What motivates you as a writer?
I want to create readers. I want kids to become even more curious about the world around them and continue to pick up more books, research, and learn for fun.
I want to write so that kids have the tools they need, whether it is curiosity and a love of learning, ways to process emotion, or a positive and happy outlook on the world. and I hope my writing gives that to them.
What types of books do you like to read?
So many types! Fun, laugh-out-loud picture books, chapter books about friendship, middle grade contemporary or fantasy, and adult contemporary or historical.
How has becoming a writer affected your own reading habits?
I doubt that I read more as a writer. I've always had my nose stuck in a book. But I read more widely.
Everything, from simple board books to sweeping historical romance can help me as a writer in some way. Some teach economy of words, others teach world building.
I always read widely in the areas that I'm currently working on.
PUBLISHER: Familius, 2020
She is the Queen. The matriarch.
She leads her daughters and their daughters.
Inspiring text and striking illustrations follow the empowering journey of an elephant matriarch as she leads her family through the wilds of Africa. With facts about African elephants on every spread and a message that will encourage young girls to be the trailblazers of their generation, She Leadsoffers an incredible story and an unforgettable tribute to the strength of a true leader.
Open your eyes, princess. One day you will lead.
PUBLISHER: Blue Manatee Press, 2019
A is for Alligator, B is for Bear, and so on, right? Not in this book. The odd animals are taking over! It's time to meet Aye-Aye, Fossa, Numbat, Xenops and more curious, yet real animals that are ready for their spotlight. Laugh along as they introduce the letters of the alphabet in their own odd way!
"ODD ANIMAL ABC's is an honest-to-goodness breath of fresh and alphabetical air. Told primarily through dialogue and laced with witticisms, Smalls manages to introduce young readers to a whole new herd (or whatever one may call a group of odd animals) of creatures while still incorporating the tried-and-true zoo creatures we all know and love. Claire Sedovic's illustrations add so much to the page as well and her watercolor technique of painting over each name is effective + clever."
"Hats off to June Smalls for approaching the alphabet book genre in a completely original way. Odd Animal ABC's is simply a blast to read!"
""This is a great new take on the traditional ABC book. It introduces children to unfamiliar animals, such as the Aye Aye and Blue footed Boobie often through a conversation with the typical animals that feature in these books such as alligators and bears. This helps stretch its readership to older picture book readers as well as those learning their alphabet, and would captivate those most inquisitive children who like to discover new creatures. The conversational style is fun, engaging and pacey and the illustrations are fabulous. It really is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears!"
- GOODREADS REVIEW
"This book is great. It's a wonderful tool to teach kids about new animals they would have never heard of before. I learned a lot of new ones myself! It's like a visit to the zoo from your own living room."
-Vanessa Keel, ODD AMIMAL ABC'S