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Friday, February 10, 2012

Visiting with Sherrill Cannon, Award Winning Children's Author and Playwright

Sherrill would you tell us a little about yourself before we discuss your books?

I am a mother of four and a grandmother of nine. I have written three published children’s books, as well as four published musical plays for elementary school children. I will have a fourth children’s book released in early 2012.  A former teacher, I have had varied careers including Varsity Coach, professional Newspaper Sports Photographer and Columnist,  Dinner Theatre Company Stage Manager, Talent Manager, and Business Administrator. My husband and I celebrated our 51th wedding anniversary in June!  We are now retired, and we travel in our RV from the east coast to the west coast each year to spend time with our children and grandchildren... sharing my books along the way! 

Tell us about the genre of your work. 

My children’s books are all in rhyme and meter – anapestic tetrameter - and are written to be read to small children.  Older children enjoy reading them too!

Why did you choose this genre?

I have always loved poetry and started writing lyrical poems when I was about 4 years old (my mother wrote them down for me.)  I feel that children love the music of the words, and they find it easy to remember rhymes.  I also love to teach, and all my books try to teach something like good manners and caring for others.  This genre chose me!

What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

·       The Magic Word, recipient of a 2011 Gold Readers Favorite Award, a 2011 NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award, and a 2011 Global eBook Finalist Award.

·       Santa’s Birthday Gift, recipient of a 2011 Silver Readers Favorite Award as well as a  2011  National Indie Excellence Finalist Award

·       Peter and the Whimper-Whineys, recipient of a 2011 Bronze Readers Favorite Award and also a 2011 USA Best Books Finalist Award.

They are all available in softcover as well as eBook.

I also have four published plays, Have You Seen My Little Lamb?, The King’s Spell, When You Wish Upon a Star…fish, and The Wonderful World of Weather (the latter three co-authored with my daughter who is an elementary school teacher.)

What ages do you direct your books?

My books are best for ages 3-8.  My plays are written for elementary school classroom students, grades 1-4.  

Would you tell us more about your books?

All of my books can be found at and – both softcover and eBook:

Santa’s Birthday Gift (978-1-60860-824-9) - Copyright 2009

Santa’s Birthday Gift includes Santa in the Christmas story. (After reading a story of the nativity to my granddaughter, she had asked, "But where’s Santa?")  Santa's gift to Jesus is his promise to bring gifts each year on Christmas to celebrate the Christ Child's birthday.

Peter and the Whimper-Whineys (978-1-60911-517-3) – Copyright 2010

Peter is a small rabbit who does nothing but whine. His mother warns him that if he can't stop whining he might have to go live with the Whimper-Whineys. Peter's nocturnal adventures convince him that Whimper-Whineyland is not a fun place to be, that the Whimper-Whineys are very ill-mannered and rude, and that his mother was right...if only he can find his way home!

The Magic Word (978-1-60976-909-3) – Copyright 2011

Elisabeth was rude, selfish and demanding and had very few friends. Her mother warned her that she needed to improve her manners and suggested she use the magic word “Please”. When Elisabeth went to school the next day, she thought of her mother’s advice, “What is the magic word?” and she started saying “Please” and also “Thank You”. She tried to become more thoughtful of others, and discovered that she was a much happier person. 

My newest book, now in Illustration, is Gimme-Jimmy.  It should be released this fall.

James Alexander’s nickname was Gimme-Jimmy because he was so greedy and selfish.  Imagine Jimmy’s concern when he discovered that every time he said the word “Gimme”, his hand grew larger.  Jimmy was happy to discover that when he was polite and said “Please” and “Thank you”, his hand began to shrink.  He started practicing his new “Polite Rule” and found out that it was much more fun to share.

Do your books have a teaching objective?  If so, what is it?

All my books strive to teach consideration for others, good manners and giving.  

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

Most of my characters have names that best fit the rhyme and rhythm of the story – and quite a few of them are family names.

Is there a unique character or a recurring character if you have more than one published or to be  published book?

No recurring characters – just recurring characteristics!  Good manners and thoughtfulness need to be taught at an early age!  And of course they are all written in rhyme!

What is your favorite thing about your book/s?

My favorite thing is being able to read them to children (which makes book-signings so much more fun) and the way so many small children seem to be able to remember many of the lines…which I hope they take to heart! 

Is your book illustrated?  If so, would you tell us by whom, and if you worked with an illustrator, can you discuss that experience?

All my books, including the newest one, are illustrated by the Kalpart Team.  This team is headed by KJ, and she and her team of artists are amazing. They are located in Mumbai, India, so all of the coordination and communication is done by internet.  She has a description of the basic illustration in the manuscript, and she sends me her sketch.  I can make any necessary changes by request – or sometimes I just draw something on top of her sketch to show her what I am looking for, and then scan it and send it back to her.  When it is ready, she sends a colored version for acceptance.  It works amazingly well.  Each of my books is uniquely illustrated as well.  Santa’s Birthday Gift was done in watercolors, with an amazing use of light which allows the star to help illuminate each scene.  Peter and the Whimper-Whineys was done in digital color, with most of the action in the book taking place at night.  The Magic Word, again in digital color, is very bright and simplistic, emphasizing the message of the story.  I think that Gimme-Jimmy will be very like it, since the message is similar although more boy-oriented.  She also has produced my awesome covers for me!!! (Paying for an illustrator is the most expensive part of getting a book published, but you can’t have a children’s picture-book without pictures!  I feel that KJ is worth every penny!)

How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?

My children’s books, because they are in rhyme, are more like poetry in many ways.  And I have always loved poetry, so they are fun for me to write.

Are there any problems in getting children’s’ books published?  

I sent out a few queries when I was working, but it wasn’t until I retired that I had time to pursue getting my books published.  I sent the manuscript of Santa’s Birthday Gift electronically to the Writer’s Literary Group, who suggested I submit it to the Strategic Book Group – and now I have three published books and another on the way. 

Why and when did you begin writing?

As mentioned earlier, my mother tells me I was writing poetry at age 4.  I have always loved to write, but now I have time to do it!

What is your writing schedule?  

Whenever… Actually, a lot of “lines” pop into my head in the middle of the night, so I have a tablet and pen beside my bed so I can write them down.

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

I have four more children’s books to publish and three more plays (two of which have been submitted to my publisher at Lazy Bee Scripts.)  I also have a couple more rhymed children’s stories in the works, however most of my current time is taken up with marketing my books online.  There are so many opportunities and so little time…

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and get published?

I whole-heartedly recommend my publisher, Strategic Book Group, to anyone who wishes to get started and not spend a lot of time writing queries to publishers who respond (if at all) by telling you to get an agent – or trying to find an agent who tells you they only accept published authors!  Also, it’s really important to determine the right niche for your book, so you will be able to focus your efforts on productive marketing.  

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

Just be sure that anything you decide to submit anywhere is edited to the best of your ability before you send it out.  Bad grammar and poor spelling can undermine a masterpiece!

What do you do when you are not writing?  

My husband and I like to go “rving” which is camping with a “house” instead of a tent!  I also love to read.

Anything else you would like to add?

A little bit about my plays for elementary school children:  

The plays are written for elementary school classroom students, grades 1-4.  Each child has at least one line in the play. They are all musicals, although they use suggested popular songs and nursery rhyme songs which can be selected by the teacher or music teacher.  Most of the plays are co-authored by my daughter, Kerry Gallagher.  The plays have had several performances each, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom!

Have You Seen My Little Lamb? – Mary has brought her lamb to school and now the lamb is lost.  Mary, with the help of Mother Goose, meets many storybook friends as she searches for her lost lamb.

The King’s Spell - Something is not right in Mother Goose Land, when Old King Cole casts a spell on the characters.  Mother Goose wanders through the kingdom finding everything mixed up until she can prevail upon the King to remove his spell.

When You Wish Upon a Star…fish - A little girl (or a little boy) finds a starfish while she is walking on the boardwalk and throws it back while making a wish that she could see what is under the sea.  The play continues with the starfish introducing the little girl to different sea creatures, who each tell her a little about themselves.  This play is educational in nature, and can easily be used in connection with a classroom project about undersea life.

The Wonderful World of Weather - A bird family starts the play, which continues through the different weather scenarios as they go through the seasons, and the bird family concludes the play returning to their nest at home. This play is educational in nature, and can easily be used in connection with a classroom project about the weather.

A couple more plays have been submitted as well.  Please stay tuned to my website for updates!

Another thing I would like to mention:  All three of my books are now part of a fund-raiser for the Women’s Economic Council Foundation (WECF), which sponsors programs and scholarships for girls and women.  Fifty percent of the sales of my books go to the Foundation.  I have provided the link below with the other links.  I attended the Summit meeting in Nashville TN in October, where I signed books, and the website is still live: 

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

I have always been an “over-achiever” and have had many “made it” moments in my life, including celebrating our 51th wedding anniversary in June.  Recently, the joy of receiving seven 2011 Awards for my three books!

You can learn more about the author and her books on the following sites:

Website and blog:

Amazon Links:


Women’s Economic Council Foundation:

You can visit my other blog at: that features a preview to my new book that will be released in 2012, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.


Unknown said...

It's good article and motivate the students for more success.. thanks for sharing..

Nursery Schools Mumbai

nilima said...

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away free. I love seeing website that understands the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.
Playschool Franchisee - Little Millennium

nilima said...

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away free. I love seeing website that understands the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.
Playschool Franchisee - Little Millennium