After reading, thoroughly enjoying and recommending several books in Barbara Ann Mojica’s Little Miss History series to friends, I was delighted when the author provided me with a copy of her latest book. As a retired teacher, I love to spread the word about wonderful new children’s books and Mojica’s series is sure to get kids hooked on history. In her latest book, Little Miss History travels to Ellis Island, the main character takes readers through the museum where we find intriguing facts, photos and illustrations encapsulating the history of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty while uncovering the plight of many of the immigrants who entered America through its gates. Although I had the opportunity to visit Ellis Island as a teen, I discovered aspects of my maternal ancestors’ entry into the USA that I plan to research further. The Little Miss History series by Barbara Ann Mojica is a valuable collection I highly recommend to teachers and parents as a wonderful way to explore US history and excite young readers to want learn more. And, today I’m honored to have the series’ talented author here with us. ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com
Welcome Barbara. To start off, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Queens. Proud to say that I worked my way through college and was the first in my family to graduate with a degree at age twenty. Receiving a scholarship, I went on to graduate school. After college, I worked as an administrative assistant for a short time before embarking on a teaching career. I taught in elementary school, then moved to special education, and later principal and special education administrator. In addition I taught dyslexic children using the Wilson Reading Program and Applied Behavioral Analysis with autistic children. Now that I am retired, I am loving my new career as a writer for a local news magazine, children’s book writer and book reviewer.
I can see you’re a busy gal with little time for boredom to set in. How about an update on your family and community?
I live in upstate New York in a rural area with my wonderful husband, who is also the illustrator and publisher of my book series. We write and draw from a cozy studio in our home overlooking a pretty lake. Together we have six children and seven grandchildren, including two sets of twins. I love to keep up with our grandchildren through social media. My oldest grandchild, six-year-old Ava, is a big Little Miss HISTORY fan. She made me proud when she dressed up as Little Miss HISTORY on favorite author day in school.
We live in a community filled with historic sites, which we enjoy visiting. Victor and I support local events like the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, library events, and fundraisers for literacy in and around our community. One of my goals for this year is to increase Little Miss HISTORY’s presence in school communities by doing more classroom visits.
Your books are so well researched and designed, Barbara. And the illustrations are marvelous. How long have you been writing?
I have been doing lots of writing since by college days. Majoring in History and minoring in English and the classics involved lots of term papers and research. Pursuing graduate degrees in History sharpened my focus, but I have always been drawn to children so I found myself entering the education field. As a college freshman, one of my professors told me my research was impeccable, but that my writing style was “turgid and bombastic.” I guess that helped me to learn how to be concise. I now write one page historical articles for a local news magazine, concise blog book reviews, and children’s nonfiction picture books that generally fall within the 500 to 700 word range. Aside from an article or two for a scholarly journal, most of my published works appeared in the last five years. Ninety percent of my work is nonfiction focusing on history.
Can you give us a synopsis of The Little Miss HISTORY series and tell us what inspired you to write these wonderful books?
The Little Miss HISTORY Travel s to….. is a series of books using the Little Miss HISTORY character as a guide. She looks like a wannabe park ranger with pig tails and hiking boots three sizes too big. The aim of these books is to whet your child’s appetite for visiting these landmarks while having fun learning history. My objective in writing these books is to make learning about history something other than a series of facts, but instead the story of the people and places who have formed the heritage of America.
Do you have a favorite line to share from the series?
My favorite line does not come from a particular book. Little Miss HISTORY‘s motto, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” sums it up for me. I believe that history is our story, not a random series of events, but a process that involves the people of the past, their successes and failures, and their connections to us in the present. How we use what we learn and preserve these treasures will have an impact on what the future holds for our descendants.
How about a favorite character?
Little Miss HISTORY is the only character contained in each of the books of the series. She is a cartoon-like character based on a younger version of myself. Like Little Miss I hiked in my local area and trekked across the globe. I have visited more than fifty countries and a good number of states in America. Lately, I have been spending more time researching, revisiting and writing rather than traveling.
If I had to pick one favorite character in my series, it is Abraham Lincoln. I love the complexity of Lincoln’s character. He was a devoted father who grieved at the loss of two sons before his own death. While known as Honest Abe, he was a pragmatist who did not hesitate to use bribery to achieve his goals. Lincoln loved life; he educated himself and became a practicing lawyer. This president opened the doors of the White House to the people and listened sincerely to their ideas. He embraced technology, using the telegraph for the first time and inventing a device to move landlocked steamboats. I admire his persistence and resolve. He is a role model for me.
What do you find is the hardest part about writing your books?
For me, the most difficult part of writing is the rewrite and editing. There is so much that I would like to include in my books. While my targeted audience is children, most of the adults who use my books in the classroom or read them to children, tell me how many new things they have learned. So I do a careful research and try to bring to light information not commonly known about the historical personages, sites and events about which I write. For example, the Native American story important to Mount Rushmore, the pollution problems in Sequoia National Park, and the bravery of Alonzo Swann and his battery serving aboard The Intrepid. These things are all a part of history. The illustrations and photographs become an important part of that story and allow me to be as succinct as possible in the final word count, presenting as much information as possible in a suitable, appealing format for any age reader.
When not writing bi-weekly historical articles, researching, marketing or writing my own books, you will often find me reading other family friendly books. I post reviews twice weekly on my blog as well as review books on Amazon and Goodreads. As a retired educator and administrator, I share advice and expertise in developments occurring in elementary and special education with parents and educators.
In the evening I enjoy catching up on current events or watching movies with my husband. During the warmer months, I spend time gardening and boating. Of course I always find time to enjoy my grandchildren .
Where can readers find you and your books?
You can read about my books or contact me through my website: http://LittleMissHISTORY.COM At that site you can find reviews of my books, buying links, merchandise and more. All the books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent book stores.
Here are my social media sites where you can connect, join my mailing list or arrange a school visit.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES:
- Author email: Barbara@littlemisshistory.com
- Author website: http://www.littlemisshistory.com
- Author blog: http://bamauthor.wordpress.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Littlemisshistorycom?ref=hl
- Twitter. https://twitter.com/bamauthor
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6851359.Barbara_Ann_Mojica
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=hb_tab_home_top
- Pinterest http://pinterest.com/bamauthor/
- Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/101786959456508311096/posts
What’s next for author Barbara Ann Mojica?
The next book in the Little Miss HISTORY Travels to series will be stopping by George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, where readers will learn about a side of America’s first president that few know much about. I have already begun working on three other books for the series, and will leave those a mystery for now….
It’s been wonderful having you with us today, Barbara—I can’t wait to follow Little Miss HISTORY as her journey through American history continues.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I invite you to join the conversation (comments below) and share this post with your friends and family. Barbara and I would love to hear from you.
Bette A. Stevens