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True Story Blog

5 Favorites from . . . Mia Wenjen!

Mia Wenjen blogs at Pragmatic Mom on diverse children's books. She is the author of the picture book, Sumo Joe, illustrated by Nat Iwata. She also wrote Best #OwnVoices Children's Books: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Aged 1-12, a resource to find diverse books. Her book, How To Coach Girls, co-authored with Alison Foley, focuses on helping coaches keep girls in sports. She is a co-creator of Multicultural Children's Book Day, a non-profit celebrating diversity in children's books, and also a co-founder of Aquent, the world's largest company staffing creative, digital and marketing talent with 37 offices around the world. She lives in Boston with her husband, three kids, and Golden Retriever.


So what are Mia’s 5 Favorites?:


My favorite place to write:

In my office at home which is drenched in light. The house my husband restored for our family was a mess but I fell in love with the house because of this space and it became my home office. I made the bookshelves 9 inches so it only fits chapter/middle grade books. I have an old wall unit for picture books in my basement.


My favorite mentor text:

My favorite book in the world is Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Every chapter is a short story that introduces a living, breathing character that stays with you forever, and the book is more than a sum of its parts. 


My favorite writing tip:

Believe in yourself and know that writing is a process of continuous improvement, like the Japanese term "kaizen." Editing is "kaizen." Writing every day is also "kaizen." I watched a webinar with a famous editor who said not to attempt to write in rhyme unless you majored in English and knew all about esoteric forms of poetry. I majored in History and Science, but the first picture book that came to life in my head, came out in rhyme and became Sumo Joe. I don't know much about poetry but used rhythm and beat, like percussion, to lead the way for my story.


My favorite marketing tip:

Collaboration combined with a greater cause or commonality is a really effective way to meet people through social media. It can be with other authors, illustrators, or bloggers. Or it can be around that cause or social justice issue. 


My favorite book event of the year:

Multicultural Children's Book Day coming up January 31, 2020. This is our 7th year of celebrating diversity in children's books!


To learn more about Mia and her work, visit her website.

As always, if you have read the author’s work, consider writing a quick review using the links above.

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