Thursday, February 11, 2010

IT DOESN’T GROW ON TREES: The Story Behind the Story


Written by: Mariam D. Pineno Illustrated by: Joshua Allen

No, it isn’t one of thousands of books and online articles about money. Titles based on the old cliché rival the stars in number, but my first chapter book is not about some kid being bored by an adult’s preachy take on monetary matters. What this junior chapter book is about can be found on page 14. I won’t spoil it for you, as discovery is ever at the heart of page-turning. You will delight in finding the title’s roots and repetitions right to the end.

Is the story about a real 10-year-old boy? Definitely. Based on a music-teaching experience, it’s a tale I’ve wanted to tell for a very long time. Memory, intact, was kept alive by the child’s wallet-size class photo kept over my desk. I know but one Pop-Pop in real life. He gave permission to use his grandkids’ affectionate title without fear of my taking literary liberties. In school I often answered to “Mrs. Piano,” but Ms. Fa-La-La was more fun to create in booming tones—which was not me. No secret, highly fictionalized characters/scenes make great stories.

Imagination coupled with experience kept sentences flowing from chapter to chapter. Initially wondering what past incident could cause a child enough anxt to keep him from performing, I had only to recall one program where a first-grader lost his lunch onstage. I changed the song title and the prop because . . . (Ask me).

A fine alternate choice from dark fiction, this 10-chapter book (enhanced with original illustrated pages) shows the positive side: an easily intimidated child blossoms into his real potential with perseverance, work, and latent talent. You can put your money on that.

Thank you for reading my stories,
Mariam D. Pineno

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