children at that original cat rescue in Berks County PA. It was a special moment for me and felt like  bringing the story full circle. Just wonderful.

I mostly write stories inspired by true stories. There are so many wonderful and interesting ones out there waiting to be told!

Dianna, thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for Kid Lit Village readers. We wish you the best with your book and future books as well!

Thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Village blog today! Please support all our Kid Lit Village authors in whatever way you can. Leave a comment here, request their books from the library, or post a review!

If you’re curious about books by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Cynthia Mackey

Published by cynthiahm

I am a preschool teacher/music teacher who loves to take photos and write stories in her spare time. My dream is to become a published author. Follow my journey as I work towards turning my dream into a reality.

One thought on “Kid Lit Village: James’ Reading Rescue

  1. I always love hearing the story behind the story. James’ Reading Rescue is an awesome book that will help many children who battle similar challenges. Thank you for a wonderful interview, Cynthia. And thank you, dear Dianna, for your kind words. It’s a joy to connect with incredible people like you!

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