With Children’s Author, Miranda Paul
The ABC song is one of the first fun songs we teach our children to sing. Why? Because the alphabet is the backbone for learning to read and write. For some people, reading and writing is not fun at all.
My new series, ABC’S OFF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD offers a new way to have fun with the alphabet. Every week, a children’s author, illustrator, literary agent or editor will share their ‘top of the head’ answers to the ABC category list they were given, A to Z. Following their answers, I ask a few questions to gain a little insight into their world.
Feel free to play along, maybe your answer off the top of your head will match theirs. Enjoy!
Today’s contestant is children’s author, Miranda Paul, known for her variety of picture books from non-fiction to fiction. Here are a few:
Below is a list of categories from A – Z. Off the top of your head, fill in the blank for each category.
BREAKFAST FOOD: Croissant
COLOR: Blue (specifically, a turquoise/aquamarine shade the color of the sea where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean)
DISNEY MOVIE: Hercules
EVERY CHILD: is awesome
GREEN (SOMETHING): scarab beetles
HABITAT: forest with absurdly tall and fragrant pine trees towering over a soft blanket of burnt orange needles
ILLUSTRATOR: hopefully my future self, but for now – seeing Jason Chin’s amazing illustrations of our upcoming book NINE MONTHS has taken my breath away
JUNK DRAWER ITEM: coins
KNOW HOW TO: scuba dive
LANDSCAPE FEATURE: rocky crag overlooking water
MYTHICAL CREATURE: the fates
NONSENSE WORD: Borgles, a name my kids made up for our cat, whose real name is Dog
ODDS OR EVENS: evens
PLANET: Risa or Vulcan
QUIET PLACE: Sunroom
RIVER: “River of Dreams” (Billy Joel)
SYNONYM FOR GREAT: Stupendous
TALL TALE CHARACTER: Slue Foot Sue, but only because that was t
UNUSUAL ANIMAL: Blobfish
WHISTLE (CAN YOU)…: Amazingly well
X-MEN CHARACTER: Storm
YOUNG ADULT BOOK: The Giver by Lois Lowry
ZANIEST THING YOU’VE DONE: Recite poetry from inside a crocodile pit (find it on YouTube!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKZ8aCU-clI
ME: Hello Miranda! You are an experienced traveler and have just given me thought to the contrast in color of water between the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean; their blending of hues creates yours and my oldest daughter’s favorite color. In your travels what other contrasts can you think of that when married, create something wonderful?
MP: Orange and chocolate. Well, almost anything and chocolate.
ME: Ah, a human after my own heart! I love chocolate and you got the almost anything part right. 😉 You named Billy Joels’ RIVER OF DREAMS as your RIVER answer. Stupendous answer and a terrific whistling tune (probably one you have whistled long after you heard the song playing)! The song is uplifting, sharing with us how life really is for everyone, no matter their path. Does this song have a special meaning for you and if so, why?
MP: Middle school was especially rough for me. But once a week, in my school’s sad excuse for a music room—the attic, with carpet and a dry-erase board—Ms. Thomas would play a pop song of the week. Remember, this is pre-cell phones and iPods, and while some of us owned cassette-tape Walkmans, they weren’t allowed during school. Songs like Billy Joel’s River of Dreams offered me a 4-minute escape from the harsh realities of seventh grade. I’ve loved Billy Joel since!
ME: The cassette tape Walkmans were the best! Much easier than carrying a boombox on your shoulder. Billy Joel has been a favorite of mine since junior high years too. Like Billy Joel, Greek Mythology offers many life lessons. Please tell us more about the mythical creatures, THE FATES.
MP: Specifically, when I mentioned them, I was referring to the Fates as depicted in the Disney movie, Hercules. They speak in verse and it’s hilarious. They’re like the three stooges.
ME: Wow! I had forgotten about that movie. The Fates were hilarious in that! Now I have to rewatch HERCULES😊. I have to admit, your zaniest thing you have ever done, tops every zany thing I have ever done. How safe were you in the crocodile pit while you read? Was this a place you visited often while you lived in Gambia? And, were you relieved to get out of the crocodile pit or a little sad you had to go?
MP: There was a biologist waiting right off screen. And, to ease your anxiety, it wasn’t the first time I had visited this crocodile pool nor touched one of these giants. I was a little relieved not to have to sit with my back to them once filming was over, but I’m an animal person so I don’t mind staying all day at places like Kachikaly.
ME: Me too, I can watch and be around animals for hours. Both of the names for your cat make me smile. How did both names come about? Borgles is a unique name!
MP: My cat was named Dog (Doggy) by my son when he was 2. As for their nickname for him, who knows? Kids will be kids—especially mine. If you care to know, we have three more cats and their names are: Nico, Bat, and Stormee Patience.
ME: Kids are the best! Those are cool names for cats. They are lucky to have a loving family to care for them. 😊 Great family photo btw!
Blobfish are mysterious, and rightfully so since they live in the deep waters of the oceans. Therefore, one would not expect to see a blobfish while scuba diving. What are your favorite finds while scuba diving and where?
MP: A couple weeks ago I was snorkeling in Saint Lucia, and my daughter and I saw a massive crab. I of course, pictured buttered crab legs. Just kidding. Sort of.
Dolphins are my favorite, but you don’t have to dive to see those. When underwater now I think it’s fun to find both Nemo and Dory.
ME: Someone likes seafood, not just seeing food underwater. Who can find Nemo or
Dory first, you or your daughter?
Using as many of your category answers as possible, please write a synopsis for a children’s story. (You have a plethora of stories within your answers right now, that I am even more excited to read your upcoming books.) And what upcoming projects can you tell us about?
MP: Uh…I got nothing. A scarab beetle on a quest for the ripest mango? That’s terrible, but my upcoming projects are not! In May, I’ve got a co-authored book called ADVENTURES TO SCHOOL out with my husband, Baptiste Paul. And this fall I’ve got a really sweet book called MIA MOVES OUT coming from Knopf Children’s. I’m super excited for a book that comes out early next year called NINE MONTHS. It’s illustrated by Jason Chin and captures both the wonder and the science of a baby as it develops in the womb. I already know the art will be stunning.
Thanks for having me!
ME: Short and sweet works for me for a synopsis. I can visualize the journey the scarab beetle is on in its’ quest for the ripest mango. That said, I am really excited about your upcoming projects that you describe!!! MIA MOVES OUT reminds of when a child threatens to run away when they feel the consequences of their actions are unjust and how that could play out. And… I love Jason Chin’s work.
Congratulations to you and your fellow picture book author, husband Baptiste Paul, on your new book coming out!!
Readers, you can learn more about Miranda, and order her books, including her new May release book at http://mirandapaul.com/
Here are other books by Miranda:
You can connect with Miranda on these social media outlets:
Thank you for playing the ABC Game with us Miranda!
And thank you Readers for stopping by!
Have a stupendous weekend!