Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to an amazing local Ohio mom and her brand new children’s book, The Night of the Lights. This is a must-have summer book for kids this summer, get it on either hard cover or on the Kindle. As a mom, Elizabeth Orley has poured her passion of reading, creativity, and imagination into this delightful book that your kids are going to treasure. You may have noticed that we share the last name, let me introduce to you my sister-in-law, Elizabeth and her journey into authorhood with Little Mind Books.
Q: What made you want to write a children’s book? One of the best memories is my mother reading me stories at night. Books were a big part of my childhood, and books with amazing illustrations were read in my house over-and-over again. The love of reading is developed early, and for me, as a mom, creating a book that inspired kids to explore their world was a fun challenge.
I wanted to create books that inspired the amazing minds that kids have. Kids ask the best questions, they have so much joy in imagination, and they love stories. I hope that the books I write are part of that for the kids that experience them.
Q: What were you thinking writing a children’s book during a global pandemic? I get asked this question often. I started writing “The Night of the Lights” in the Fall of 2019. Who knew a few months later our entire world would shut down?
In retrospect I think it was a blessing to slow the process of producing a children’s book. The world stopped, and it gave me more time to really work on developing the story, the illustrations, and get the book to a finished product that I am proud of. I was able to work with an amazing publishing company LIVE Publishing and we were able to create a beautiful hardcover book.
Q: How did you juggle kids and writing? The best part of the Little Mind Books project is that my kids are both really involved in the creation of the stories. They were also involved in the development of the stories. I read and had them read several iterations of the story before we got to the final product. They are my target audience, so it made perfect sense for them to be involved in the creation of the stories.
I took it a step further, my oldest took the cover photo of my youngest child’s hands. I used this opportunity to show them the process of using a green screen, then showing them how I am digitally able to subtract the background and use just the hands for the illustrations. Both my kids got to be part of the book in a way that was meaningful to them.
They were also involved with developing the stories. “The Night of the Lights’ is the first book in the Little Mind Book series.
Q: What is the book about? In the first book, our main character Sam discovers the magic of fireflies for the first time. Sam lives in the city, but Gigi lives in the country and when they go to her backyard, they go on adventure to catch the tiny friends at dusk. I wanted Sam to have to overcome an obstacle and learn something in each story. You will just love the solution Sam finds in this one.
Q: What does it mean to write inclusive children’s books? I really wanted to focus on making a children’s book that was inclusive. Not all kids have a nuclear family. In these stories I wanted two characters who had an obvious close connection, but I didn’t want to completely define them as relatives. I just wanted them to have a nurturing, and loving relationship for these adventures.
Not all kids have their grandparents close, or even have living grandparents. SO I didn’t want Gigi to definitively be Sam’s grandmother.
Q: Who inspired your main character? Sam is inclusive in that Sam could be any child. We purposely do not show Sam’s face, lots of the illustrations involve Sam’s hands. I want every child to feel like they could be Sam. It was also important to me that Sam was not identified by gender. Everyone knows someone named Sam and it is a great gender-neutral name for a character.
Q: What age range is best for this book? This story was designed to be read to children ages 4-8. I think that older children 8-10 can read the book for themselves. I wanted the vocabulary in the book to be a bit challenging because children learn so many worlds when they are incorporated into context. When read to them, a younger child will enjoy the story as much as a child that is a bit older.
Q: Where can I buy the Book? Right now, the hardcover book is exclusively available on our Little Mind Books website. We are working to get distribution on Amazon as well, but right now only the Kindle version is available on Amazon.
Q: What else should we know about Little Mind Books? We have a free membership for anyone who wants to have access to additional content and activities for kids. We have mazes and word searches as well as educational links all themed to the books. This is the only way that we send out coupons too so if you are interested in our stories make sure you sign up! Here is the Link.