Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Today we are pleased to share with you our most recent author interview with Leslie Wolner Lederhandler, author of the Mom’s Choice Award-Winning children’s board book Auntie Ev’s Kitty Romp! Leslie created her Auntie Ev’s children’s series to entertain and soothe her own babies to sleep. Today, the first book in the series “Auntie Ev’s Kitty Romp” has come alive with wonderful illustrations by L.F. Byerley, and is now available for moms and dads to enjoy with their own babies and toddlers
MCA: Hi Leslie! Thanks for giving us your time. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Leslie: I am an author, novelist and publisher of children’s books. I live in Ambler, PA which is suburban Philadelphia with my family and pets where I work as an insurance and tags agent. I don’t have much free time, but when I do I love the beach! As a matter of fact, my New Year’s resolution was to get more lazy beach days. I have three large Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, 2 goldfish and 2 grand cats, so my love for animals takes up a lot of my time. I also love to travel, and do yoga almost every day in the morning sunshine. Those morning sun salutations do me good!
MCA: Kitty Romp is such an adorable and fun read! What inspired you to write your Aunt Ev’s books?
Leslie: I wrote these children’s books as poems when my kids were babies. I had them memorized and would recite them to get them to eat, go to sleep or play nicely together. The character Auntie Ev was added later as the babysitter narrating the stories and offering her input and advice. She is named after my BFF Evelyn who remains as my sidekick, critic and best fan.
MCA: I’m sure your children and Evelyn are tickled to have such a big part in what you’ve done! Have you always been interested in writing, or was it motherhood that pushed you into creating these characters and stories?
Leslie: From an early age I wanted to be an author. I kept journals full of poems and songs and tidbits of fiction that would later be weaved together into a novel and several children’s books. Having children was my greatest gift and inspiration but it took years for the stories to morph into the series it is today.
MCA: What do your children think about the stories you’ve told them their whole lives being in print, and being read in other peoples’ homes? That must be pretty neat!
Leslie: My son and daughter are amazed to see my funny little poems come to life as these books. I used them frequently to get them to sleep or to eat or get dressed to go to school. They are graduating college now, so those days are gone; however, we are all excited to see the words in print, and these gorgeous illustrations by my good friend Les Byerley.
MCA: If you knew writing this book accomplished one thing, either in your life or the lives of others, what do you hope that would be?
Leslie: I have always dreamed of being able to serve others, and I am hoping to inspire moms and dads to read more frequently to their children. I have applied to become involved with “books for babies” programs that give baby books to new parents. I think it’s so important that little ones establish a love of reading at a young age and hope to encourage parents to share story and reading time with their children.
MCA: What a wonderful mission– we at Mom’s Choice are very invested in that same thing! So what’s next for Aunt Ev?
Leslie: The second book in my series, “Auntie Ev’s Puppy Parade” will be available soon. The illustrations are in the final revisions and I hope to be able to work on the final two stories “Auntie Ev’s Hungry Monkey” and “Auntie Ev’s Daddy Dimples” later this year. After that, I have a lot of plans for Auntie Ev. I dream that someday she will have her own school, engage in the community and an advice column!