While enjoying retirement, there are a few things that almost make me regret I am still not teaching elementary students. A great children’s book is one! Whenever I find a fabulous children’s book, I always remember fondly the thousands I have read to my student during a thirty year career. Now, instead, I enjoy reading to our grandchildren. If you read books to children, I hope you will be able to get your hands on the Howard B. Wigglebottom series. For our Author Interview Series we are very happy to introduce you to Howard Binkow author of this award winning series of books for children 4 to 8 years of age.
I read on Mr. Binkow’s LinkedIn profile, “We create books, animations, songs, posters, lessons and games to help young children be better listeners, learn important life lessons and feel good about themselves.” I have now reviewed two books of the Howard B. Wigglebottom Series. The links to the reviews are at the end of the interview. During the next months I will review four more.
Lorna: Welcome to our Author Interview Series! Please tell us what led you to become an author of books for children and the CEO of the We Do Listen Foundation?
Howard Binkow >> I wanted to live a life with purpose. I lived most of my adult life believing I was a good listener. At the age of sixty, after listening to a tape by Stephen Covey, I discovered I was an awful listener. Learning and practicing proper listening skills improved my life dramatically. A group of us got together to empower young children to be better listeners and help introduce the subject of listening to our elementary schools.
Lorna: When you sell real estate they say “location, location, location” is key. When you want to sell children’s books what are the features you feel the books must have?
Howard Binkow >>Children’s books must be fun and good to look at. They should educate and entertain at the same time.
Lorna: A feature each of your books has is the Lessons and Reflection pages at the end with suggestions for parents, caregivers, and educators. Your books are so entertaining and have such valuable lessons to be learned that they will be reread many times allowing for discussions about the important topics. Another perk you have is the www.wedolisten.com site. Tell us about this web site.
Howard Binkow >>The website is another venue to enable children to learn, feel good about themselves and have fun. We offer non violent games, animated books, songs, posters like the one on the left.
Lorna: Each of the books in the Howard B. Wigglebottom series, besides being entertaining, teaches children valuable life skills like learning to cope with bullies, telling the truth, and learning to listen, etc. The schools in the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada school district bought Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies for all their schools. What comments do you hear from parents and teachers that make writing these books all worthwhile?
Howard Binkow >> Most comments say we are making a big difference: that we are helping children feel safe and better about themselves.
Lorna: I saw that at least one book was translated in French, Howard B. Labougeotte: apprend à écouter . Will others follow? Will they be translated in other languages also? Will new books be added to your award winning Howard B. Wigglebottom series?
Howard Binkow >> One book in the series has been translated in to Korean, four into French by Scholastic Canada and all eleven into Chinese.
Lorna: Congratulations on making this adorable series of books available to such a wide audience. You write the stories and Susan F. Cornelison brings the characters to life with her adorable illustrations. What is the time frame and collaboration needed between author and illustrator for a book like the Howard B. Wigglebottom ones from the writing, illustrations, to publishing it?
Howard Binkow >> I am one of the authors and Susan is one of the illustrators. Our books are a team effort. Teachers, counsellors, parents and children give us feed back every step of the way. From story idea to printing takes about one year.
Lorna: What do you think about the future of book publishing? Do you think real books will always have a place in our schools and homes or will eBooks become the norm? Many years ago, parents had so many chores to do, there was not a lot of time for reading to children. Now there are so many “screens” to entertain and educate our kids they do not have time to listen to books being read! What are your ideas about this?
Howard Binkow >> Most people say printed books are on the way out. I have mixed feelings. I understand printing is bad for the Planet. I do enjoy, however, holding a book. Older people favour printed books. Younger people are happy with eBooks. The future will tell. I think good parenting includes making the time to read to children. Reading from eBooks or printed books is the same. The important thing is to spend time together and expose children to books, positive lessons and ideas.
Howard Binkow >> I am working on #12 in the series, a story about trust, more videos and looking into TV. I am available for free Skype author visits to elementary schools, Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed versions of our eleven books may be purchased most places books are sold in Canada and the U.S.
Read our review of Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging
Read our review of Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies
Folks in the United States can buy books at We Do Listen.org