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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A cute way to explain adption and racial acceptance to very young children- Author Rachael Snead

This week's featured author is Rachael Snead, author of Long Tail, Short Tail, a children's book with a powerful message for our youngest members of society about adoption and racial acceptance . Please take a few minutes to read my review and Rachael's interview which explains her motivation in creating Long Tail, Short Tail.

Long Tail, Short Tail by Rachael Snead and illustrated by Laurie Barrows is a fantastic children's book. Ollie is a chipmunk who is adopted by squirrel parents. The important messages this book relays to our youngest readers and/or listeners is that adoptive children and step children are loved every bit as much as biological children making a complete family unit, and it's OK for a child to be racially different than their parents. The racial message goes beyond the family, and enters acceptance within society.

Rachael is able to send a powerful message written in a context young children can understand using chipmunks and squirrels as characters. Laurie does an excellent job portraying the message of the book within the pictures. Any great children's book needs strong illustrations to back up the plot in order for the youngest audience to fully understand. Together Rachael and Laurie have truly created a moving story about love and acceptance.

Long Tail, Short Tail is an excellent story that I recommend not only for adopted children but for all youngsters. Many of today's families are not traditional or should I say the knew idea of traditional is changing. This story goes a long way in explaining that concept to children.
Rachael's Bio-

Rachael Snead is a children’s book author and poet. Rachael has just launched her first published children’s book, “Long Tail, Short Tail”. “Long Tail, Short Tail” will be the first in a series of seven books designed to educate children about unique families. Future topics will include physically disabled children and interracial families. Rachael is a transracial adoptive parent. She has a preschool son, the inspiration for “Long Tail, Short Tail”. Rachael knows firsthand how rare and unique transracial families are and has dedicated much of her time to teaching others about transracial adoption. In her spare time, she teaches Sunday School. She is naturally an avid writer and frequently blogs about the humorous situations she finds herself in as an adoptive mom. Rachael is married to Chris, a Navy veteran from Texas. The couple often takes their young son to local attractions such as zoos, aquariums, gardens, museums, and amusement parks. “We want people to realize that yes, transracial adoption does occur, and it’s not a bad thing. We are just like any other family—we have fun, we laugh, we love—we may not look like everyone else but we are just like any other family”, Rachael says.

Elle: Tell a little about yourself.

Rachael: I am a transracial adoptive parent. I'm married to a Navy veteran. We live in Virginia with our adopted son and our two puppies.  

Elle: What is your latest writing accomplishment?

Rachael: I had trouble finding adoption themed books that applied to my son's situation. One day after a frustrating search for adoption books at Barnes and Noble, a sympathetic B & N employee told me that I should just write my own book. I started writing within an hour of returning home and 5 months later, I published 'Long Tail, Short Tail'. I made this book generalized enough to pertain to almost any voluntary adoption placement. 

Elle:  Tell us a little about any other works you have published or will be publishing.

Rachael: I have two books planned for 2014. One is another children's book called 'The Amazing Adventures of Camellia and York'. This is a story about a bunny and a squirrel who have an interesting afternoon. The other is called 'Chasing Joey', a novel for adults. It's the story of my 8-year journey through marriage, infertility, adoption, and parenthood. I am compiling all the strangest and funniest stories of my life, so this book will be extremely entertaining and insightful. 

  How long have you been writing and how did you fall into it?

Rachael: I have been reading since preschool and writing since elementary school. My mother encouraged me to keep a journal, which I did from about 7 to 18. In high school I wrote poetry and songs as a way of relieving stress.  As I grew older, I wrote resumes, college essays, and after becoming a mother I wrote about my son's toddler escapades. I write to-do lists regularly. I have a poor memory, so I prefer to stay organized and keep track of everything by writing it down--including memories of my son's childhood and my experiences as an adoptive parent.  

Please tell us a little about your writing process.

Rachael: I like to start with a pen and a spiral notebook. I write three rough drafts that way, then transfer the manuscript to MS Word. From there, my editor edits three times for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. After a final edit, I send the manuscript to the illustrator.

Elle:  If a children's book author, are any of your novels based on events in your life?

Rachael: Absolutely. 'Long Tail, Short Tail' is almost entirely based on true life, from Ollie's chubby cheeks to the soft  boots. 'Chasing Joey' will be one hundred percent actual events.

Elle:  What was the greatest challenge you faced with publishing your work?

Rachael: The formatting, believe it or not. Converting from .pdf to .epub to .txt to .doc, adjusting pixels/resolution, getting the layout just so, and paginating is all very frustrating for me.

  Do you have a favorite author or book?

Rachael: C.S. Lewis! I love very descriptive writing. He makes the words come alive and jump off the paper.

Elle:  Do you have any advice for other indie authors?

Rachael: Work work, work. Treat it like a full-time job. Research everything, all the time. Never stop writing. Be as stubborn as a mule.

Elle:  Tell us a little about Long Tail, Short Tail's illustrator and how did you come to work together?

Rachael:  I did a web search for illustrators and one of the first links to appear was www.guru.com. I signed up and created a project profile. Laurie Barrows was one of about a hundred illustrators who offered their services to me. I liked her sample artwork and the rest is history.

Where to find Rachael Snead and her book:

Rachael's Website
Barnes and Noble
Long Tail, Short Tail Amazon
LongTail, Short Tail Smashwords

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