I’m glad to be back with another author interview on the blog, this time with author Dianna Wilson Sirkovsky, who will be sharing about her picture book Just One Pebble, One Boy’s Quest to End Hunger, which released on September 5th, 2023. (Published by Clavis).
Probably what I love the most about this book is the fact that it’s based on the true story of a real kid, and I can’t wait for Dianna to tell us more about what inspired her to write this book and her experience doing it.
A bit about Just One Pebble, One Boy’s Quest to End Hunger:
It’s in the bag. A simple brown bag that changes lives. First Lady Michelle Obama challenges nine-year-old Braeden Mannering to make a difference. When Braeden encounters an elderly homeless man, giving him a bag of snacks and water, he realizes he can help hungry people and Brae’s Brown Bags (3B) is born. Braeden struggles with issues of inequity, dismayed to learn that kids in his own school don’t have lunches. It is the beginning of a public campaign of compassion and community building that continues to this day with over 15,000 bags distributed. Braeden is living proof of his own words: “Anyone can change the world as long as they dream big.” His story inspired Just One Pebble, One Boy’s Quest to End Hunger, a picture book for ages 5 – 10 years.
Now on to our interview:
M. Dianna, thanks so much for stopping by the blog to share about this beautiful book. Can you tell us how did you first hear about Braeden Mannering? Why did you decide to write his story?
D. Thanks so much for having me, Mariana! I first read about Braeden and his work on The Hunger Site. I knew immediately that I wanted to write about this amazing boy! I began writing and researching almost immediately. I visited his website (https://braesbrownbags.org) and his Facebook page. I also found many informative articles about him and his organization, Brae’s Brown Bags. Once the story was written, reached out to Braeden’s family.
M. Thanks for sharing about your research process, I’m glad there were so many information sources available, though I’m sure reaching to Braeden’s and his family was very special. How did you come up with the book’s title?
D. I’m so glad you asked this! The title came from something that Braeden wrote: “…My mom says when you throw a pebble into the water the ripples can spread out all the way across a pond. She is humbled to see the ripple effect that 3B is causing and she’s so proud to know that I’m the pebble.” I just loved this and thought it made the perfect title for Braeden’s story.
M. I agree! That’s just perfect. How did you manage to get Braeden’s message in the back matter of your book?
D. That was the easy part! When I knew the story was to be published, I asked Braeden to write something for the reader that could be included at the back of the book.
M. I’m sure children, parents, and teachers will appreciate Braeden’s words. How unique! Can you tell us what message are you hoping readers will take away from this book?
D. Kindness is easy and it’s a choice. I want readers to feel empowered that they can make change happen. It can be small – a simple kindness or something bigger. Braeden said it best… “Anyone can change the world as long as you dream big”. Work for your dreams and don’t be discouraged. My first book was published when I was 62 years old! I once saw a bumper sticker that said DREAMS ARE FREE. Indeed, they are.
M. I love that, Dianna! I agree that everyone can make a difference and that dreams may sometimes not be easy to achieve, but we must persevere.
Finally, are there are any new projects you’re currently working on? What comes next for you?
I have a couple of recently written stories that I am in the process of submitting to publishers. I’m also querying a few children’s agents in the hope of connecting with an agent who can help me continue to produce and market my best work. I have a new story banging around in my head, but it’s a bit of a change for me, so I’m still reading mentor texts and doing some workshops. Hopefully it will come to fruition!
Dianna, I’m glad to hear you’re keeping busy creating new stories. I wish you the best on the journey ahead, may they find a publishing home soon. Please keep us posted and thanks again for this lovely interview.
Dianna has always been a bibliophile with a particular love of picture books. The way the words and illustrations work together can be pure magic. Her first PB, James’ Reading Rescue, was published when she was 62 years old and has sold in 9 languages! Sara (her illustrator extraordinaire) and Dianna are so excited about that and grateful they had the chance to work together again on Just One Pebble.
Thanks for reading!
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Cover photo by NSU-MON.