When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Kenda Henthorn, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Baa Baa Tap Sheep”. Take it away, Kenda…
Baa Baa Tap Sheep by Kenda Henthorn
The May 2022 publication of my debut picture book, BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP (illustrated by the award-winning illustrator, Lauren Gallegos and published by Sleeping Bear Press) has been a life-long dream of mine, literally decades in the making!
I’ve always loved books and dreamed o writing my own stories! As a kid, I saved all my babysitting money, eager to race to the bookstore to buy all my latest obsessions. In middle school, my best friend and I began writing our own sill stories and in high school, I took my first Creative Writing class. Inspired and guided, the teacher had us each submit our more polished, original works and when my very first poems and articles were published, I was HOOKED!
But soon after that came graduation, then collage, marriage, careers, a couple of interstate moves, and kids. You get it. I set my writing aside for many years. Yet something stirred in me every time I read books to my young sons. I wanted to write sweet, fun and funny stories, too! But where was the time? How could I ever learn to write well? And really, whoever gets to be an author?!
I’d worked in Higher Education for d3cad3s but when my sons were young, I retired from that career and moved instead into public education, taking a job as a Middle School Librarian Assistant. It didn’t pay much but the hours were exactly what I needed and the joy and benefits of being around all those books? Yes, please!
Then in 1997, I attended my very first Librarian conference called “Encyclomedia” and there, I found all the answers to my questions. Every speaker there exalted the benefits of becoming a member of the Society of Children’s Book writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). So I joined!
Tami Sauer’s picture book, Cowboy Camp, caught my attention and kept it )it’s incredibly fun and clever)! So I aspired to also always capture fun and clever elements in my writing, too!
And I met Anna Myers, author of the MG novel, The Keeping Room, at Enclyclomedia that year, too. During her presentation, Anna said she hadn’t started writing until she was in her 40’s! Closing in on my 40’s then, too, Anna had, with that one statement, dispelled all my fears that it was too late for me. Instead, I felt a fire to get my writing career started…immediately! How inspirational and empowering to know I hadn’t missed out on being able to become an author ” at my age, and I told Anna that, as she signed my copy of her book. Inside, I watched as she wrote “One day you will sign a book for me!“, and now, after almost a quarter of a century, I finally can!
With my debut book, BAA, BAA, TAP SHEEP hokey-pokey prancing its way out into the world now, I can assure you that every step in this loooong path toward publication, planned and unplanned, is incredibly valuable! Every step helped me ensure a strong foundation on which to build a creative career!
As Anna Myers encouraged me, I hope “One day you will sign a book for me”, too!
Kenda is originally from Pennsylvania and grew up behind the scenes on her parents’ western movie sets. Those dramas fueled her dreams since she was a kid on a pony.
She works in the aviation industry now, so it’s no surprise that her writing inspirations and aspirations are sky-high, too! Kenda resides in Oklahoma and when the winds aren’t sweeping down the plains, she enjoys flying, kayaking, and riding horses or her motorcycle. (Vroom-vroom!)
She has served as a Regional Coordinator for the Oklahoma SCBWI and a Best in Rhyme Award committee member and judge.
As a trio of tired tos settles into bed for the night, the sheep who should be helping them settle down to slumber kick up their hooves instead in an energetic dance performance. Starting with one little lamb and counting up to 10, these “sleep” sheep tap, waltz, tango, and even boogie as they get their nighttime groove on. But finally, after their energy is danced out, nap sheep lull everyone to sleep.
Amazon purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Baa-Tap-Sheep-Kenda-Henthorn/dp/1534111565/ref=sr_1_1?crid=9B411E0LI8TO&keywords=baa+baa+tap+sheep&qid=1659310459&sprefix=baa+baa+tap+sheep%2Caps%2C124&sr=8-1