BookS on MondaY: Husband-wife team Bruce & Heather Galpert talk about their new children’s book, MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY, a mouthwatering discussion on a breakfast staple, the environment, more

By Leslie Lindsay 

Can a pancake save the world? That’s the question this delightful children’s tale sets out to seek. 

Before going fishing one day, Ethan eats his favorite breakfast–pancakes! As his mom explains how pancakes are made with the help of the sun, clouds, rain, animals, and farmers, Ethan sees the world in a new way. 30764934

While playing outside, Ethan decides to create a big splash by throwing a can of in the lake and accidentally contaminates the environment. Time passes and one day Ethan notices that his pancakes taste different. Could that can in the lake have made that change? Ethan enlists the help of his friends to correct his mistake. Do Ethan and his friends repair that mistake, but most of all–what do they learn in the process?

Today, I am honored to have Bruce Galpert here to chat with us…over a big plate of pancakes! 

Leslie Lindsay: I’m always curious about what inspired the idea behind stories, what drives someone to spend countess hours crafting a story…can you tell us your inspiration behind MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY?

Bruce Galpert: As a young father with two sons, I read a lot to my kids…I also spent most Sundays cooking pancakes with and for them–I ate quite a few myself! Trying to teach my kids life lessons, recycling and protecting the environment were also concepts that were important, but difficult to teach to young kids. I always felt that it was hard for children to grasp how their actions could impact the environment positively or negatively. The idea of MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY! came out of that quest.

L.L.: Tell us more about the character of Ethan. How would you describe him? Is he modeled after anyone in particular, your own son, perhaps?

Bruce Galpert: Ethan is just like my youngest son Evan was at that age. The character of Ethan is built around Evan: Ethan is eight years old, observant, intelligent, fun loving, sweet and kind to nature, animals and others. He loves his pancakes and his mother!  He is smart and funny, has tons of friends, and is always asking questions.  In real life, I now have a three-year old grandson named Ethan by way of my son Matthew, so all bases are covered!

L.L.: Writing is certainly not easy or glamorous–at least not all the time. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY! ?

Bruce Galpert: Getting started, the beginning, the middle, and the end! Writing is not my strong suit! Fortunately for me, my wife Heather came into my life. Not only did she inherit my family, but she inherited this project of 20 years that I was unable to complete, even after attending children’s book writing workshops given by some of the best writers in the business. She is credited for helping me put a structure around the story and move it from an idea to something I can hold and read to my grandkids.

L.L.: What was the most rewarding moment you experienced while writing this book?

Bruce Galpert: Seeing the beautiful artwork that Barbara Cate did, and how it worked in harmony with the writing to really tell the story. Heather and I have had such a wonderful time working on this together – it’s our baby.

204255_origL.L.: How much research did you do for the book? What type of research did you do?

Bruce Galpert: Countless Sundays making all kinds of pancakes: blueberry, chocolate, apple fritters. Flipping pancakes and spending time with my boys, was the extent of my research, the best kind! And sadly, watching the growing environmental stress and crisis we are facing as the years march on.

L.L.: What does your writing process look like?

Bruce Galpert: A lot of hair pulling and the words just fall into place. Heather is the the writer in the family, I’m a numbers guy. She helped me tease out the story.

L.L.: Writers get their inspiration from all places. Where do you turn for inspiration?

Bruce Galpert: Heather

L.L.: I love children’s books and I know exactly why: they were embedded in my young life as my dad read to me after work, his arms draped over my shoulders. Where did your interest in writing–and reading–children’s books begin?

Bruce Galpert: I have always had my favorite books…The 4 Chinese Brothers, Ferdinand the Bull, A Fly Went By, A Fish out of Water, Go Dog Go…many of these were based on cause and effect…progressive events.  I am also a cartoon addict, still to this day I spend more time watching cartoons than any other medium.  My son Evan is a brilliant voice over artist and my dream is to see him as a character in an animated film.

L.L.: Switching gears a bit, what are some ways to get young people interested in the environment and what foods they eat?

Bruce Galpert: Farmer’s Markets, natural groceries, growing seeds from a packet at home. I think getting kids to engage with nature is the best way…sadly this is so hard for many kids around the world. I had the fortune to live in both Japan and the Philippines as a child and young adult, and the differences in the way each of those cultures reveres and cares for their environment is vast. It really begins culturally at a very young age.

L.L.: How should kids be taught about personal responsibility and their role in sustainability?

Bruce Galpert: By their parents, actions speak the loudest.

L.L.: How would you describe the importance of investing in our children?

Bruce Galpert: They are all we have for the future, a dollar invested in them is worth many more dollars in return down the road. You are seeing this in action today with all of the technology innovations from well-educated Millennials

L.L.: So I have to ask, how do you like to eat your pancakes? 

Bruce Galpert: I like putting chopped apples in the batter, adding cinnamon, and then topping with a blend of butter, syrup, and raspberry jam! Don’t forget to sprinkle powdered sugar on at the last minute. [Getting hungry for pancakes?! I am. Check out this delicious recipe from Bruce and Heather] Absolutely-fantastic-peanut-butter-pancakes-with-a-jelly-topping.jpg

L.L.: What do you hope readers take away from My Pancakes Taste Different Today!?

Bruce Galpert: I hope that parents read the book to their kids and that the book is also used as an early reader. This will be the best way to teach children how their actions impact their world.

L.L.: What future projects are you working on?

Bruce Galpert: We have two books in the hopper that we are both very excited about.  One thing at a time I am told by my wife, but creativity has no timeline!

To connect with Bruce and Heather, please visit these social media links:

  • Hashtag #ThePancakesBook

  • Facebook: The Pancakes Book

  • Instagram and Pinterest: thepancakesbook

  • GoodReads Giveaway: Enter to WIN! (Beginning October 10-22, 2016)
  • Book & Author Website

About the Authors & Illustrator: Bruce lives with his wife Heather in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He attended the University of Dallas, where he majored in International Finance and Economics. Bruce has two adult sons, Matthew and Evan, and two grandchildren, Ethan and Avery. Growing up, Bruce lived in the Philippine Islands and Japan. He enjoys traveling, writing, skiing, chess, playing guitar, cooking and entertaining, playing tennis and golf. As a professional, Bruce has been an investment advisor for 32 years, he recommends that the best investment is an investment in our children. Heather thinks Bruce makes the best pancakes in the Whole Wide World!

Heather lives with her husband Bruce in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Heather has worked and volunteered most of her professional career in producing special events and fund raising for non profit organizations such as the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, The Santa Fe Community Foundation, and The Santa Fe Botanical Garden. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College where she studied writing, art and design. Heather enjoys traveling, entertaining, decorating, hiking and playing tennis and golf. Bruce thinks Heather is a gourmet chef and budding tennis star.

Barbara: The Artist

Santa Fe artist Barbara Cate is an illustrator of books and has a greeting card line which may be seen at mesamooncards.com and at GardenandSoul.com. My Pancakes Taste Different Today! showcases her latest paintings. Barbara has lived in Hawaii and enjoys teaching children. Heather and Bruce think Barbara is the bee’s knees. 2892364_orig.jpg

Purchase MY PANCAKES TASTE DIFFERENT TODAY from these fine retailers: 

You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay, through these social media links:

[Special thanks to PRbytheBook for this review copy. Images courtesy of author’s publicist. Interior illustrations retrieved from author’s website. Pancake image retrieved from]

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BookS on MondaY: Daria Song’s newest coloring book THE NIGHT VOYAGE on imagination, fantasy, magic, and why wordless books are beneficial

By Leslie Lindsay 9780399579042

We’re back with another amazing round of children’s literature for the next few weeks. I’m in love with children’s picture books and there’s a reason: they’re nostalgic to those days when I’d wait (not so patiently) for my dad to arrive home from work so he could read to me from my Disney mail-order books the floor of my large closet, arm draped over my tiny shoulders, and ‘do’ his voices, making them higher or lower, goofy, or serious, always with a glint in his eye. It was the beginning of a love affair with the written word.

THE NIGHT VOYAGE is highly evocative of PETER PAN meets ALICE IN WONDERLAND meets THE NUTCRACKER (VELVETEEN RABBIT, MARY POPPINS, really I could go on) propelling readers far from the floor of their walk-in closet and into a sort of Narnia…it’s at once delightful, whimsical, and highly detailed.
Daria Song is the author-illustrator and creative mind behind The Time Garden and The Time Chamber comes the third in the series. Technically, THE NIGHT VOYAGE is an adult-style coloring book, but this lovely colorable story is relevant for all, children included. In fact, my artistic 11-year old daughter is in awe and cannot wait to get her hands on this book.
 
THE NIGHT VOYAGE (Random House, August 2016) is an evocatively illustrated story of a little girl who is swept away on the eve of her birthday by her toy train conductor on a magical journey to distribute gifts around the globe, from London to Paris to Granada. Following the trend of the previous books, Daria Song enchants readers with beautifully intricate art that her fans have come to love, featuring a world of paper cranes, penny-farthing bicycles, trolleys, cityscapes, and hot air balloon-filled skies.
But  you don’t necessarily have to read (or color!) the books in order, I fell right into the magic of this story. Devotees of Daria Song will say this is a continuation of other adventures in the serious, but if you’re just into unique art, magical stories of adventure and whimsy, you won’t need anymore too get launch your mind.
Be Sure to Take a Peek at this flip-through video.
Keep in mind that there are very few words to this story. The first few pages have some text, but then it’s up to you, dear reader, to pull from the depths of your imagination to fill in the blanks. It’s a dream, almost like falling down Alice’s rabbit’s hole.
Here are some discussion points to keep in mind if you read/color THE NIGHT VOYAGE:
  • Why wordless books have meaning.
  • How one person can interpret a series of events differently that someone else.
  • How one’s story vision might be different than someone else’s.
  • Make up your own continuation to THE NIGHT VOYAGE.
  • Draw your own companion art and share with others.
  • Compose a song (or look for one in your collection) that connects to the art within the book. What kind of song did you select?
  • Is the book evocative of a dream? Can you share a dream you had recently that relates?
  • Makes a darling gift for a young/middle grade girl

2116821About the Author: Daria Song is an artist living and working in Seoul, Korea, and has drawn inspiration from time spent in foreign cities as a child. The Night Voyage is the perfect way for coloring enthusiasts to add their own artistic flair to some of the most striking world wonders.

You can connect with me, Leslie Lindsay at:

 

[Special thanks to B. Leahy at Ten Speed Press/Random House. Images retrieved from Random House website on 10.2.16. With the exception of portion in quotations, all written material and review is my own.]