Today we’d like to introduce you to Phoebe Fox.
Phoebe, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
When my brother, sister, and I were little, our parents read to us every night. I loved picture books, but reading on my own did not come easily to me. I was a slow reader and was even tested for dyslexia. Writing, however, just seemed to flow out of me. I wrote poetry and song lyrics for fun; was a dedicated pen pal; and kept a journal all the way through college.
In third grade, my love of writing really began to grow. My teacher helped each of her students publish a book through Writer’s Workshop. We wrote, edited, and illustrated our stories; typed up our dedication and copyright pages; and designed book covers. I felt like a real author at the age of nine!
At Barrett, while I was working on my degree in early childhood development, I enrolled in Literature in the Classroom. My professor opened my eyes to all the incredible possibilities for teaching with picture books, and I began to stockpile them for my future classroom.
Following my Master’s program in curriculum and instruction, I landed a job as a first-grade teacher. I loved library days, and I would stay with my class, helping the librarian and secretly wishing I had her job. I realized I wanted to be surrounded by children’s books, sharing their wonder with students of all ages. At that point, I made up my mind to get a library science endorsement. Shortly after, I was hired to be a library media specialist in the Tempe School District.
Having the summer off gave me time to write and travel. In the summer of 2003, my husband and I had an incredible opportunity to live in a small coastal town in Italy. He worked on his music, and I wrote stories with the hope of one day becoming an author.
The following year, we decided to start a family. At the end of the school year, I resigned from my job to have our baby and stay home with him. Two children followed, and my husband and I practiced attachment parenting with our three boys. I read to them constantly, and they were the inspiration for much of my writing.
When our youngest started preschool, I went back to teaching library. I still wrote whenever I had the chance and continued to aspire to become an author. Several good friends encouraged me to pursue my dream, and in 2015, I started Mamafox Books, LLC, and released my first picture book, “Starry’s Haircut.”
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
When I write, I keep children at the forefront of my mind – what fears they may have, what makes them laugh, what they might be curious about, and what may bring them joy. I hope this comes through in my writing!
“Starry’s Haircut” is about a little sheep who is afraid to have her wool sheared. It was inspired by my middle son, who as a toddler was terribly afraid of haircuts. The second Starry the Sheep book, “Starry Gets Lost,” was released in 2017. When I went on my first school visit for “Starry Gets Lost,” I found MYSELF lost and had to laugh. It’s true that authors often write what they know!
In 2015, I was thrilled to learn that my manuscript, “Up Up Up,” was the winner of the First Edition Project Children’s Book Contest. The idea for the story about animals crowding into an elevator came while visiting the Burton Barr Library with my boys. It was impossible to attend storytime there without at least one ride in the glass-sided elevator!
“Up Up Up” was published in 2016 by Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest non-profit dedicated to early childhood development. The organization adopted a “buy one – give one” campaign with “Up Up Up” and committed to giving a book to a child in need for every copy of “Up Up Up” that sold.
“Babies Nurse ~ Así se alimentan los bebés” was published in May of 2018. This was my first bi-lingual picture book, and I was lucky enough to work with former NBA star, Jim Fox, on the project. I wrote “Babies Nurse” to highlight the precious bond between mother mammals and their babies, and Jim’s watercolor illustrations pair beautifully with the text. The back of the book is full of fun facts that help broaden the reader’s knowledge about the mammals depicted in the book.
Also during 2018, I was honored to have the opportunity to write a story to help celebrate the twentieth anniversary of PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers). “Panda Proud,” the tale of two best friends and their journey through a serious illness, made its debut this past December.
Aside from writing, my favorite part about being a children’s book author is visiting schools. I love reading aloud to young audiences, and school visits give me the opportunity to share my books and experiences with students.
Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
What works for me is to have a big picture goal in mind. Then, I work backward. I think about what smaller goals will help me reach the end result and what the necessary steps are to achieve those goals.
My advice would be to celebrate small accomplishments. Reach out to others who have been successful before you, and ask them for help. Join groups of people who share your passion. Appreciate those who support you. And finally, do what you love! If you love your work, it will show in the final product.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My books are available on mamafoxbooks.com, where there is also information about school visits and events. Some wonderful locally owned shops sell my books, too. You can find them at Duck and Decanter, Beaus and Belles, Perennials Boutique, The Teapot, The Stockroom, Mildred and Dildred (Tucson) and Changing Hands Bookstore!
“Mamafox Books’ Storytime Saturdays” is my new YouTube channel, where I read my favorite books to children and support authors I love. It always feels great when people subscribe or comment (that way I know they’re watching)!
Please feel free to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I love to connect and collaborate with people.
“I adore books, respect children, and believe in the power of reading!” ~ Phoebe Fox
- Website: https://mamafoxbooks.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mamafoxbooks/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mamafoxbooks/?ref=bookmarks
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/mamafoxbooks
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc_LzUYNUNQwRqZijCbI9ZQ?view_as=subscriber