Author’s name: Connie Bergstein Dow
Illustrator’s name: Debbie Palen
Other book titles:
1. “From A to Z with Energy!” (Free Spirit Publishing)
2. “Beastie Jamboree” (Young Dragons Press)
3. “One, Two, What Can I Do? Dance and Music for the Whole Day” (Redleaf Press)
4. “Dance, Turn, Hop, Learn!” (Redleaf Press)
What is your upcoming book title? “Tap and Rap, Move and Groove”
Date of release: October 10, 2023
Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
1. What are 5 things you want people to know about your book?
1. It will inspire children to get up and dance!
2. The book features fourteen dance chants, with directions for doing the movements built right into the rhythmic text.
3. The movement activities in the book are ones that I have used successfully during my many years of teaching dance to young children.
4. The illustrations by Debbie Palen are gorgeous and capture the joy of children dancing.
5. It recently won a Moonbeam Bronze Medal award for picture books ages 4-8.
2. What are 5 helpful hints or tips you wish you would’ve known before starting on this publishing journey?
My publishing journey began with my first book for teachers about movement and early childhood. Since publishing that first book, I have learned so much about the publishing process:
- Submissions were all paper when I wrote my first book for teachers, and getting a submission off to the post office was like hitting the “send” button now.
- The writing community is one of the best resources an author has. Ask a question to a group of writers (especially in an online community), and you will get many wonderful answers!
- When I started writing books, I realized the importance of feedback on my writing. It is so helpful to have a critique group, both to give you valuable feedback on your manuscripts, and to be around those who are on a similar writing journey.
- There are many free resources about the writing/submission process. It is important to get information from many different sources as you learn about the writing and submission process (SCBWI is a great starting point)
- I think it is important to write what you truly want to write about. It will imbue your stories with authenticity and heart.
3. What are 5 fun/quirky facts about yourself as an adult or child?
- When I was little, I had trouble getting my body to move in an integrated way. My mother said I would even trip over the patterns in the carpet. They put me in dance classes to help me develop coordination, and I also gained body and spatial awareness, strength, and a way to express myself. This eventually led me to my lifelong career.
- I have three children and six grandchildren. Grandchild #6 arrived the day before this book’s birthday! He is in the book’s dedication as “the little one on the way.”
- I graduated as the very first dance major from Denison University.
- I have had the opportunity to live for almost three years in Latin America, and to perform in dance companies in Venezuela and Guatemala.
- I love dogs! I have had mostly big dogs, but I recently downsized to a Havanese, and he is a perfect little companion.
4. Where are 5 places you find inspiration for your stories?
- My dance students
- Successful activities I have done with my dance students over the years
- Remembering things my own children said or did
- My grandchildren
- All aspects of movement and dance
5. Name 5 of your favorite picture books. What makes them special?
- “Charlotte’s Web,” by EB White. I was at a sleepover camp when I was eight years old, and found this book in the camp library. I didn’t know anything about it, and it is one of the first books I discovered on my own. I was touched and amazed by the story, and it has always held a special place in my heart.
The next four are classic picture books that I have used over the years in my creative movement classes with young children to create dance stories. These are some of my favorites:
- “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” by Crockett Johnson. This book is all about imagination in its purest form. One crayon, and Harold is off on an exciting adventure
- “The Carrot Seed,” by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. A carrot seed, the main character’s belief in himself, persistence, and a triumphant ending
- “The Snowy Day,” by Ezra Jack Keats. Appreciation of all of the fun things a child can do on a snowy winter day, with a tender ending
- “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle. The exciting journey from egg to butterfly, with gorgeous illustrations. What can be more fun to dance about than imagining you are an egg, hatching into a caterpillar, eating all that food, building a cocoon, and finally emerging as a colorful butterfly?