Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Giveaway and Green Guest of the Month: Nancy Stewart, Author of One Pelican at a Time

This month I had the honor to interview St. Louis-area author Nancy Stewart. Nancy’s recently released picture book, On Pelican at a Time, is the first title in a new eco-conscious series about Bella and Britt, two friends who love living by the beach. In One Pelican at a Time, the two heroines embark on an adventure to save an old pelican after the Horizon Deepwater Spill of 2010.

***Book Giveaway: Leave a comment at the end of this interview for a chance to win a signed copy of One Pelican at a Time.

What inspired you to write One Pelican at a Time?

My husband and I bought a condo on the water in Clearwater Beach, Florida, three years ago. Although I didn’t know it would, that decision had a profound effect on me. I watched the marine life on our daily walks and quickly grew to love it all, particularly the brown pelicans. And then the spill occurred. I had already written two other books in the Bella and Britt series, Sea Turtle Summer and Bella Saves the Beach. My publisher, Lynda Burch at Guardian Angel Publishing, and I thought a book on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill demanded to be written. And so I wrote it.

Can you share some of the highlights on your path to publication?

I was one of those kids who wrote a lot, loved English Literature and composition classes and had an ongoing love affair with words. I didn’t begin writing with a view to publication, though, until about five years ago. I was teaching Children’s and Young Adult Literature to university students and remembered how much I enjoyed picture books. My first books were just that, first books. I began querying way too early and wondered why my books weren’t snatched up. Now when I look back, it’s abundantly clear to me why they weren’t! I joined SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and became involved, both locally and nationally. I knew I needed more of a platform to be taken seriously, so I not only did a web site but started blogging. That has made such a difference to me professionally. Blogging, particularly, has forced me to write daily for adults and not just for kids. No one is more surprised than I that people from many countries, including Russia, Indonesia and South Korea, are now following.

What do you hope One Pelican at a Time will impart to your readers?

My hope is that children will read this book and want to know more about an oil spill and why it happens. I hope they will discuss this with their parents and teachers and begin to wonder, “What can I do to be sure such a terrible thing never happens again?” I hope children and their caregivers will be more proactive about nurturing the area in which they live. I hope they will lead by example. Is that a tall order for Pelican? Probably. But someone has to start somewhere. It may as well be Britt, Bella and the old crooked beak pelican.

What do you think is the long term prognosis for the Gulf?

It’s interesting you ask this question. Just this week, my publisher, Linda Burch, emailed me about not only oil washing ashore where they are in the Florida panhandle, but a large oil slick on the water can be seen as well. Because it’s out of the news, there seems to be no immediacy about the spill anymore. If this spill is not addressed continuously and with utmost vigor, it will still be an unmitigated disaster. From my research on the gulf devastation, I’ll modestly quote Sir Winston Churchill who said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

How has writing One Pelican at a Time inspired you to do things in your own life to become more eco-conscious?

Before writing this series, I tried to be eco-conscious by doing such things as re-using plastic bags and never using pesticides of any kind in my garden (which I still do.) Since the books, I find myself doing things that I know many of us are doing: using economical light bulbs and turning them off when leaving a room, turning off water while brushing teeth, being more careful with the house temperature and using eco-friendly cleaning and washday products. But it’s also a state of mind, isn’t it? It’s an omnipresent pledge to look after our planet in whatever ways we can and to always be aware of fulfilling that pledge as we live our daily lives.

What can your readers look forward to next?

The next two books in the Bella and Britt series, Sea Turtle Summer and Bella Saves the Beach, will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing during this year. I’ve had many people request a manatee or dolphin book featuring the girls, so that’s in my thoughts at the present. Wherever my muse takes me, though, the girls and their pursuit of justice for our planet will always be dear to my heart.

Thank you, Nancy! One Pelican at a Time definitely shows that even little hands can make a big difference to the environment!

To learn more about Nancy and her books visit:

Enter to win an signed copy of One Pelican at a Time, follow these rules:

1. Post a comment to today's blog post by clicking the bold comment button at the bottom of this post. Tell why you'd like to win a copy of One Pelican at a Time.

2. Include contact information in your comment. If you are not a blogger, or your email address is not accessible from your online profile, please provide a valid email address in your comment. Note: THE LITTLE GREEN PEN cannot prevent spammers from accessing email addresses posted within comments, so please disguise your address by spelling out portions, such as the [at] and [dot].

3. Post your comment by 11 pm, Thursday March 24th. (The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, March 25th.) Note: Winners automatically grant me permission to post their names on the LITTLE GREEN PEN website.

4. You must have a mailing address in the United States.


  1. Wow! great interview. I cannot wait to read this book and use it in my middle school classroom as a mentor text.
    Thanks for making this available.

  2. Hello,

    I am a huge fan of Nancy. Thanks for posting such a great interview.

    Nicole Weaver

  3. Nancy,
    I donate all of the picture books I get to a small local library. I think it would be a great addition to their collection.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
    Children's Author of Klutzy Kantor & Marta's Gargantuan Wings

  4. Michelle and Nancy -
    What a great, relevant, topical book. I enjoyed the interview with Nancy! Thanks for sharing it with us. This is right on the mark.
    Eileen Meyer

  5. I love reading author interviews. Thanks to both of you for share. I am so glad someone wrote a children's book about the oil spill and I am excited to hear this is a series.
    katie mills giorgio

  6. Congrats on your book! This was a wonderful interview. I can't wait to share your book with my son, who has always been very environmentally conscious. :-) I love how you are following your dream and making a difference!

    I am a fellow author and booklover and have started a collection for my children of autographed books.

    Thank you,


  7. When my first book was published in 2005 I began a collection of signed books for my children and grandchildren. I know they will love this story about our environment. Thanks for the interview!

  8. Thanks for the wonderful interview. Nancy Stewart's book is timely and addresses the environmental theme eloquently. I wish her book series great success!