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Eileen Spinelli An Interview with Eileen Spinelli, April 2006
When You Are Happy
Ages 3-7
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Excerpts from When You Are Happy

When you are cold,
I will weave you
a blanket
from leftover sun.

I will sing summery songs
for you until
my voice cracks,
and I will watch you
warmly
until I become
the firelight
dancing in your eyes.

When you are sick,
I will sit by your bed
quietly waiting
in case you
should want something--
warm soup, chamomile tea,
painted rainbows,
poems piled like pillows
around your head.

In this delightful and lyrical text by renowned children's author Eileen Spinelli, a young girl finds reassurance from all of her family members and learns that love complements every mood. Coupled with dazzling art by illustrator Geraldo Valério, her words become a beautiful reminder of the care and comforts of unconditional love.

Sophie's Masterpiece
Ages 5-8
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Sophie is an artist who wants to spin beautiful creations all day long and, someday, a masterpiece. As a spider, though, Sophie has a hard time finding a welcoming place in which she can be free to live and spin. She's shooed and shuffled all over Beekman's Boardinghouse until one day she finally finds the warm, comfortable, safe home for which she always yearned -- and the inspiration for the masterpiece of her lifetime.

Do You Have a Hat?
Ages 5-8
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A fancy hat. A hat that's plain.
A hat for keeping off the rain.
A glowing hat. A hat with fruit.
A hat for that new dress or suit.
All herein have hats, it's true --
fantastic, magnificent hats!
Do you?

What do Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, Russian-American composer Igor Stravinsky, South American entertainer Carmen Miranda, African-American cowboy Nat Love, and President Abraham Lincoln have in common?

HATS! Unique, distinctive, wonderful hats! And this bright and cheerful picture book from best-selling author Eileen Spinelli and colorful newcomer Geraldo Valério will have you thinking twice before going outside without yours!
Teacher Guide

Somebody Love You, Mr. Hatch
Ages 4-7
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One wintry day, a postman delivers a mysterious package with a big pink bow to a lonely man named Mr. Hatch.

"Somebody loves you," the note says.

"Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch sings as he dusts his living room. "Somebody loves me!" Mr. Hatch whistles as he does his errands in town. "But who," Mr. Hatch wonders, "could that somebody be?"

After some time, Mr. Hatch discovers just who his secret admirer is and, in doing so, enjoys the biggest surprise of his life!

Other books by Eileen Spinelli

Tea Party Today: Poems to Sip And Savor

Eileen Spinelli ETC: How did you become a writer?

Eileen Spinelli: When I was six years old my father gave me an old black manual typewriter. He built me a desk from a wooden orange crate. My mother filled a box with paper. And that's how I began.

ETC: How did your childhood differ from your grandchildren's?

Eileen Spinelli: It was safer. I could go out and about on my own. To the park. To the fishing pond. To the ball field. To the library for books. To the deli for pickles. To the fire house for a climb on the big red fire engine.

On summer nights I could chase after fireflies.

On winter nights I could sled down Cobbs Creek Hill.

With friends. Or even by myself.

Things were cheaper. Ten cents got me into the movie theater. Five cents got me a candy bar. Fifteen cents got me a hot fudge sundae.

On the other hand--summers were hotter. We had no air conditioning. I used to keep myself cool by dipping a washcloth into ice water and twirling it in front of my face.

There were no shots for measles, mumps or chicken pox. I came down with all three.

We had no school library. If I wanted books--and I did--I had to walk to the town library on Saturday mornings.

Also--I didn't watch as much TV.

ETC: How was your childhood the same as your grandchildren's?

Eileen Spinelli: I had lots of fun with aunts, uncles and cousins.

I liked to ride my bike, collect rocks and build sandcastles.

I liked sweets and treats and chasing after the ice-cream truck.

I didn't like setting the table, going to bed early or cleaning my room.

ETC: How many grandchildren do you have?

Eileen Spinelli: Right now we have 16 grandchildren--all ages from 3 to 22. Each one is bright and beautful and much loved.

We also have three grand-dogs: Tucker, Ace and Muffy.

And three grand-cats: Madison, Ollie and Iverson.

We used to have a grand-goldfish, Pumpkin. But it died.

ETC: Where do you do your writing?

Eileen Spinelli: Sometimes at the airport. Or the train station. Or the coffee shop. But mostly, at home in my second floor office.

I write long hand. Then I type my manuscripts on my electric typewriter.

I do have a computer--but I only use it for e-mails, news and google-ing.

ETC: Can you describe your office?

Eileen Spinelli: Sure. It's crowded! My desk is our old dining room table. I have three bookcases filled to spilling. And a big, overstuffed rocking chair from Ikea. I call it the most comfortable chair in the world. There's a file cabinet. A tall storage bin for pens, paper clips and post-its. A CD player. Plants. Teddy bears. Photos of my children when they were little. A photo of my husband Jerry. Boxes. Posters. Paints. Stamps. Lamps. Candles. And a sign that says 'Work Sweet Work'.

ETC: What do you most love about the writing life.

Eileen Spinelli: I most love hearing that something I have written has made some small, positive difference in the life of a reader. . .has given pleasure, or spirit, or insight or even just a good giggle.

I also love being able to work from home.

And I love my colleagues-- writers, illustrators, editors etc.--a generally generous, creative and caring community.

ETC: What is most difficult?

Eileen Spinelli: Keeping a balance among family, friends, writing, conferences, laundry, weeding, reading, service, time to myself etc. etc.

ETC: Tell us about your book WHEN YOU ARE HAPPY

Eileen Spinelli: WHEN YOU ARE HAPPY reflects my belief in the importance of family and friends.

I had great fun with the language--as I usually do when I'm writing poetry.

The original title was When You Are Sad. But that seemed--well--a bit too sad. So we changed it.

The illustrator, Geraldo Valerio has become a friend and e-mail buddy. This is the second book of mine he has illustrated. The first was DO YOU HAVE A HAT.

ETC: Have any of your books been made into movies?

Eileen Spinelli: Not yet. But one may be on the way.

A Hollywood producer wants to make SOMEBODY LOVES YOU, MR. HATCH into a short film.

ETC: What would you want to be if you were not a writer?

Eileen Spinelli: If my gifts had been to sing and dance rather than to write, I'd want to be in Broadway musicals.