Friday, March 26, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: It All Started in Africa by Suzanne Bowman Williams @RABTBookTours @Lucid_Books



Children’s African History, Children’s Books, Multicultural Biographies

Date Published: Jan 5, 2021

Publisher: Lucid Books Publishing


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History comes to amazing life in this narrative based on true events. It All Started in Africa takes young children on a journey through generations of African Americans over the course of history. Children will gain a better understanding of African American history as they engage with discussion questions. They will be challenged to make life better for themselves and for the people around them. Join in with exciting, interactive experience all the way to its surprising finale!

 

 



Interview with Suzanne Bowman Williams


For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

For a more complete understanding of the theme of my book, I’d recommend an exploration of the significance of cultural/ethnic heritage and family heritage to a person’s identity.

For me, gaining knowledge of my cultural/ethnic heritage expanded my awareness of the artifacts, traditions and contributions of my own unique people group.

Also, as I learned about my personal family heritage from elders and peers, I chose to focus on the positive foundational contributions and courageous choices of my ancestors. This ignited in me a sense of responsibility; a responsibility to continue that building process as a tribute to the ancestors and a benefit to future generations.


How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book

The theme of my book developed as I pieced together a big book/scrapbook for my fifth grade class so that I could present the scope of African American history from ancient to modern times. As my book creation progressed, it intersected with my own family’s history and I became profoundly grateful for the courageous choices of my ancestors.


What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My goal and intention for this book was to present a grand overview of African American history. With this worthwhile instructional goal, I never expected a motivational goal as well! I was blessed to discover the opportunity to offer hope for a better life through making wise choices. Throughout my family’s struggle-filled history, there was a constant, abiding hope for better times and higher achievements. I want my readers to know that in spite of past or present circumstances, there is transforming power in making wise choices.

From the feedback I’m getting so far from readers and from audiences to whom I speak, I feel that these goals are being achieved. Only the future will tell it all.


Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

First I would like to say to my young readers, “You have the power to make a positive impact on the future. Your choice IS your power.”

Second, to my older readers, many of whom have read my book to children, I want to say, “We all have stories to share. I hope that It All Started in Africa will be a catalyst for meaningful discussion and shared discoveries.”


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

What I enjoyed most about writing this book was the opportunity to collaborate with my granddaughter/illustrator Evelynn Jeanette.


Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

My original story was for older (intermediate grade) children. In my next book I would like to bring this historical drama into a greater, more detailed and more personal focus especially in light of some recent discoveries about Sallie. After that, I’d like to develop all of the stories I started but that were interrupted by worthwhile life choices. I have no regrets in that regard.


How long have you been writing?

I began to writing creatively in high school. It was an outlet for my angst at that time. I am thankful for the angst.


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in It All Started in Africa

The characters in this story are the teacher, the students and generations of African American people. The teacher playfully guides the students into a story – a journey. The students are extremely curious but must patiently wait for the story to unfold. The generations of African American people make key, life changing choices throughout the tale.


If you could spend the day with one of the characters from It All Started in Africa who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do. 

If I had the opportunity to spend the day with one of the characters in this book, I would choose Sallie. Armed with a fully charged recorder, I would have a great many questions for her - but first I would want to tell her about her descendants and how they are still benefiting from her (and Henry’s) courageous choices. I would ask her to tell me about the pivotal places in her personal journey. We would sit down to a meal of her choice, at the location of her choice and just enjoy each other’s company.



MY READING ADDICTION INTERVIEW

Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp

Absolutely! The message is The Power of Your Choices. If readers could grasp that far-reaching reality, I’d be delighted!


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

My greatest challenge in writing is getting started. My greatest challenge once I’ve started is stopping.


How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve written one published book. So far, that is my favorite. Several of my stories have yet to be published so I may gain a new favorite – but there’s just something special about that first book.


If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

I absolutely love this question! In my story, the teacher is the main character. I would pick China Anne McClain to play her because she has the right look. I knew nothing about this actress but, after checking with YouTube and my granddaughters, I really like her.


When did you begin writing?

I began to writing creatively in high school. It was an outlet for my angst at that time. I am thankful for the angst!


How long did it take to complete your first book?

It All Started in Africa, from concept to production, took 30 years to complete. That seems like a long time but, with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, it was the perfect timing.


Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

Award winning author Virginia Hamilton, my mother’s first cousin, inspired me to become a published writer. The fact that such an accomplished writer was in our family gave me confidence to press forward toward that goal. Also, I Am the Darker Brother, a poetry anthology by Virginia’s husband, Arnold Adoff, inspired my interest in poetry.


What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I enjoy all parts of the writing process, but for me the most enjoyable part is the process between draft and revision. I love playing with the words, the imagery and the rhyme.


Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Ancestral Journey – Legacy Realized


Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

My original story was for older (intermediate grade) children. In my next book I would like to bring this historical drama into a greater, more detailed and more personal focus especially in light of some recent discoveries about Sallie. After that, I’d like to develop all of the stories I started but that were interrupted by worthwhile life choices. I have no regrets in that regard.


About the Author

 Suzanne Bowman Williams enjoyed teaching elementary school students in Southern California for over 30 years. There she first presented It All Started in Africa. With a bachelor’s degree in literature and a master’s in counseling/psychology, she is passionate about encouraging, educating, and motivating children through the telling of stories. Suzanne currently lives in Central Arizona with her husband. This is her first children’s book.


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