Donna M. McDine Tackles American History
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 4, 2012
Donna McDine is an award-winning children’s author. Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids, Publicist for the Working Writer’s Club, and owner of Author PR Services from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY.
TCBR: Can you share a little on your background and how you became a children’s book writer?
Donna M. McDine: I was at a crossroads in my professional career longing to challenge myself outside of computers. At that time I came across the Institute of Children’s Literature aptitude test in a magazine and I took the plunge and completed it. I was happily accepted and graduated from the Writing for Children and Teenagers course in 2007 and haven’t looked back since.
I have always been intrigued by American history and I live in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY – which was an integral part of the American Revolution.
What age group did you write the book for?
The Golden Pathway is written for ages 8-12. After discussing curriculum needs with several middle-grade teachers, they all expressed interest in books with illustrators for the visual learners in their classrooms.
Slavery is a topic that can make many people uncomfortable. However, it is a topic that certainly requires attention and discussion and should be approached with sensitivity. What was your approach when telling this particular story?
Even though the main character in the story is a boy, I wrote The Golden Pathway with my daughter in mind. She had come across a television documentary of human trafficking and it shocked her (please know she was 13 at the time). In discussing the documentary our conversation evolved into African slavery. And from there I took her feelings on the subject matter and it flowed into the story.
What would you say is the most important lesson that readers will take away from reading your book?
Children can make a difference even if an adult around them is negative.
The main character, David, is extremely brave considering the era in which he was raised. From where do you think he draws his inner strength?
From his upbringing by his mother, she taught him how to be sensitive to other people’s needs and he just knew what was right and what was wrong.
You have received Honorable Mentions in the 77th and 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. What does it mean to you to have received these honors?
These awards provided me with the confidence in my writing to keep going and not to let rejection get in the way of the next story fighting to get onto paper.
You have three more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, Hockey Agony, Powder Monkey, and A Sandy Grave. What can you tell us about each title?
All three children’s books are written for ages 8-12. Hockey Agony is based on the dilemma of coaches teaching their players to do whatever it takes to win a game; Powder Monkey is based on the Press Gangs for the Royal Navy, and A Sandy Grave is about whale poachers.
Which books from your own childhood have most influenced your life?
I absolutely adored the series, Nancy Drew and always enjoyed the intrigue of the next great mystery to be solved.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Let your children explore the wonder of the library and book stores and let their imagination take them to what excites them.
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