Monday, February 20, 2012

Interview with Gladys Barbieri, author of Rubber Shoes: A Lesson in Gratitude

Tell us a bit about you:  I'm a first grade teacher and I will have been teaching for 15 years this July. I graduated from the University of San Francisco and went to graduate school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, receiving my M.A in Elementary Education.

Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you
1. I'm a really outgoing and social person so people are surprised to learn that I prefer doing things in a small and intimate setting like reading and watching movies at home.

2. I love, love, love home baked chocolate chip cookies! I can devour them quickly, chased by a super cold glass of milk:)

3.  Deep down I would love to be on the show: Dancing With The Stars! Not sure if I would be any good, but I would be up for the challenge.

What inspired you to write Rubber Shoes: A Lesson in Gratitude/Los zapatos de goma??
People often ask me when I make time to write and the truth is I don't have a set time to write. So far the stories that I have written have just come to me during a long run with my dog Chucho. Usually I see an image or two in my mind and in the course of a few months that story literally presents itself to me. And that's when I do sit down and scribble away on a note pad. The wonderful part of this writing process is that the more open I make myself to receiving such stories, the more and more stories that I am able to write and hopefully one day share.  That's pretty inspiring!

What do you hope your books will impart to children?
I hope my books impart valuable lessons that teach children and adults love and connection. Children's books are so powerful because they lend themselves to discussing so many relevant topics from girl power, being grateful to taking care of the environment.

What are you working on now?
If all works as planned I will start the next book this spring. I can't say too much about it other than it has to do with girl power and the color pink. Can't wait to see what the finished product looks like.

Do you have any favorite children's authors or favorite books?I want to have my own children's bookstore so I can store and share all of my favorite books. Just today I was introduced to HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ by Tad Hills.  But my all time favorites are: Ezra Jack Keats' books, author of THE SNOWY DAY. I find it pretty remarkable that he was the first to introduce a little black boy as the main character way back when in the 1960's. Jan Brett books, author of THE MITTEN are great because the illustrations teach kids how to infer. Judy Blume books and RAMONA QUIMBY books are classics that still make me smile.

What author would you like to meet and what would you say?
Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue.  I have read and reread this book many times. I then read book 2 and 3 (it's a trilogy).  Needless to say I was blown away.  The concepts were so immensely new and yet they absolutely resonated with me. I'm sure it's no coincidence that shortly after reading Conversations With God I began to write. The funny thing about my writing experience is that every time I finish a story I usually end up quite moved with tears in my eyes because I know the lessons contained in the stories come from a higher place other than me.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Well, I'm a teacher first and foremost. This writing business is very new to me. But given the opportunity I would have loved to be a dancer: a ballerina, a flamenco dancer or a tap dancer.  Next, a children's bookstore owner. You never know, I might win the lottery and make those dreams happen.

What obstacles have you experienced in your writing journey?
Too many to tell...but I will share this one experience.
Being that the book: Rubber Shoes/Los zapatos de goma is a bilingual children's book written in English and Spanish, some bookstores have not been interested in carrying it. That's a bummer.  But like I said earlier, for every person that doesn't like the book, there's another person saying what a great story it is.  I'll just focus on the positive responses, makes for a brighter and more hopeful day.

What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
Write! Write! Write!  There is a lot of truth in that saying, "There is something for everyone". Someone might think your writing is just plain horrible. However, there might be someone who thinks that what you have to say is just plain brilliant. No matter what, just keep writing.

Anything else you would like to share?
When I was little there were sometimes green monsters under my bed. They would miraculously disappear whenever my mom turned on the night light.

Click here to read Rubber Shoes Book Review
Where can people buy your books? Do you have a web page or fan page?Rubber Shoes/Los zapatos de goma can be purchased on my website:
On my website parents and teachers can also find educational resources and comprehension questions in both English and Spanish.
Books can also be purchased on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

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