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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