I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Write From the Soul

Welcome today children's author, Doraine Bennett!     
          *applause, applause*

Thanks for including me in your "Global Explorer" tour!

Thanks for hosting me, Gail :-)

I've got lots of questions for you so let's begin.
Please tell us a little about yourself, including how you came to write for the educational market.

I sort of stumbled into the educational market. I homeschooled my four children for thirteen years. During that time, I spent hours every year searching through publisher catalogs for the best resources. When my youngest child started public high school, I went back to college and completed a degree in professional writing. The focus here was always nonfiction, and my professor was a stickler about keeping records and learning to write for a target audience. I did take creative writing classes, as well.

One day out of the blue, an acquaintance who has since become a good friend, called and asked me if I'd like to take over her job as a sales rep for a book jobber. I said yes. So for four years, I've been selling books into schools to both library and curriculum buyers. I sell from over a hundred publishers, and though I don't know all their catalogs by heart, I have a better understanding of what's out there than most writers. I asked my friend why she was giving up her job. The reply was that shehad stumbled on a hole in the market. National publishers don't publish books for state history standards because they can't sell them in more than one state, in most cases. So she started her own publishing house, State Standards Publishing, and I write for her.

 How extensive was your research for this reader's theater?

Massive. I had no idea what I was biting off when I started. The book covers 45 explorers, and I couldn't write a script that included one without researching them. There's an extensive bibliography in the back.

Did you have any input about which explorers to cover?

 I chose them based on continents. I wanted at least a few explorers from each area. I also tried to space them out over time. Sometimes it was a difficult decision to know who to include and who to leave out. Sometimes availability of primary source materials was a factor.

What age range or grade levels is your reader's theater for?

It's designed for students in fourth through eighth grade. These are the grades students in most states study the explorers. But it could go higher if someone in high school wanted to use it.

 You have great extension activities (I think I actually did some similar ones when I was teaching)! Were you responsible for creating these activities?

I did create them myself. As I said earlier, I was a homeschool mom, so I have lots of experience coming up with meaningful projects to accompany a lesson.

Okay, the big question...where can I buy a copy of this book? The snippets I got to read have left me wanting to read all about these explorers!

You can purchase it straight from the publisher at

There's also a Kindle edition available on Amazon.

Are you writing exclusively for the educational market and if not, are you currently working on any fiction?

I just finished a set of books on the Virginia geographic regions for my editor at State Standards. They should be out in late spring. I'm working on a nonfiction picture book that would fit into both the educational and the trade markets. I'm in revisions and it's being a bugaboo at the moment. I also am working on revisions for a middle grade novel set in 1970 when the Supreme Court made enforced busing a tool for desegregating schools. I also have a devotional book for middle grade readers coming out with Christian Focus Publishing. I'm
not sure when the release date is yet, but I just saw the cover last week and I love it.

Last question, what's your absolute, most favorite part about being a writer?

One of my favorite things is that I'm always learning something new. I love research and libraries. It's not always easy to know when to stop. And then there is the hope that you are creating something that will instill a love of the subject in a new reader.

Wow, thank you Doraine, for the interview. Enjoy the rest of your blog tour! Please check back in, if you have time, to catch questions in the comment section.


  1. Hi Gail. Thanks for hosting me today.

  2. Awesome interview! Doraine, will your book be for sale at Springmingle?

  3. Well, I'm feeling a bit lazy over here. Compared to Doraine, I'm a slug!

    I have a homeschooler mom friend/writer who needs to read this! I'm always telling here to use all those skills. And kudos to you, Doraine, for tapping into a great market.

  4. Hi Vicky, Sorry to have missed this comment earlier. I will not be at Springmingle, unfortunately. I need to clone myself and make at least three of me. But alas, for now there's only one.

    Cathy, Please pass the info along to your homeschool mom friend. I'd be happy to connect with her.