My latest book review is a story called I May Fly by Brandon Baxter. In the words of the author, it is a story about “teaching children the importance of being patient while you grow, letting life and its lessons take their due course.” Brandon was kind enough to do an author interview with me to share along with my review of his book, so keep reading after the review to hear what he has to say about the inspiration behind the story and some of the process of taking an idea and turning it into a published work.
This story is by far the shortest story that I’ve featured on the blog as of yet. However, that does not diminish it at all, it’s simply written for a very young audience. I really enjoyed reading it and loved the illustrations. The story is about a mayfly named May Fly who is very young and, as of yet, unable to fly. As the book goes on, May Fly talks about having confidence in who she is and where she is in life right now and accepting that. The story is based on a sort of play on words that is very clever. The main character says, “I’m a fly” then “I May Fly.” So as you read it, the two sentences sound exactly the same. The entire book is somewhat a clever play on words as it is a rhyming book. As I read it, I pictured reading it to my own young children right before naps or bedtime. It has a lullaby feel to it and the illustrations reinforce that aura.
The first thing that stuck out to me in this book is how consistent it is genre wise and thematically. As I said, the book feels like a lullaby to read to a very young child as they go to sleep. It is rhyming and whimsical. Shannon Lloyd, the illustrator, did an outstanding job of keeping the illustrations consistent with the overall feel of the book. They are done in a kind of hazy pastel style that is somewhat fantastical and dreamlike. The colors are soft and soothing to create an entire ambience that is warm and relaxing. I also really did enjoy the whole play on words that creates the book. As a parent who is constantly forced to read the same 100-700 word books over and over and over again, it caught my interest and engaged me in the book right away. I also like that the book was only 110 words. I feel like it is the perfect length for what it is. It’s not a huge story with a lot of plot twists. It is a simple story for young children. I think if the author had made it any longer, it would have been too much of the same thing in an effort to simply extend it. However, as I said, I feel that the length of the book is perfect.
Discussion and Teaching Points for Parents/Guardians and Teachers
The themes in this book are great for discussion points with young children, especially those with siblings. One of the things that May Fly says is, “I may fly tomorrow, or today.” I think it’s probably a great thing to discuss with children that some things may come more quickly to some kind than to others. Just because you can do something or do it better than another child doesn’t mean that you are better and just because another child can do something or do it better doesn’t mean that you are worse. Talking about how everyone has innate and inherent value simply based on being a living creature and not based on any kind of merit is a very important discussion.
May Fly also says “Some believe I won’t fly at all. Perhaps it’s because they think I’m too small.” This too is a very important discussion point for children. I believe that many times, children don’t reach their full potential because of the limits that they allow other people to place on them. Talking to them about overcoming obstacles in life despite what others may say is critical.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. It was also great to be able to work with an author from my own home town of Medina, Oh. If this book piques your interest, click on this link to check it out on Amazon. Now on to the author interview.
ES – Is I May Fly your first book?
BB – I May Fly is indeed my first book. I’ve had previous writing experience in the past, mainly writing news copy as a sports producer and contributing as a sports writer for a couple of blogs. But, writing a children’s book has been my first foray into actual published literature.
ES – What would you say the message or theme of the book is?
BB – Patience and perseverance. It’s geared toward teaching children the importance of being patient while you grow, letting life and its lessons take their due course.
ES – How long ago did you get the idea and how long from there to actually publishing your book?
BB – The idea came to me in June of 2018, shortly after uprooting and moving to a new city. As I left for work one morning, a wall of mayflies covered the door of my apartment building. After brushing them off of me and sliding into my car, the word mayfly began running through my mind. My entire drive into work that day was in complete silence as I played around with words in my head. It would be another month before finally putting pen to paper, then another three months before meeting my illustrator (Shannon Lloyd). The first publishing didn’t occur until late January 2019, when I decided to self-publish using Kindle.
ES – How/where did you find your illustrator? Was it a process finding someone whose style fit that of your manuscript?
BB – Honestly, I give credit to connections I‘ve made. I met Shannon through a former co-worker, someone who I was simply talking with about my book. This co-worker, Rebecca, mentioned to me that a friend of hers had illustrated a children’s book before. I asked if she’d be willing to introduce us. After having my initial conversation with Shannon, I asked her to look over my manuscript and create a character that children would find to be cute and endearing. To this day I still feel Shannon nailed it on the first try!
ES – What does it feel like to have an actual published book and to officially be an author?
BB – It’s kind of surreal, it’s something I never would have thought about or expected out of myself. Had you asked 30 year-old Brandon, it would have never crossed my mind. But age and life experiences can change a person, and sometimes you have to pay close attention to those changes and what information they bring. I can guarantee you that if certain instances had not occurred in my life, I would not be a published author at this specific point in time.
ES – Would you like to have a career exclusively as an author?
BB – I would love that! I feel I might possess quite a few unique stories to share with and tell the world.
ES – Do you have any more books/writing in the works?
BB – I haven’t yet begun writing in earnest, not another story at least. I do have some ideas of continuing May Fly tales, so we’ll see where her next adventure takes us.
ES – How and where can people get ahold of your book and/or follow you on Twitter and/or Instagram?
BB – “I May Fly” can currently be purchased as paperback on Amazon and digitally on Kindle. I encourage readers to like and share my Facebook page for all kind of information about my writings, it’s called Stories by: Brandon Baxter. You can also find me on Twitter, my handle is @bbaxter8
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