Winners' Circle - Marvin Mayer

October 4, 2019


Welcome to the Winner's Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Today we are celebrating published author Marvin Mayer!

What is the name of your book? Who is the publisher?

Come On, Grandpa; You Can Do It! published by White Bird Publications, LLC

The Day X Ran Away published by SFA Press

Ferdinand Frog's Flight published by 4RV Publishing

The Queen's Tea published by White Bird Publications, LLC

Sammy Squirrel and the Sunflower Seeds published by PublishAmerica

Case of the Stolen Stash published by 4RV Publishing

Give us a short summary of your book.

Come on, Grandpa, You Can Do It! is a story of a 6-year old who's hero—his grandpa—is stricken by a stroke. It explains what a stroke is, how stroke can affect the person's appearance, speech, and physical abilities. It goes on to tell young children they cannot "catch" a stroke in the manner of "catching a cold" and that the child is in no way responsible for his/her loved one suffering the stroke. Finally, it offers suggestions on how the child can help his/her loved one recover, mostly by continuing to show love and support, patience and understanding. The book is written in rhyming verse.

Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.

On Thursday morning, January 19, 2017, my wife suffered a massive stroke. She survived, but the aftermath of that stroke—drooping lower lip, inability to talk, paralysis of her right arm and leg—presented an entirely different person from the one she was on January 18th. It was scary to me, but I could only imagine how scary it would be for a young child to see a parent or grandparent affected this way. So, I wrote Come On, Grandpa... in an effort to explain strokes and ease a child's fears upon seeing their loved one changed both physically and emotionally. I shared my manuscript with my critiquing partners, and with medical professionals to get their input, then submitted it to a publisher who already had published another of my books. White Bird Publishing, LLC  immediately embraced the story, recommended an illustrator, and the rest, as is often said, is history! 

How long have you been writing?

In April, 2006, I retired from my asset manager's position with a major Mortgage Loan Servicing Company. My wife handed me an application from The Institute of Children's Literature and encouraged me to apply. I did, and while still studying the principles of writing through that correspondence school process, wrote my first book, Sammy Squirrel and the Sunflower Seeds. So, I guess the answer is, I have been writing children's books, since 2007. 

What's your favorite genre to write and why?

I love picture books. As a child, was not an avid reader, so I like to write cheerful, fun books to help youngsters gain a love of reading. Pictures help attract the child's attention and bring my words to life. 

What ICL courses have your taken?

Writing for Children and Teens

How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?

Taking the course taught me about such basics as voice, point of view, character development, plot, and more. It also introduced me to the path to publication and how essential editing is to creating a well written book.        

Do you have a favorite writing tip you'd like to share?

Don't quit! Learn to accept rejection as part of the process leading to eventual publication, and do participate in both a writers group and 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 return to my elementary school years, and tell myself to embrace reading. Reading is critically important to later successes in life.

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.

It's hard to pinpoint THE most valuable thing I learned from ICL. I was so "green" when I entered the program that everything was important. However, if I had to choose the single most important thing it was probably POV. Just realizing there can be various points of view in any situation and that each can be different from the others was an eye opener. It made me give serious thought to who would be "telling" my stories. 

In today's changing world, do you think e-books will replace paper and ink books?

Most people, especially young ones, like to hold a book in their hands, turn the pages, and run their hands over the pictures. Having said that, my own great grandchildren actively use iPhones, iPads, or other electronic devices to a far greater degree than I thought likely. I expect paper and ink books to continue to exist for the remainder of my lifetime, but I see that market shrinking year after year. To me, that's sad, but it's the reality of a technologically changing world.   

After a lengthy career in banking and finance, Marvin S. Mayer retired to the Piney Woods of East Texas where he found the time to focus on his passion for writing. He became an active volunteer at his church; as a reader for the public library’s Book Buddy program; at public elementary schools; and at local children’s protective agencies, spending time with youngsters and trying to bring a little sunshine into their lives. That’s the philosophy he incorporates into his stories; no lectures, no social issues, no violence – just books that are  entertaining and fun to read. 

To start your own path to the Winners' Circle, show us a sample of work and let us help you become the writer you want to be. Click here.


Linda Nelson Ellis
October 4, 2019

I met Marvin through the East Texas Writers Guild. I have purchased every one of his books for my Grandchildren. His latest dealing with strokes, "Come on, Grandpa, You Can Do IT" is one that needs to be in every doctor's office—or at least available to youngsters at schools. My sister has suffered a stroke, and her nieces and nephews can better understand what's happening. Very proud to know him and waiting to see his next publication.

Patricia J La Vigne
October 4, 2019

I had the privilege to read and critique Marvin Mayer's book at his request before publication. He reaches the heart of the matter and really helps explain the disabilities caused by a stroke in a way that children who hear or read the story can remember and not be frightened by the content. I have even offered it to Guidance Counselors in elementary schools to use as the basis of instruction, especially if one of their students has witnessed an adult coping with the aftermath of a stroke. Pediatricians would also benefit from having the book in their possession to help alleviate any fears a child might encounter through the experience.

Add Comment

Sign up for our weekly tips & market leads. 

If you write for children, sign up for our ICL newsletter.

Writing for adults? Sign up for the IFW newsletter.