An Interview with Barbara Ann Mojica

Last week, I reviewed two books in Barbara Ann Mojica’s Little Miss HISTORY series, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE and Little Miss History Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY. Today, I am honored to introduce Barbara to readers through this interview.

What inspired you to write the Little Miss HISTORY series?
I majored in History and minored in English in college. Then I entered a long career in teaching and education, which involved lots of communication and writing expertise. When I retired a few years ago, I decided that I wanted to combine my two loves of history and teaching, so I decided to become a writer focused on historical issues.

How long did it take to research and write Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE and Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY?
It took about two months to research and write a first draft for each book, then probably another month to edit each before illustration. There were minor edits after the illustration was completed.

When will the next Little Miss HISTORY book be published?
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK is scheduled to be published in May 2014.

When I was growing up, there were not many girls in my classes who were interested in history. Did you experience that when you were teaching?
No, I never really experienced a radical difference by gender. I will say that, in general, there is a correlation between children interested in reading and those interested in studying history.

Was there a reason that your main character is female?
Yes, I always loved the idea of traveling. As a young girl, my family did not have the financial resources to travel. When I became an adult, I seized the opportunity to travel whenever it was possible. Little Miss HISTORY is largely autobiographical based on a younger version of myself.

How did you decide what type of illustrations to use for the Little Miss HISTORY series?
My husband, Victor, is my illustrator. He has many years of experience working with children’s books, so I discuss the illustrations with him and listen to his suggestions. Then he does sketches and we agree on what works best. Finally, we hash out minor differences before we set up the layout for printing.

How did you get started as a writer?
I started out as a writer by researching and writing academic papers. Later, I decided to write in order to continue teaching and communicating my ideas to readers and other writers.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Good question! I really don’t have a structured plan for every day even though I am a very structured person. Not being way ahead of a deadline bothers me; I don’t like to work under pressure. During a typical day, I start by reading my mail and the blogs that I follow, checking social media and writing one of my historical articles, working on a current children’s book, reading books for my book review blog, writing reviews, or preparing interviews such as this one. My emphasis is on whatever is most pressing on my agenda at that point in time.

Are you working on any other books or do you have anything else published?
My first published work was my Master’s thesis, “Military Developments under Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great.” I published an article on the history of Forest Park in Queens, NY, several years ago. Since 2010 I write biweekly articles on history in a local news magazine, The Columbia Insider, and have contributed to other local publications. Right now my major work for children is the Little Miss HISTORY nonfiction travel series, which aims to make learning history a fun experience for both children and adults.

Children tend to say some pretty funny things. What was the funniest thing a child said to you when you were teaching or at a book reading?
There are so many! A young preschooler in my special education school did not want to get on the school bus to go home because he thought by remaining at school he could eat dinner with me. Somehow he thought that I never left the building!

Do you have any quirky habits that you would like to share with readers?
I rub my hands all over my face when I get really excited over something. I yell at the computer when it does not cooperate with me.

If you were a genie, what wish would you not grant under any circumstance?
I would refuse to grant a wish to someone if that wish would cause harm to someone else.

If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be and why?
I would tour the pyramids of ancient Egypt. Always wanted to visit but right now the political situation prevents me from doing so.

How can readers contact you or connect with you?
Readers can connect with me through many social media sites. Those are (scroll over each website/title for the link): her website, www.littlemisshistory.com; her blog, http://bamauthor.wordpress.com; on Facebook; on Twitter; on Goodreads; on Linked In; on Pinterest; on Google+; her Amazon page; and via email at Barbara@littlemisshistory.com

About the author:
Award-winning author Barbara Ann Mojica is an historian and retired educator living in New York State. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in History. Barbara spent more than 40 years teaching in NYC and holds New York State teacher certifications in Elementary, Special Education, and Administration. She also spent several years as a Special Education Administrator and principal of a special education preschool for developmentally delayed children. Barbara, although retired from teaching, is staying busy: along with her forthcoming series of Little Miss History travel books she writes historical pieces for The Columbia Insider, Pat Fisher and Ed Pollack Editors, under the banner “Passages”. Marrying her love of history and teaching, Barbara hopes her Little Miss History character will inspire children to learn about historical people, and visit landmarks such as the one covered in the books reviewed here, Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty.

Barbara has so much to share. Do you have any questions for her?

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Review of Little Miss HISTORY Travels to the STATUE of LIBERTY by Barbara Ann Mojica

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine.

My review:
Did you know that the first ticker tape parade (a parade that I associate with the New York Yankees) was to celebrate the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty? Did you know that even children donated money to help fund the building of the statue’s pedestal? Did you know that the Statue of Liberty’s second engineer was Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the man who designed the Eiffel Tower? Once again, Barbara Ann Mojica has given me (and other readers) a fun look at history with her book Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY, the second in the Little Miss HISTORY series.

The back of the book states, “Since her last trip to Mount Rushmore, Little Miss HISTORY has journeyed more than 1700 miles over land, sea, and air to reach her second destination, the Statue of Liberty. This national treasure stands proudly in New York Harbor welcoming all people to the land of freedom and opportunity. In this second book of the series, Little Miss HISTORY helps you discover who thought of the Statue of Liberty in the first place, the values she symbolizes, the architects and engineers who built Lady Liberty, and the little known individuals who contributed their pennies to make her debut in New York’s harbor possible. You will learn about why she remains a promise and symbol of the hopes and aspirations of many people around the world and not just immigrants coming to America.” Just like with Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE, Barbara delivers all that she promises in Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY!

Facts about the Statue of Liberty are mixed in with information of the state of the United States at the time of her building and journey to America. The book is engaging and informative without being overwhelming in just the right mixture to get kids of all ages (and adults, too) interested in reading this book and series. Although it is part of a series, you don’t need to read the books in order, which is a nice feature. The Little Miss HISTORY series should be on the shelves of every home, public, and school library!

The illustrations, provided again by Barbara’s husband, Victor Ramon Mojica, are a great mix of drawing and photos to help tell the story of the Statue of Liberty from inception in France to its completion in New York. If you’ve ever been to the Statue of Liberty, the illustrations and text highlight what you have seen. If you haven’t, they make you feel like you are there.

Like Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE, which was reviewed a few days ago here, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY is 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches and is available in paperback. This installment is a bit longer at 40 pages, but this doesn’t change the weight in any noticeable way, making this another book easy for small hands to hold and to fit in diaper and school bags to carry with ease.

What other people on Amazon.com are saying about Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY:
“Once again, Ms. Mojica has produced a bona fide winner. The only good descriptive I can come up with for this book is ‘amazing’. And I don’t mean the over-used meaning of the word. I was totally blown away by what I didn’t know about the Statue of Liberty. This story is not just for kids. The one who reads the book and the one who hears the narrative will both benefit from the telling.”

“My favorite subject in school was History so I am trying to instill that love in my daughter. This book is not only informational, but it’s a fun way to introduce kids to History. The pictures, both drawn and photographs, add a nice element to the book and make it enjoyable to read for the kids (and the parents). This is a great way to prepare a family for a trip to the Statue of Liberty or even for a field trip there. Our family is looking forward to the next book in this series.”

“Well, Barbara Ann Mojica has done it again! This is a well-illustrated factual book. It also has a number of real pictures that are relevant to the story. The timeline takes you from the idea of the statue in 1865, right through its development to when it was designated a National Monument in 1924. What I love about this story is that it can be a great asset to children who plan to visit the Statue of Liberty, but it also offers valuable information in its own right. It is an engaging read and gives an interesting insight into a fascinating piece of history.”

Where you can find Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY:
Little Miss History Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY is available at websites including CreateSpace’s, Amazon’s, and Barnes and Noble’s, as well as at local bookstores. Here are a few links to purchase the book: www.createspace.com,  www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com.

Also, don’t forget to check out Little Miss HISTORY’s website: www.littlemissHISTORY.com, where you can find Barbara’s blog and Little Miss HISTORY merchandise.

Next, Little Miss HISTORY travels to Sequoia National Park. To what other places would you like to see Little Miss HISTORY travel?

Also, please remember to stop back again soon to read an interview with Barbara!

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Review of Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE by Barbara Ann Mojica

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine.

My review
Do you know how tall the carvings at Mount Rushmore are? Do you know how much it cost to create this national memorial? Do you know the history of Native Americans and Mount Rushmore? If you read Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE by Barbara Ann Mojica, you and your child can learn this…and much more!

As per the back of the book, “Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE is the first in a series of books using the Little Miss History character as a guide. She looks like a wannabe park ranger with pig tails and hiking boots three sizes too big. With her, as your child’s guide, learning about people and places of historical importance will be fun and educational. The aim of these books is to whet your child’s appetite to learn more about history and perhaps even visit these landmarks with you. Little Miss History presents information in a whimsical and factual way while amusing your child.” I found this description to be so true!

I will be honest…history was never my strong suit when I was a student (and even now). How I wish my school had books such as Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE to teach us during history class! This book is informative as well as entertaining, and it allows you to have discussions with children about the subject matter. (Books that can get you and a child to speak about something are winners in our house.) It is written in a way that children will want to learn about Mount Rushmore without being bored.

Not only is the story interesting, but the illustrations were great as well, as they help tell the story of the creation of Mount Rushmore. The illustrations were done by Barbara’s husband, Victor Ramon Mojica, whose children’s book Captain Crossbones in The Treasure Hunt will be reviewed here soon. Not only was it a family affair to create the book, the entire book is family-friendly.

I look forward to this series and seeing all the places that Little Miss History will go, and so will children of all ages. (Her next stop is The Statue of Liberty. The review of Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY will be available on my blog tomorrow, followed by an interview with Barbara.)

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE is 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches and contains 36 pages, making it easy for a child to bring to school for Show and Tell or just to show friends and teachers!

What others on Amazon.com have to say about Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE:
“In Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE author Barbara Ann Mojica overcomes the obstacle by ‘enlisting’ the services of an intriguing character to teach children about America’s past. The adventurous Little Miss History delivers a history lesson permeated with fascinating details, which, along with the great illustrations, will no doubt appeal to young readers and captivate their imagination.”

“I was always fascinated by children’s books that help children to develop a knowledge of American history. Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE is written in a very creative way by historian Barbara A. Mojica. The author wisely introduces children to the historical facts, value, and meaning of American historical landmarks. Easy to follow, this delightful children’s book captured my attention from the first page. Informative, uplifting, and amusing, Little Miss History took me for a wonderful trip to Mount Rushmore, where she introduced me to a piece of American history.”

“The detailed illustrations allow Little Miss History to take kids to Mount Rushmore, and the writing style of the book gives factual information in a way they will understand. As an educator, I know that hands on learning is best. ‘Traveling to Mount Rushmore’ in this book is a great way for kids to learn all about the historical landmark. As I mom, I can tell you that my kids (both in the classroom and at home) will love this book. Highly recommend! Cant wait for the next book in the series to come out.”

Where you can find Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE is available at websites including CreateSpace’s, Amazon’s, and Barnes and Noble’s, as well as at local bookstores. Here are a few links to purchase the book: www.createspace.com, www.amazon.com , and www.barnesandnoble.com.

Also, don’t forget to check out Little Miss HISTORY’s website: www.littlemissHISTORY.com, where you can find Barbara’s blog and Little Miss HISTORY merchandise.

Reading this book makes me want to visit Mount Rushmore. Have you ever visited this national memorial?

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