Order – I Want A Pet Turkey

Have you ever wanted a new pet? Matt sure did and when he saw a turkey in his backyard, he knew he found the perfect pet. How do you get a turkey to be your pet, though? Everyone has a choice they have to make: to be nice to others or not. Matt will learn a very important lessons about his choices having consequences.

Moose Egg Productions first children’s book is now available online. If you would like to order a copy for yourself, your classroom, or your church this is the place to order them! This book is meant for preschool thru 2nd grade children. I Want A Pet Turkey has been used in churches, story-time events, preschools, daycare’s, and puppet shows! We hope you will enjoy your version of this new children’s book and hope that one day you get your very own pet turkey!!!

I Want A Pet Turkey – Children’s Picture Book

Haven't you always wanted your own pet turkey? Matt sure did! He is about to learn an important lesson about the choices we make. Will Matt choose between the good way on getting a pet turkey by being nice or the bad way and trying to capture the turkey. This story (based on real life events) will teach your child that the choices you make have consequences and that the best pet is the one you love!

$14.95

Interview – Children’s Author Hena Khan

Today we are talking to children’s book author – Hena Khan.  Hena has written some really amazing children’s books.  One of her books, Amina’s Voice, has already been released and she has man other children’s books, like Under My Hijab.

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you want to become a children’s author?

Like a lot of authors, I’ve always loved writing. But I didn’t always believe I had a story to tell that anyone would be interested in reading. That probably had something to do with the fact that even though I was an avid reader growing up, I never saw myself reflected in the books I read. I started writing books for different series published by Scholastic book clubs, and realized I loved writing for kids since that was when what I read spoke to me the most. And I got my first piece of fan mail, realized that actual kids were connecting with my words, and was hooked. After I became a mother I realized I wanted to write the books I didn’t have a child for my children. This meant books with characters who looked like them.

Hena, what were some of your favorite books growing up?

I loved so many books! I loved Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever, and looked at the illustrations and scenes and imagined stories with the characters for hours. I adored everything by Beverly Clearly, especially the Ramona Quimby series, since I idolized her. My favorite book of all time was Little Women though, and I’m excited to have a middle grade novel coming out this fall that is inspired by that book! It features four Pakistani American sisters and is called More To The Story.

Let’s talk about Amina’s Voice!  I have two small girls (ages 6 and 10 months) and I have been preparing myself for years on how to help them fit in with other children as they grow up.  You have such a unique story to tell because not only do you have the fact that Amina is trying to fit in with just other children (which is hard enough), but also a different culture and background.  Tell us more about Amina?

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Amina is a child of immigrants, like I was, and is balancing having a different culture at home than her peers at school with being a regular American kid. I think it’s amazing to see how kids like her, from any background, are able to adapt to different settings, and to create a new identity that fits all the elements that make up who they are. It was important to me that Amina be a relatable girl, who is dealing with universal challenges like lacking confidence, facing changes in her friend circle, and living up to her parents’ expectations, as she lives life as a Pakistani American Muslim. I also didn’t want her to suffer from insecurity about who she is, or to feel embarrassed by her culture or background. Instead, it’s just a part of her, and many of her struggles are types of things any child might face. But at the same time, her background and culture are a big part of her and are important to her.

What would you say to people struggling to fit in with others?

It’s so hard to recognize that being different, which can make us feel out of place, is also what makes us special or interesting until we’re older. I don’t think I ever really felt like I fit in when I was growing up, even through my twenties. I didn’t feel American enough with my American friends, and I didn’t feel Pakistani enough with my Pakistani friends. I didn’t speak Urdu well, or feel like I understood things about my culture even though I wanted to. As a Muslim, I wasn’t sure where I fit in terms of my practice and understanding of the faith, and grappled with that for many years. I thought I cared more about my relationships than others did, didn’t feel cool, and so on! But in hindsight, I see that I wasted a lot of energy worrying about things I couldn’t change. And the good news is, I eventually realized I was fine that way I was. And hopefully knowing what that feels like to be out of place, helped me to have empathy for others, and to be a better writer. So I would say, be patient, and one day you’ll see you’re just fine the way you are—and there are so many other people who feel exactly the same way as you do, even if they don’t seem like it or admit it!

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Out of all of the places that you have traveled, what has been your favorite?

I’m very fortunate to have had the chance to travel quite a bit, even though I’ve lived within the same five-mile radius my entire life, and it’s impossible to choose just one favorite place! I’m a bit obsessed with southern Spain, since I did a study abroad there when I was in college and got to know it well, and because I still have a dear friend there I’ve gone back several times. But I also really love the country of Turkey and the city of Istabul in particular, with its fantastic sites, kind and friendly people, and delicious food. Recently, my family visited Vietnam, which we also fell in love with and didn’t want to leave! And the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona just took my breath away and felt otherworldly! I hope to be able to continue to travel and discover new favorites.

What is your favorite type of stories to write about?

I love writing middle grade realistic fiction that highlights the ways we all have so much in common, and that draws from real life. I had a blast writing a series called Zayd Saleem Chasing the Dream that came out last year, about a boy who is scrawny but has big basketball dreams, and the main character is based on a combination of my husband and my younger son. And Zayd’s wacky family is inspired by other people in my life, like my mother. I think kids of all backgrounds deserve to be the heroes in books, and to have lighthearted, fun books that aren’t about overcoming hardship or oppression. So it makes me happy to be able to write them!

If you could give a piece of wisdom to our readers who want to pursue working with writing, what would it be?

For anyone who wants to write, I would borrow from NIKE and say JUST DO IT. So many people tell me that they want to write a book, or have an idea for a book. But so few of them have actual done it. It’ll never happen if you don’t start. So I would say, silence your inner doubt, and go for it! Your first draft will probably be pretty crappy, but they always are, no matter who you are! And then keep working at it. Like anything else, writing takes practice and persistence!

Where can we find your work at if someone wants to purchase it?

Preferably a local independent bookstore if you have one in your area. If not, my books are all available through online retailers. You can purchase in bulk through my publishers’ distributors in case you want a big box of them! No matter where you buy, or if you borrow from the library, I am always grateful for readers, and for reviews and feedback!

Bounce Back Cover high res

Time for our last question which is usually pretty silly and random?  You had to trade in your vehicle for one of the following, what would you choose:  hot air balloon, submarine, or jetpack?  (I like to throw questions that hopefully you have never been asked!!!)

Yikes. Well, I’m a huge scaredy-cat and pretty much afraid of everything—rollercoasters, roller skates, etc. But out of these choices I’m probably most afraid of a submarine. I couldn’t even go into one that was parked at a dock for a tour because I felt too claustrophobic. A jetpack sounds absolutely terrifying, so that’s out. So I would go for a hot-air balloon since it seems the most peaceful and slow moving, and because I’ve always sort of wanted to be in one ever since watching the Wizard of Oz movie as a kid.

Who wouldn’t want to ride in a hot air balloon!  Thank you so much, Hena for talking with us today.  Be sure to check out Hena’s website.   

Thanks everyone and remember to like this site to see more interesting interviews as we continue to ask Questions to Inspire!

Interview – Author Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

Today we are talking to author – Elizabeth Hyde Stevens.  Elizabeth has written some really amazing books.  The one that I am most familiar with is, Make Art Money – Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career.

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a writer and writing teacher, and I got there in a pretty conventional way, which is to attend an MFA program for writing. I remember when I took my application to the post office, and the man there said I shouldn’t be applying to graduate school. If I wanted to be a writer, I should go out and see the world. He said I should actually live so I have something to write about. I’m glad I didn’t listen to him, because I think everyone has a life that teaches them enough to write something meaningful. And what I got from my MFA program at Brooklyn College was really priceless, an introduction to the life of the working writer. It gave me a day job that could fund my writing, and I found I really liked teaching. It showed me how publishing works and how to get published.  It was amazing. It gave me – for the first time – a voice.

I found your works by reading Make Art Money – Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career.  What inspired your to write this book?

I usually say it was desperation – because I have so much trouble trying to make it, financially, as a writer. But when I think about it, it all started because I attended a grant-writing workshop at Brooklyn College, because they asked you to think of a sample project you could try to fund. I thought, if I had funding, I’d love to go interview the guys who made the Muppets – Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson.

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I didn’t write that grant or interview them, but the Muppets-research idea started to germinate in my mind. What I really wanted was to go back in time and join them. Because jobs like that – creative cultures like that – are rare. I decided to start exploring it, what made it unique, and what made it profitable, with the hope of recreating – for my own situation in 2012. I dug up every article in the Brooklyn College Library’s databases about Jim Henson and the Muppets, and I made a big archive. Basically, I wanted to find “the secret” of the Muppets. I wanted a life like Jim Henson’s. I wanted to make art like Jim Henson and somehow get the money to do it. This book was a way of thinking through my own financial path as an artist.

That is amazing!  What would you say is one of the biggest lessons you have gleaned from Jim Henson’s life and legacy?

To never give up. Henson’s work ethic was famous – he was a man racing against the clock. Sometimes he didn’t even sleep. That spirit stuck with me. When Jim Henson was pitching The Muppet Show, he got rejected by every major American network. That didn’t stop him. He just kept working and pitching his idea until he found traction. You can’t let the market tell you what it wants, essentially. You have to keep putting yourself out there until the market realizes it wants you.

So new readers might not know, but you are also a Harvard Instructor.  I know you have taught a few interesting classes like “Muppets, Mickey, and Money”.  What has been your favorite class you have taught and why do you love teaching?

I love teaching my current class at Boston University on about video games. My students are all gamers, so they’ve spent thousands of hours in these other worlds, other dimensions, other planets. Through their writing, I get to experience all that—without having to spend any more of my life in front of a screen. We look at problems of money and art in the gaming industry. But what’s really exciting to me right now is reading theories about what video games will be like in the future – with virtual and augmented reality – and imagining how our entire lives will become gamified in the future. The fitness industry is one example, with peloton virtual bike races and the CrossFit Games Open leaderboards, where technology lets people enjoy something more by making it more like a video game. Then there’s the idea that we will use virtual reality games in Uber cars, or augmented reality games with holographic glasses overlaid on reality. It’s really wild to think about the possibilities.

Tell us about your favorite book growing up and what is your favorite book as an adult?

Growing up, I loved the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. My mom read them all to me when I was little. Later on, I kept re-reading The Magician’s Nephew, because it was just so cool to me to see the planting of the tree that the wardrobe came from, how the lamp post got there, and to know that Narnia was just one world you could access through the reflecting-pool portals in an enchanted forest.

I think my favorite book as an adult is Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. I can still pick it up and be amazed by the diction, the plotting, the kindness, and the intelligence. The pacing in his stories seems to slow down time and let you think, existing as he did (especially after he went blind) in a world of pure intellect and beautiful sound.

Let’s talk about what has inspired you personally.  Who was the person in your life that inspired you to be who you are and do what you do?

Well, you already know about Jim Henson. As a writer, I think I was most inspired by Kurt Vonnegut, who had such a powerful voice and made it seem like anyone could be a writer. Which is completely true. But in terms of how to live and be a human, I wrote my college admissions essay about my dad.

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My dad took care of my mother for nine years while she suffered from a terrible neurodegenerative disease called Lewy Body Disease (Parkinson’s with Dementia), the condition Robin Williams had. It was heartbreaking to watch someone you love disappear. My dad kept bringing her to doctors, to new therapies, and then to an Alzheimer’s daycare, taking her on trips, feeding her. Being a caregiver is so hard.

But now, fifteen years later, my dad is really happy. He found a group of friends in the local folk music scene, and he runs a camera at a local music studio. He’s cooler than I am. Growing up with him as a role model inspired me profoundly. He’s not good with money, but he can strike up a conversation with anyone, because he’s so kind and positive. He’s like a big kid. When I was growing up, he ran his own business painting old houses, and he showed me how to paint and wallpaper. He had a huge record collection with Neil Young and the Zombies and Love. And all the Vonnegut novels I read were from his book shelf.

Can you tell us an inspirational saying or lesson that you were told that has really stuck around with you through life?

One thing that keeps popping into my head is JFK’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech. He promised the country we would go to the moon in that decade, an accomplishment which is mostly a symbolic gesture. The phrase I keep remembering is, “We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” When you’re in the middle of a long slog, as with a novel you for some reason undertake to write, it’s good to remember you chose that slog, and you chose it because it was a slog.

I love that speech and recently just heard it again during a documentary for NASA.  One last question, it is time for our Moose Egg random question.  Out of all of the Muppets and other Jim Henson creations, what character would best describe you?

I’m a real mix of all my favorites – Gonzo, Kermit, Rowlf, Ernie, Super Grover, Mokey Fraggle, Red Fraggle, Boober Fraggle – all the sort of laid back, yet driven weirdos who know their idiosyncrasies well, chase their dreams through it all, and live life on their own terms. Maybe it would be more illuminating to say the Muppet who doesn’t describe me – Elmo. I’m not naturally extroverted and confident. That takes effort for me, to overcome fear. I’m also not simple or happy-go-lucky like Elmo. I’m not comfortable being cute. I have big plans, like going to the moon.

Great answers all around!  Thank you so much, Elizabeth for talking with us today.  Be sure to check out Elizabeth’s website.

Thanks everyone and remember to like this site to see more interesting interviews as we continue to ask Questions to Inspire!

I Want A Pet Turkey Proof

Just wanted to give everyone an update. I received the proof copy of I Want A Pet Turkey. There are a few pages that need to be tweaked and the cover will be redone, but for the most part this book is looking good. I am so happy with the way that the pictures turned out and the way the story flows. Stay tuned to see when the book goes live, but should be at the end of the month!!!

I Want A Pet Turkey – B&W Pic

We are nearing the end, the picture book is about to be sent over to the publishers within two weeks and will be on sale shortly after that. Can’t wait to have an official release. To celebrate this, enjoy a black and white picture of one of the pages.

I Want A Pet Turkey – B&W Pic

We are nearing the end, the picture book is about to be sent over to the publishers within two weeks and will be on sale shortly after that. Can’t wait to have an official release. To celebrate this, enjoy a black and white picture of one of the pages.

I Want A Pet Turkey – B&W Pic

We are nearing the end, the picture book is about to be sent over to the publishers within two weeks and will be on sale shortly after that. Can’t wait to have an official release. To celebrate this, enjoy a black and white picture of one of the pages.