Author Spotlight: Charlotte Watson Sherman
Jan. 31, 2020
We are excited to feature picture book author Charlotte Watson Sherman and her new book BROWN SUGAR BABE, illustrated by Akem (Boyds Mills Press, Feb 4, 2020).
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Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
When I was a book crazy schoolgirl reading under the covers with a flashlight in the Pacific Northwest, I never dreamed I'd one day be featured in a treasured resource for writers like Kidlit411. Thank you!
Pippi Longstocking led to my love of books and reading and eventually, wordplay. Reading adventures with two precious grandchildren sparked a desire to re-attempt writing for children after a decades-long hiatus.
Congrats on your recent picture book, BROWN SUGAR BABE. Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
BROWN SUGAR BABE is a love poem that affirms the beauty of brown.
I heard a beautiful brown-skinned child declare she was pink and I recalled the doll experiments where children were asked to choose between black and white dolls, and due to segregation and programming, often chose the white dolls. The experiments fueled the Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision that led to attempts to end segregation in American schools. I wanted to write something that inspired self-love in brown-skinned children by exploring the beauty of brown in non-typical ways—through sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
Ha! It's been a long and winding, bumpy, sweet road. BROWN SUGAR BABE is my first published book in over twenty years. Since I didn't know if I'd ever be published again, but have committed to writing for the rest of my life, publication or no, and the longer I write, the less I feel I know about writing, I joined SCBWI and continue to develop my craft via writing classes like the ones provided by The Storyteller Academy. I participated in the April 2018 DVPit and an editor, Jes Negron, liked my pitch.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm revising a second picture book about plastic in the ocean, MERMAID KENZIE: PROTECTOR OF THE DEEPS and attempting a middle grade novel in verse about bullying.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Never give up. Find your community of writers/artists for mutual support. Never stop learning the craft of writing. Keep reading, especially now, in this technological age. Perfect a dance move for rejections.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Even though I can be a superficial Libra who craves beauty, my moon is in Scorpio, and that gives me some depth :)
Where can people find you online?
I'll also be co-leading a bookmaking workshop, THE BEAUTY OF BROWN, with visual artist Jill Littlewood, at the February 8, 2020, California School Library Association conference.
Charlotte Watson Sherman grew up in the Emerald City, whose natural beauty inspired her love for the color brown (and green and blue). She lives in California near a marine sanctuary.
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