Saturday, June 9, 2012


Today I am hosting Nancy I Sanders as she celebrates the June 1 release of FREDERICK DOUGLASS FOR KIDS: HIS LIFE AND TIMES, WITH 21 ACTIVITIES (Chicago Review Press).

About the book:
Few Americans have had as much impact on this nation as Frederick Douglass. Born on a plantation, he later escaped slavery and helped others to freedom via the Underground Railroad. In time he became a bestselling author, an outspoken newspaper editor, a brilliant orator, a tireless abolitionist, and a brave civil rights leader. He was famous on both sides of the Atlantic in the years leading up to the Civil War, and when war broke out, Abraham Lincoln invited him to the White House for counsel and advice.

Frederick Douglass for Kids follows the footsteps of this American hero, from his birth into slavery to his becoming a friend and confidant of presidents and the leading African American of his day. And to better appreciate Frederick Douglass and his times, readers will form a debating club, cook a meal similar to the one Douglass shared with John Brown, make a civil war haversack, participate in a microlending program, and more. This valuable resource also includes a time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and web resources for further study.

About Nancy:
Nancy I. Sanders is the bestselling and award-winning author of over 80 books including the picture book D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. She teaches other writers how to launch their career to the next level based on material found in her groundbreaking book for writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. Nancy and her husband, Jeff, live in southern California. They have two adult sons, Dan and Ben.

You photographed many of the images in your book.  Tell us how you did it.

I knew that this publisher accepts photographs as part of the finished book, so the first thing I did was send a couple of samples to my editor to see if my digital camera took shots that were of the quality needed to publish in the book. Some were and some weren’t, so I got out my instruction guide to my camera and learned more about how to use the settings on my camera. I knew I’d be working inside museums with low lighting so I especially wanted to see if that would work. This time around, my editor said that the photographs were a much better quality.

Then I contacted museum and historic sites to get permission to take photographs and publish them in my book. Some sites required a payment fee and also a permission form to fill out. Others didn’t require anything and gave me permission. Still others don’t give permission to photograph their collections.

My publisher requires written permission from every place that shows I have permission to publish photographs from their museum or historic site. For some of these places, an e-mail from them stating they gave me permission was enough. For other places, my publisher had a form for them to fill out.

Then, during my trip I took tons of photographs of each thing. I used a tripod a lot, too. This was because I had no way of checking the quality of my photographs until I checked them out on my computer when I got home. I’m not a professional photographer, so I knew I’d have lots of fuzzy images to deal with. In the end, I had lots of clear shots I was able to use for the book. Plus, I use lots of my extras that didn’t make it into the book for posts on my blog and other marketing events.

How did you acquire the pictures that you didn't photograph?

The Internet is such an amazing resource for authors today! When I’d search for a name or topic for my book, lots of images would come up. I always looked for free images since I’m paying for these myself, and also for images in the public domain. The Library of Congress had a lot of these types of images.

Another source that had numerous images for a very low cost was Documenting the American South. They own a lot of historic books that are in the public domain. They have scanned many of the images from their books and now offer them for use in projects like mine for a very low cost. I used a lot of images from them, too. They had a permission form I filled out and then sent me the images to use.

Another resource I used was I’d search for a public historic site such as Frederick Douglass’s gravesite in Rochester, and up would come a bunch of photographs people have taken who have visited the site. Then I contacted several of these people and asked for permission to publish their images in my book. I acquired a couple of images this way.

What are you doing to celebrate the release of your book, Frederick Douglass for Kids?

I’m hosting a two-week virtual Book Launch Party! There are prizes to win, fun facts to learn, and lots of inside peeks and helpful tips about how a book is born. Stop by my site today to join in the party. You can join the fun on my blog today at:

Thanks, Nancy!  And good luck with your book. 
Readers, you can learn more about Nancy and Frederick at these sites:



  1. Jody, it's a joy to be here on your site today. Thanks for hosting a day of my Book Launch Party. And congratulations on the great news about your new books!!! -Nancy

  2. I'm happy to have you, Nancy! Much luck with your newest book!

  3. Great to see Nancy here also. Her book should be in every classroom. Thank you, Jody, for hosting this author and letting the Blue Boarders know.

    1. Hi Mirka! It's great to see you here on Jody's site, too. And yes, Jody, thanks for helping to spread the word!

  4. Wonderful post, ladies. Your book sounds wonderful, Nancy. We're a history-loving family and can't wait to read it. I also recognize your name from some our family's favorite CLUBHOUSE JR. stories. I'm a fairly frequent contributor there as well. And, Jody, I believe you have some stories in the CHJ pipeline as well. In any case this a very nice and interesting interview. Now, I'll pop over to Nancy's blog. - L. Sassi

    1. That's so great to connect here with fellow writers for CLUBHOUSE JR. What a great magazine that is! Thanks for your kudos!

  5. Thanks, Laura. Yep, I've got three rebuses coming out in CHJ.

    1. Wow, congratulations, Jody!!! I can't wait to read them!!!

  6. This book will be a great resource for kids. When my son was studying Frederick Douglass in school, he had no sources with this depth of interesting images.

    1. Yes, I'm hoping teachers and libraries can get this book especially to help kids when they're writing their reports or studying about Frederick Douglass! Thanks for your kind words, Vonna!