MS. Marge Interviews Authors


Books, The Greatest Tools of Teaching

Below we interview authors around the world, who we know have a child's interest at heart and whose talent and hard work has brought alive a book we read in our classroom with pleasure. Please support these authors by buying their books and leaving a review at the site where you purchased it.


An A-Z alphabet book that stimulates imagination, inspires learning and encourages a lifelong thirst for natural knowledge.
The illustrator, Fearn Elder, daughter of Ms. Elder, brings to life the characters portrayed in this book. Her artwork for ‘My Nature Friends’ interpreted the rhymes beautifully through her illustrations.

Interview with Ngaire Elder

Ngaire was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, where she spent most of her childhood playing with her brother and her imaginary friends. She has managed to balance a writing career and family commitments. She has participated in reading events at primary schools in County Derry, Northern Ireland, and has taught English to young children participating in the Spanish school system's extracurricular activity program.

Welcome to our classroom, Ngaire. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Where did the idea for My Nature Friends come from?

My aim is to encourage children to read and to explore the great outdoors; therefore I came up with this fabulous idea, which incorporates the two.

I wanted to create a book which children could use and not just read. My Nature Friends has a Field Note section where children can record their sightings whilst out and about; learning to read and write through play!  Also, the sprightly illustrations can be coloured.

What convinced you to write 'My Nature Friends'?

"The Voices, Ms Marge."The Voices. In my head. They told me to do it."  Cool

On a more serious note, you either write or you don't, you are either inspired or you aren’t and, if you need convincing then you shouldn’t be writing! The only thing I would need to be convinced of is crossing a rope bridge; I prefer terra firma!

Please tell us about yourself as a writer. When do you write, where do you write, what gives you inspiration to write?

I write when I can. Being a mother of 4 children it is impossible to have a strict writing regime. Two of my children have been unwell these last two weeks so I did no writing; I need peace and quiet to write. Fingers crossed all the lurgies have been vanquished to another dimension and I will have a disease-free house for a while to continue with the next volume in my a-z picture book series.

I ‘write’ my stories in my head first, and then put pen to paper whilst researching my ideas and themes. Inspiration … my imagination inspires my writing as well as my children and their astounding zest for life. Furthermore, when school children tell me that one of my books is their favourite that too inspires me to write and write and write!

Do you have other preschool picture books in the works for future publication?

Yes, I do. I have started on the second book in my a-z picture book  series and I hope to publish it spring, 2015

We'll be looking forward to reading your next in this series. Please give us a return visit when it is printed.  

Ms Marge

You can purchase Ms. Elder's book at:

Author Page:

book trailer:

Other books written by Ngaire Elder.

The Adventures of Cecilia Spark, a series of juvenile fiction stories, action and adventure, for girls and boys aged 5-10. 


We choose to share this book by Kelly Brooks-Bay and illustrated by Lindsay Weirich, because we think it is a fun way to learn about colors AND feelings.

Interview with Kelly Brooks-Bay

Kelly Brooks-Bay graduated with her master's degree in Counselor Education in 2008 from the University of Maine. Kelly has used writing, pictures, and story telling in many aspects of teaching and counseling children. She is a twin and a mother of twin boys. She was born and raised in Maine and it is where she continues to live with her husband and three sons.

 Where did the idea come from for your book? 

 The idea of The Rainbow Pants was a combination of two places. The first: was one of my twins would be a bit grumpy one day and silly another. We started calling him "grumpy pants" on those grumpy days and "Silly pants" on those fun days. I also worked with a young boy who was diagnosed with autism and when we were talking about feelings it was hard for him to understand happy, sad, angry, etc. so when I showed him a smiley face for happy I put the color yellow behind it. Angry face would have red, etc. This little boy seemed to really pick up feelings when we added the colors. So together I mixed the two and came up with The Rainbow Pants

What convinced you to write "The Rainbow Pants"?

When I actually put the two ideas together I was at the playground with my boys and had to write most of the ideas on scrap paper and napkins. I watched how my three kids and the other kids are all so very different yet the same. Very much like Peter T. Peacock in The Rainbow Pants, acceptance of all people is a story that I hope to share with all people no matter the age.

 Do you have other preschool picture books in the works?

I am currently working on a pirate story as well as a spin on the three little pigs. Writing on just one story is very hard for me. It depends on my mood if I feel like sailing the high sails with the pirates or making homes with the three little pigs.

Thank you, Kelly. All teachers of the youngest students should have this book on their reading list.   

Ms. Marge

Kelly's web site is:

You can purchase this book for your classroom at

An owl has fallen out of his perch. He is hurt and cannot fly so he seeks refuge in other animals homes. Each animal is leery of this owl. Author, Angela Muse, shows children that kindness goes a long way. Beautifully illustrated by Helen H. Wu

Interview with Angela Musey

Angela Muse was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the "new kid" in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first children's book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children's picture books 

Thank you, Angela for allowing us to interview you. 

Where did the idea come from for your book? 

A simple photograph was the inspiration for the story.

What convinced you to write "The Christmas Owl?

I've been fascinated with owls for a few years now.  I had started to write another Christmas story, but wasn't happy with how it was progressing.  A few days after I trashed that story my brother-in-law posted a picture of a Barred Owl on Facebook that was visiting his backyard.  Once I saw that photo I knew I had to write a Christmas story about an owl.  I came up with the idea of an injured owl who had to rely on other creatures that are normally the owl's prey.  The idea was that the owl had to trust others and they had to trust him and in return he would repay their kindness and generosity.

Do you have other preschool picture books in the works?

We have several readings planned and other online promotions, but we have eight other stories perfect for preschoolers including our best selling books, The Bee Bully & Suzy Snowflake. 

Thank you, Angela, for sharing your charming book. All teachers of the youngest students should have this book on their reading list.

Ms. Marge 

Other books by Angela Muse

Suzy Snowflake

Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play

You can purchase this book at:

Angela's web site is:
This charming story book by Author John Murniek teaches children not to be afraid of spiders and other of nature's insects. Delightful illustrations by Dori Murniek.

Lily and the Tarantula by John Murniek

Some preschool children are fearful of bugs of any kind, especially spiders. This fear can often be toned down with books that are about cute and charming bug characters and help students to look at these buggy nature objects without fear and to treat them with respect and kindness. This is one of those books. Author, John Murnieks, has hit the nail on the head with 'Lily and the Tarantula." 

When not writing, John Murnieks is a technology executive. In addition to writing children's books he has some science fiction projects underway. John lives in Southern California with his wife, Erika, and their two children, who of course inspire many of his picture books and stories. 

Thank you, John, for agreeing to this interview.

Where did the idea come from for your book? 

 I was in the garage with my daughter when she screamed and told me to look by the door.  There was a tarantula!  We live in California near a wilderness area, and though I was aware that tarantulas are common here, we had never seen one.  What I found particularly interesting about my daughter's reaction to the tarantula was that at that age (3 1/2) she was terrified of bugs, particularly flying insects.  She would get hysterical over the smallest fly buzzing around.  But except for the initial surprise of seeing the tarantula, she wasn't scared.  After I secured the tarantula in a glass jar, she was interested and excited to look at it, amazed at how big the spider was.  We released the spider back out in the woods, and when we go on walks on the trail she still wonders if maybe we'll see the tarantula again.

What convinced you to write 'Lily and the Tarantula'?

I had been wanting to write a children's book for quite some time.  Though I had several ideas brewing in my head, nothing really came to the forefront as a story good enough for a book.  Finding the tarantula was a great catalyst.  So the storyline came very easy, and since my mom is an artist, I already had an illustrator lined up!  

The other thing that helped convince me to write and publish the story was the advent of self-publishing resources now available.  The likelihood of getting a small book like this published by a major publishing house is very small.  But being that I have a bit of technical background, I was able to produce ebook and print versions of my book myself with very little cost.  At current, both versions are offered through Amazon. Eventually, when I have some time I will also release it as an iBook for Apple iPad. 

 Do you have other preschool picture books in the works?

Yes, I have another which is in draft right now, which hopefully I will release sometime in 2014. The title is "The Chalk Thief".  That's about all I want to say about it for now except it will be more of a rhyming story. It is mostly written, but I am still deciding on a name for the main character, and it still needs to be illustrated.  I also have another story which I want to write involving a skunk and a porcupine. 

Thank you, John. We'll be looking forward to seeing your next book. 

Ms. Marge

You can purchase this book for your classroom at

Amazon link:

John's author page:  


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margaret Arvanitis | Reply 28.05.2014 13.12

You are welcome, Ngaire. No time outs in our class room. Just lots of hugs. :)
Ms. Marge.

ngaire elder | Reply 28.05.2014 05.27

Ms Marge, thank you for inviting me to your classroom. Loved our chat and I'm glad I didn't end up in detention! n x

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Latest comments

28.06 | 03:04

Real pleasure talking with you. Teachers are so important. Without teachers we not have leaden are the future of our country. Becky was reading fourth grade l

23.06 | 19:26

sue it is a pleasure hearing from you. I have moved back to Fremont to spent time with family. Please call me at 402 753 1695. Miss Marge

07.05 | 07:47

I would like to phone you and catch up on our lives.
You are one of my favorite people to have known.
Sue Rasmussen 1 910 228 8799
Wilmington, NC

07.05 | 07:41

Hi Marge,
I am Becky Rasmussen's mom. I once made cinnamon rolls and invited neighbors
to help you get elected in Fremont, Ne
I have often thought of you.

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