"The wise man reads both books and life itself." ~ LIN YUTANG
Title: Sometimes One Is Just Right
Author: Gayle Byrne
Illustrator: Mary Haverfield
Coming from a family of three girls, and being the youngest, with a fair space between my closest in age sister, I had a sense of being an only child more than once. My two older sisters got along very well and did most things together. They were two years apart in age so they had many things in common and really enjoyed each other's company. Me, being the runt of the litter, spent many times feeling left out and alone as I watched them sing together, play together and go out together while I was not included. My mom and dad were wonderful and stepped in whenever they could to fill that sibling gap, for which I was ever grateful. I can then identify with this character to some degree and understand his reasoning when trying to figure out if being an only child is a good thing or a bad thing.
The Three Dog Night song. "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do," ain't necessarily so. Being the only child in the household can have its advantages... like being the middle of a cuddle sandwich between mom and dad on a lazy Saturday morning while in bed, or getting to have the red bowl and cup everyday....just because you want to and no on else is fighting for it. The remote control? Yep, it's all mine to flick and change channels and enjoy whenever I want. I am always the centre of attention...always... and the adults love to include me in whatever they are doing too!
Sometimes though I get to thinking about having brothers and sisters. I have a cousin Nico who happens to have lots of siblings in his house. Everything has to be shared and bargained for in his home. But the nice thing that I discovered? There is always someone to watch TV with or "spit watermelon seeds at" in his family. There is always someone to play games with but sometimes it is very hard to have some alone time and to keep your personal treasures for yourself. Nico thinks I am the lucky one and even though I would sometimes like all that company around me, I feel really special just to be me. Yes, I like that the very best.
1. Please tell us about your family.
I live with my granddaughter, Jasmine, and Jazzy’s Poppy in Connecticut. We’re part of a non-traditional family unit called GRANDFAMILIES – grandparents who are raising their child’s child, because for whatever reason they cannot.
2. You are a librarian at Killingworth Library – did this inspire you to become a children’s author? Why?
It certainly contributed to the ‘perfect storm’ of my career path! From as far back as I can remember, words have been my way of expressing feelings and reflecting life. I’ve always looked at things with a writer’s eye – what adjectives would I use to describe this or that? – what word really shows that kind of movement? And wordsmithing? I’ve always LOVED playing with words, how they sound, how they look together!
The writing thread blended so well with the reading threads as an English major became an English teacher. Who then became a Children’s Librarian. Another thread – and probably the most important one – I became a grandmother. My ‘perfect storm’ where it all came together!
3. Tell us about your first book.
“Sometimes It’s Grandmas And Grandpas Not Mommies And Daddies” – I always confess that this will always be my favorite. No matter how many others I write, this is the one closest to my heart. It’s our story, my family. Little did I know how it would resonate with so many people.
Did it receive any awards? Yes, the 2012 AGHE Children’s Book Award, for portraying the aging process in a unique and favorable light.
4. What was the inspiration for your second book, “Sometimes Just One if Just Right?”
My editors at Abbeville were so encouraged by the success of my first book,
Sometimes It’s Grandmas And Grandpas they approached me to consider ‘an assignment’ to keep the momentum going. They wanted me to take that same gentle, reassuring voice and use it with another childhood situation – being an ‘only child’. Again, through the eyes of a child we get a glimpse into another unusual and yet not uncommon, family dynamic – this time, the life of an ONLY!
5. Are you planning on writing any more books? Can you tell us about them if so?
Glad you asked! I’ve actually written the next in the SOMETIMES series and pitched the idea to my editor. Fingers crossed, I’ll get a dotted line to sign on soon!!??!!??
6. A bit about you personally – what do you like to do in your freetime?
FREETIME ????????? What’s that? LOL Between cheering at softball games, GEOcaching with Girl Scouts, clicking the camera on some field or other - and learning the multiplication tables AGAIN – I haven’t noticed any FREETIME?
7. Who is your favorite author?
Oh gosh………….do I have to have ONLY one?
8. What book are you currently reading?
‘The Hundred Dresses’ by Eleanor Estes - Re-reading it actually because it’s just as relevant today as it was when it was first written in 1944.
9. What is a little known fact about you?
My ‘favorite color’ changes every day! Quirky, I know…….. but I can’t just settle on one!
10. Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I hope the message of Sometimes Just One Is Just Right comes through loud and clear….. Onlies Are Amazing – resilient self starters, creative free thinkers, strong leaders.
People like Leonardo DaVinci and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Oprah Winfrey, John Lennon and Gandhi. The image of the spoiled, self centered child that has a hard time getting along is just plain wrong. The study that perpetuated that false image is over one hundred years old and has been challenged over and over again. Onlies are amazing!
(Interview from www.mom-spot.com)
About the illustrator:
In the beginning I studied art and illustration at the University of Houston, Texas, and the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, California. For over 20 years now I have been a professional Illustrator. My work is done in watercolor, gouache and colored pencils.
My experience includes illustrations for advertising and editorial projects, greeting cards, textbooks, trade picture books, as well as art for the “Barney & Friends” TV show. I have illustrated 13 picture books for children, including “Harriett the Homeless Raccoon”, of which I am both author and illustrator.
“Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas - Not Mommies and Daddies”, published by Abbeville Press, will be in bookstores September ’09. Written by Gayle Burn and illustrated by myself, this picture book tells of a child who is being raised by her grandparents and explores the joys and questions a child in that situation might experience.
My husband, Pat Haverfield, and I live in Dallas, Texas. He is a talented advertising photographer and director. Our only son is all grown up and lives in Southern California.