nonniJulia Inserro’s new children’s book Nonni’s Moon is a very special read which will leave your children wrapped up warm before bed. We were lucky enough to see a preview of the book which is available in June from Amazon here

This children’s book is aimed towards children 3-8 years old although it can be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s illustrated by award-winning illustrator Lucy Smith who’s beautiful drawings make this book have a real punch.

This book tells of Beanie who lives in a different country to Nonni (Her grandmother). She misses her terribly and wishes they could talk more. When Nonni and her Mum realise that the moon could be the answer it fills the family with happiness and hope. Beanie is excited to share her find with others and her teacher can see how it can help her own situation as she isn’t close to a family member either.

When reading this book, it makes you think about missing loved ones- whether it’s because they no longer live nearby or because they have died. It can be the perfect starting point when talking to children who are missing someone. It lets them find comfort in imagining what that loved one would be saying to them right now and how they can still think about them and share their thoughts.

Children struggle to express their emotions at times, especially when it is something highly moving like loss and separation and this gentle story can help open up that difficult conversation and help soothe a child.

The illustrations are beautiful, they compliment the story perfectly and some of the words are incorporated into it- swirly letters that look like part of the illustration but is actually part of the story, they blend the two important aspects of a children’s book together perfectly. There’s great detail within and a really cosy, glowing atmosphere which creates that magical, soothing feeling that this book is full of.

This is a lovely story to share with children, especially at bedtime. It would be a brilliant tool to use in other areas too- to help children to open up and share their thoughts and it’s a lovely, fell good book which has left us excited about what Julia will create next especially as we know she will be pairing up with illustrator Lucy Smith again.

Whilst we are looking forward to seeing how everyone receives this book and hearing how much they enjoy it too, we have been lucky enough to speak with Julia Inserro and ask her about how she became inspired to write the book, how she’s finding the whole writing process and what she’s hoping to do next!

I really enjoyed reading Nonni’s Moon and thought it had a great ‘warm, feel good’ feeling. Is this the first book you have published?
Thanks so much! Yes, it’s the first children’s book I’ve published.
Have you always wanted to write?
Absolutely. I wrote for my high school newspaper and was even the Associate Editor. I’ve written for online parenting sites and expat magazines and I’ve kept an active blog for the last ten years (see Since living overseas, I’ve been able to write more and have certainly had a lot of material to work with.
I’ve always loved books, particular children’s books. I’ve been writing drafts of children’s books for over twenty years, long before I had kids of my own. But now I’m finally publishing them!
How have you found the process from your first idea to then having it ‘out there’ and sharing it with the world?
It’s been a long haul. You can publish a children’s book in a weekend if you wanted to. You can write it, grab free or cheap illustrations, and publish it for print-on-demand or e-book relatively easily. However, if you want to produce a quality book, with eye-catching illustrations, tight edited text, professional printing and binding, and not to mention marketing it, then it takes a while. I’m certainly hoping the wait will be worth it. 🙂
What is it like to hear other peoples’ opinions on your work?
It’s terrifying, truly. But you have to take the good with the bad and be able to take criticism. You also have to remember that every opinion you get might be different. So you do need to use your inner guide, or gut, to decide what to listen to and what to ignore. Obviously when people love it, then it’s so gratifying, but when people have criticisms you have to tuck away the ego and see if there’s something you might have missed.
The book has lots of emotion behind it with the concept of children missing loved ones who aren’t near. Do you hope that this book will help others find a way through when they miss people? Was this your intention when writing?
Absolutely! I’ve love for it to help people, especially children, when missing someone. We’ve lived overseas for the last ten years and our children, who are six, four and four, have never known anything else. But even still, they miss their grandparents, cousins and friends who move away. There are very few people who live in the same town they grew up in anymore. Whether you’re across the globe or across the state, you still miss people. So this book is for anyone who has had to say goodbye to someone they love.
What did it feel like when you saw the illustrations?
I was delighted! And there were times when Lucy’s work actually took my breath away. Her skill with lighting is just incredible. It made me want to write a whole book about the night. And actually, one book we’re working on next can have a lot of that technique in it, so I’m super excited to see what she comes up with.
What do you think has been the biggest thing you’ve learnt so far in writing for children?
That less is more. I found that in working with Lucy, I could use her illustrations to show some of what the text was saying. So that’s been a new way for me to write. I now make little illustration notes on the side when I write. This way, the text can be tighter and I can allow the illustrations to enhance the words.
What plans do you for what you are doing next?
I have two drafts I’ve sent off for professional edits and I’ve shared them with Lucy to get her creative juices flowing. And I have a third that I have a full idea on, but I need to flesh out the text. That one requires some dinosaur research as I’ve found my knowledge is a little sparse. I also have a travelogue that I’m still editing. That one covers the three years we lived in Egypt, culminating in the Egyptian Revolution in 2011 and my subsequent evacuation out. It was a shocking ending to our amazing life in Egypt. Stay tuned for that one!

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