Lake Fun for You and Me: Book Review and Interview with Author Rinda Beach
Lake Fun for You and Me by Rinda Beach with digital images by Rick Starkey is a fun vacation story with fill-in pages for the young reader to document their own lake adventures. This is a unique book that is both a story to enjoy along with activity pages for the reader to fill in with their own details. The story also builds smart map-reading skills while giving the reader activity pages to fill in with drawings and descriptions of their own time on vacation. Kids will identify with the three siblings in the story as they compete for points in the Lake Hunt Fun game their mom has devised. Who will win? You’ll just have to read for yourself how it all turns out! This is a well-written story that gives the reader the chance to be a storyteller, too. Great concept!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
This book is part story – part souvenir. Follow Zoe and her family on their lake vacation on the left side of each page. On the right side, there’s room to record your own lake vacation story. When Mom reveals Lake Hunt Fun, the adventures begin. Maddie, Nick, and Zoe explore the lake while they look for answers to Mom’s questions. The more answers they find, the more points they earn towards winning a prize. Zoe is the youngest in the family, but she’s determined to beat her older sister and brother. Read along as she records her answers on the right side. That’s also where you’ll start your own Lake Hunt Fun. There’s room for you to write, room for you to illustrate your own adventures. You can draw and color them in or paste in family pictures and postcards. You’ll be my co-author and illustrator. Either way you’ll have two stories in one book. Happy reading, writing, and illustrating!
I’m so pleased to share an interview with Rinda Beach, the author of Lake Fun for You and Me. Congratulations on creating such an innovative book.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing adventure so far?
A. I’m a teacher. I never wanted to be one, but I taught 2nd grade for 33 years. I never wanted to be a writer either, but I’ve been writing for 13.
I started when I met a bat in Germany, the mammal kind. I wound up holding it on a mop. It was a good story, but I was afraid so I dragged in Herman the German, a real ancient hero. That was June 2007.
In 2009, I took that manuscript to Highlights. My mentor said it was good, and bad. Good because I had a story worth telling, but bad because I made lots of first writer mistakes. I’ve been working at my craft ever since.
Q. Lake Fun for You and Me is such a fun idea. I love the interactive nature of this kind of book with activities for the reader to complete. What was the inspiration for this cute book?
A. I wanted to self-publish a second book, one with a niche market. I love my lake, and I thought I could write a book that would be perfect for the marinas. They have ice cream and t-shirts, but nothing else for kids. The right book would sell!
Q. I appreciate how you included so many skills for young readers get to practice with this book – map reading, math, writing, and art. Can you tell us a little about choosing what to include? I’m guessing your teaching background had a big impact on that.
A. It did, but stories have a magic of their own. This one started with the things my family did, like boating and skiing. I added in animals, the ones my kids met on land and in water, but the story was flat. I added a treasure hunt to up the tension, and that gave me a natural place for kids to draw and write.
Maps and math came later. Wherever you go on vacation, there are maps for kids to read and understand. Making one part of the treasure hunt was an easy fit. Lakes also have length, width, and depth so I added in a search question to find and change them into football fields. That’s a unit kids can picture and understand
Q. The digital images included the in the book are really unique and engaging. You don’t list an illustrator but rather digital image manipulation by Rick Starkey. I’m curious how these were created.
A. I used an online site that offers public domain photos. I searched it for the images I imagined. The wake surfer was my illustration test. A lot of people don’t know you can surf on a lake, right behind the motor. That’s the shot I wanted for the book. I never found the perfect photo, but Rick put two of them together to create the image I imagined.
There was another tricky one. I was looking for a photo of the main character, Zoe, doing a cannonball, but the girl I liked best was jumping waves at the beach. Rick put her at the dock, ready to leap. Later he flipped her around so she could spot a lizard. Zoe was supposed to freeze, but I made her jump so she’d match the illustration.
A. In May of 2019 I self-published my first book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. I volunteer at the museum in Neil’s hometown. I found part of the original wind tunnel a year before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. My only choice to get it done in time – self publishing.
The story takes Neil from the Cleveland air races at age two when he watched his first real airplanes. It ends at age sixteen when he built a wind tunnel just like the Wright Brother’s. It’s historical fiction but based in fact. The back matter will help you find these locations. It will also give you directions to build a wind tunnel like mine and conduct your own experiments. You can study the wind, just like Neil did.
Q. Would you be willing to share with readers the different types of jobs you’ve had? I always like to ask authors this, mainly because authors always seem to have had interesting job histories.
A. My first job was at Baskin Robbins. The best part – every month the flavors changed, and I got to sample the new ones. It was the best job ever! I also waitressed, worked as an aide at the OSU Journalism Library. My forever job was as a teacher. I taught Title 1 reading and second grade. Now I sub for fun, and to stay connected to my audience, the kids I write for.
Q. If there’s anything that you wish you could go back and tell your “unpublished” self, what would that be?
A. Criticism is your best friend. Praise for your work is wonderful. It gives you hope, and we all need that. But if you want to get better, you need to find a critique group. They’ll tell you what isn’t working and give you suggestions.
I also learned there’s always something to edit. Last year I was ready to submit my manuscript for publishing. I sent it to my middle school English teacher who wrote a review for the back cover. I had worked on the manuscript, had it critiqued, for a year. She found four small places that no one else did. You can always find something to improve.
Q. What sort of books do you like to read as an adult and what were some of your favorites as a child?
A. My favorites are fantasy and historical fiction. I love escaping into a story and imagining what could be. As a kid I read Clifford and A Snowy Day. I devoured The Laura Ingalls Wilder books. As a teacher, my favorite picture book authors were Robert Munsch, Jan Brett, and Eric Carle. My favorite chapter book series were Horrible Harry, Nate the Great, and Magic Treehouse.
Q. Can we look forward to another book from you in the coming months?
A. Absolutely! I thought my next book would come out in May 2021, but I just found a story I wrote about the Nativity that could have a niche market. I think there’s time to polish and get the pictures done in time for Christmas. By next May, I want to take my Lake Fun family on another vacation, but I’ll have to find another niche market first.
Q. Before we move on to the Super Six list, is there anything else you want to tell readers about yourself or your book(s)?
A. Critiques are where the magic happens. My first draft is always the worst. That’s true for every writer I know. This book took a year to develop. It got better because of my critique partners. If you have either of my books, Lake Fun or Neil, look for the Acknowledgements page, and you’ll see my partners-in-writing! It takes a village to write a book, and I’m grateful to each and every one of them.
Super Six List:
Fav Pizza Topping: Mushrooms, definitely mushrooms! I love the texture!
Book You’re Reading Now: I’m a Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice fan. I’m rereading a series, with dragons. I’m amazed that so many authors can come up with new variations. Some are closer to Jane’s original story, but others have turned her plot into fantasy, like the one with dragons.
Coffee, Tea, or Both (or neither): Neither. My favorite is Coca Cola Classic. It’s a perfect day if I can have a Coke, popcorn, and a book.
Fav Activity as a Child: Reading! My dad was an elementary teacher/principal. Going to the library was one of my favorite father/daughter activities.
Most Interesting Place You’ve Lived: Wapakoneta, Ohio – I grew up here. When I was 10, I watched Neil Armstrong come home after visiting the moon. His parents lived in my neighborhood. Bob Hope, Tricia Nixon Cox, and Purdue’s Golden Girl came to town to celebrate.
Best Place You’ve Vacationed: Norris Lake! We bought a house there so life is always a vacation. You can visit – if you read LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME.
Q. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
My Web Site: http://www.rindabeach.com/
My Pinterest boards can help you find specific topics from my web site. Text and Words are the blogs. They’re divided into science, social studies, and Language Arts. My Reads book reviews became Classroom Reads. They’re divided into picture books and chapter books.
Thanks so much for joining me today, Rinda. And good luck with your writing adventures!