Welcome to the Winners’ Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Bonnie Lindauer!
What is the name of your book? Who is the publisher?
Hannah G. Solomon Dared to Make a Difference
Give us a short summary of your book.
Even as a child, when Hannah G. Solomon looked at Chicago, the city where she was born, she saw unfairness all around her. Many people were poor and living in terrible conditions. Immigrants from other countries struggled to survive in their new home. Hannah G. Solomon dared to make a difference. At a time when women had very little voice, she joined the fight to improve the lives of others, founding the National Council of Jewish Women—the first organization to unite Jewish women around the country. She fought to make life better for others, especially women and children…in Chicago and beyond.
Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published.
As a member of the National Council of Jewish Women, San Francisco section, I knew something about the founder, Hannah G. Solomon and the award given each year to a woman whose social justice work personifies our founder, Hannah G. Solomon.
I researched Hannah’s life and discovered there was no published biography, but I did discover her autobiography, an oral interview and several articles. I first wrote and published an adult article about her life on a Jewish history website. Then I realized that her life would be inspirational for kids and began working on a non-fiction, picture book. It took me about two years with many critiques and revisions to finally get it accepted by Kar-Ben Publishing in 2019.
How long have you been writing?
What’s your favorite genre to write and why?
Fiction because I feel like it’s more creative, although I am a trained researcher so I do enjoy writing non-fiction also.
Please list the course or courses you’ve taken with us.
How has taking our courses helped your writing and/or career?
Yes, it most definitely has. What I learned from the course was to first try getting published in children’s magazines, which I did. That gave me the confidence and experience to later focus on picture books and MG novels.
Have any of your class assignments been published? If so, where and when?
Yes. An assignment that required me to observe closely a child and his interaction with other children resulted in my story, “A Foot Taller” published in Guardian Angel Kids, June 2013 issue.
Do you have a favorite writing tip you’d like to share?
Never give up and don’t let rejections discourage you.
Also, stay involved in a critique group.
If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I’d go back to 2013, not long after I had completed my course work with the Institute. I had a great idea and wrote a picture book manuscript, hired an acquaintance to illustrate it, and started sending it out before I even had it critiqued. I was very naive about how hard it is to write a good picture book.
Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL and IFW.
Probably the most important thing was for me to really know my main character— what he/she thinks, likes, hates, etc. and to use sensory images and language in my stories.
What has made the strongest impression on you in eight years of writing PB manuscripts?
The partnership I share with illustrators, and how critical it is to “strip” out unnecessary text from my manuscripts that is better shown by illustration.
Bonnie Lindauer is a retired librarian and former high school teacher, a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature, a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and a recent participant in 12 x 12 PB Challenge. Her debut non-fiction PB, HANNAH G. SOLOMON MAKES A DIFFERENCE debuted in September 2021. She has also published many fiction and non-fiction stories and articles in children’s magazines, such as in FACES: PEOPLE, PLACES AND CULTURE AND GUARDIAN ANGEL KIDS.