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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Interview with Children's Author Cheryl Sturm

I love guests, especially ones who write children's books (and don't eat all the chocolate cupcakes before I get one or two). So today, I'm excited to have Cheryl Sturm stop her travels for a brief second and pop on by to answer some of my amazing (and not so amazing) questions. She's full of energy, exploration and simply a lot of fun to see around. With further adieu...here she is...

(yes, I'm cheering like Kermit on the Muppets)

Cheryl Sturm works with a great team of people at R. Crusoe & Son to develop unusual, cultural journeys. The daughter of an Army major, she was born in Berlin, Germany, raised in Manawa, Wisconsin, and lives in Chicago, Illinois. She began her career as a television reporter in Wisconsin, but a professional detour happily lead her to international travel. "Have I Told You Today How Much I Love You," is the first book published by Knowing Going Kids. More books are on the way for thoughtful families curious about our world.

Hi, Cheryl! I'm so glad you happened across Kidbits today. Since I really don't want to steal too much time, I'm just going to jump right in.
You've never had a boring life. Born in Berlin, Germany, and now in Chicago, I'd considered you pretty well traveled. Has this influenced you and how you write for children? 

Having the privilege to travel and see other countries—how life is lived now and has been in the past—has given me an added frame of reference to appreciate both foreign lands and our own magnificent country. I’ve met remarkable people, been wowed by a vast array of human achievements, and seen stunningly beautiful landscapes. These experiences have inspired my creative efforts, and I’m hoping to pass that sense of wonder to my readers: children and the adults reading with them.

Your first publication, HAVE I TOLD YOU TODAY HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU, definitely is a great start in this direction!
HAVE I TOLD YOU TODAY HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU is also the first publication from Knowing Going Kids with the promise of more stories to come. I'm going to get noisy here and ask you to give us an idea of what we can expect from them in the future. . .if you don't mind, of course.

I’m working on two books. “How a Note Becomes a Song” is about creativity in general and classical music in particular for older readers (10+). The first half is a poem, and the second half is a primer, which provides background information on the poem and the development of classical music (mostly for the adults reading the poem with children readers). The second book is a take on an old classic that is a direct connection to my travel experiences. We’ll see which one is done first!

What is your favorite part about writing?

I love having an idea percolate in my brain, open a blank document on my computer screen, and see a story come to life.

And what would you rather eat worms than do?

I’m not a big vacuumer. But I have a nephew who is, so I wrote him a little book for his third birthday about vacuums.

That sounds really cute. I actually know several kids who are into vacuums and would find a book like that neat. 
Many authors were avid readers during their childhood. What were you favorite books while growing up?

My beloved Aunt Nat gave my siblings and me “The Illustrated Treasury of Children’s Literature” by Margaret E. Martignoni. We loved that book. We also loved the Richard Scarry and Amelia Bedelia books. As I grew older, I enjoyed the Nancy Drew series. To this day, I adore “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss.

Somehow, your last choice doesn't surprise me.
What book are you reading right now?

The children’s book that has my attention is “Away in My Airplane,” by Margaret Wise Brown with illustrations by Henry Fisher. (I wish all my travels on airplanes were that much fun!) I’m also enjoying Jan Brett’s delightful books. For adult reading, for fun, I enjoy mysteries/thrillers by James Patterson, David Baldacci, and Brad Thor. To understand a complicated corner of the world, I’m also reading “The Last Great Revolution” by Robin Wright. Her understanding of Iran and the Middle East is impressive.

Wow! It sounds like your reading is as versatile as your life!
When you aren't writing, what do you like to do?

So many things! Just not enough time in the day. Since travel is a big part of my job, I enjoy being home. During summer, my Dad and brother create a fabulous garden. I like to spend time with our whole family, figuring out what we should cook with the vegetables and fruits they’ve grown, and then being part of the effort to make a great meal happen.

What was your biggest wish as a child? 

Really I can’t remember. I had a joyful childhood for which my amazing parents have my eternal gratitude. 

Thanks again, Cheryl, for stopping by. It was truly a delight (and no, I'm not saying that while munching down a third cupcake).

For you curious readers out there, here's the run down of Cheryl's fun book for kids ages 3+! (And younger ones too)

"Have I Told You Today How Much I Love You?" is one way to express love--beyond an inch, foot, yard, mile, the moon, stars, and Mars--to anyone dear to you. It was written as a bedtime story. But given that it teaches children some fun facts about measurements while reinforcing how much you love them, this book is an ANYtime story. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, and friends can buy this book as a gift and enjoy telling the children in their lives how much they are loved. The author wrote the book for her four nieces and nephews. When asked "Do I love you this much?", the youngest, who is almost four years old, delights in answering, "Not just this much." He starts saying it with his two index fingers an inch apart, and he enjoys repeating the phrase with his hands one foot apart and again with his arm stretched as far as they'll go. Then he starts again. On occasion, his grandfather has joined in. It's a fun, quick read with both basic and profound lessons.

You can find it on Amazon here!


  1. I like that she's doing a book on music next.
    Congratulations, Cheryl!

  2. How adorable! I love the idea behind this book. And I don't get children's obsession with vacuum cleaners and cleaning in general. Mostly--why can't that interest in cleaning stay with us as we get older?!

  3. That sounds like a fantastic book! I'm also an enormous fan of Oh the Places You'll Go.

  4. What a delightful interview. This book sounds like a lot of fun. I'm interested to see where the music book goes too. Thanks Tonja, and best of luck to Cheryl!
    Have a great weekend, ladies (smile).

  5. Oh no! I would vacuum for hours rather than touch a worm.

    Best of luck Cheryll.


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