Award-winning author Sherrill S. Cannon is really a canon in the children's book world as her last name says. She has won 46 awards for her 9 rhyming books and is also the author of seven published and internationally performed plays for elementary school children. Sherrill has been called “a modern day Dr. Seuss” by GTMA Review. She grew up in the Willard Hotel in the middle of downtown Washington, D.C., a block from the White House. Fascinating! Isn't it? The first children’s book she wrote was Peter and the Whimper-Whineys but that wasn't the first one published. Her first debut story, Santa’s Birthday Gift was written by her several years before it was published and kept away until she retired. From her best creations "My Little Angel" was written with younger pre-school children in mind, providing specific ways for small children to learn to be a better person and to remain safe in this changing world.
I grew up in the Willard Hotel in the middle of downtown Washington, D.C., a block from the White House! I’m the original Eloise!! My favorite children’s book was Munro Leaf’s Manners Can Be Fun… and I also loved Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss for my children. I’ve always been a prolific reader.What got you into writing Children's books? When are you most satisfied with what you've written?
The first children’s book I wrote was Peter and the Whimper-Whineys, but that wasn’t the first one published. It was a story told to me and my brother – and later to her grandchildren – but it wasn’t in a book. I taped her telling the story to my children and then put the story into poetry (since I’ve always loved to write poetry.) I am most satisfied when I can read the story aloud and the meter and rhyme are in synch.What grade did you teach when you were a teacher? What was the most memorable experience you had as a teacher?
I taught high school physical education for ten years, although I did my practice teaching on an elementary school level. My most memorable experience was becoming the Head of the Physical Education Department at my alma mater, ten years after graduation, and being in charge of organizing the graduation exercises in the Washington National Cathedral!Can you remember back to the time you were writing your debut novel and could you tell us a little about what life was like for you then? How little or how much has life changed for you since?
My debut “children’s book” was written several years before it was published, and put away until retirement allowed me to put time into seeking publication. Santa’s Birthday Gift was published in 2009. Life has changed immeasurably since I first began writing, since my mother collected my poetry when I started writing it at age 4!! Think back to 1944…!!!You said your inspiration for "Santa's Birthday Gift" came from your granddaughter after she asked where Santa was in the story of Jesus Christ's birth. Does most of your inspiration come from her or from elsewhere?
Actually, my inspiration came from her question, “But where’s Santa?”, but the story itself came to me in a dream - and many of the details occurred to me while writing it. I thank God regularly for letting me be the one to write this story. My inspiration for my books is to try to find ways to teach kindness and consideration for others, disguised as fun stories.What was it like to win a Pinnacle Achievement Award for your book "Mice & Spiders & Webs...Oh My!"? What is your definition of success?
The Pinnacle Awards have always been rewarding to me, since the competition is available seasonally and gives me an indication of potential success. Each of my books has won a Pinnacle Achievement Award, since I discovered the awards in 2011 with The Magic Word. Mice & Spiders & Webs…Oh My! has won four other awards including Gold Medal in the Global eBook Awards. It’s a fun book as an introduction to computer terms, and my teenage grandson’s reaction to the conclusion was, “I didn’t see that coming!” (Success is making children happy while reading my books to them…that’s what it’s all about!)Name some words you've had most trouble finding something suitable to rhyme with.
I don’t really look for words to rhyme… they seem to find me! It isn’t just rhyme that’s important but the meter – or the sound - of the words. When I read to school children we often talk about the “music of the words”. (For the record, I was once advised I’d never find a word to rhyme with “silver”.)What are some of the lessons and values you hope kids will learn by reading "My Little Angel"? Do you believe you have a guardian angel?
My Little Angel was written with younger pre-school children in mind, providing specific ways for small children to learn to be a better person, and to remain safe in this changing world of ours. It also stresses the concept that one is never really alone, and that idea brings comfort to many. (One of my fans asked me to include pets in one of my stories, so this one includes a kitty and a dog!) And yes, I believe I have a Guardian Angel…several of them!Do you ever plan on writing a book series for children? If so, what would you want it to be about? If not, could you tell us why?
My Little Angel is my last children’s book, so I will not be writing a “series”. However, all of my books, beginning with The Magic Word, include characters from previous books as well as hidden past book covers for readers to discover - so in a way they are a “series of kindness and consideration” books! As far as future writing is concerned, I will have a book of poetry, A Penny for Your Thoughts, released very soon and am looking forward to sharing it. I hope AllAuthor will be including it also! Please stay tuned!What sort of difference do you think a book makes in a child's life? In this modern world of growing technology, do you think that books are growing out of style?
I have always loved books, as have my children and grandchildren, in spite of the digital world. I only provide eBooks since they are more portable and convenient, but small children really need and want physical books to hold and take to bed with them! I truly can’t imagine going to bed myself without reading first, and I hope all parents and grandparents foster this love of reading. (I always have a book with me!)Are you a Disney movie fan? If so, which one is your favorite?
I’ve always loved Disney, and Cinderella was a favorite as well as the original Parent Trap with Hayley Mills – but I also love Finding Dory!!Who is the most influential person you know and how have they helped you as an author?
I certainly wish I knew some influential people who could help me as an author!! (If any of you are reading this, I’m available!)If you read your books as a child, do you think you would like them?
Yes!!! (I write them with my “child-eye” in mind!)