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FotoBoek Lieve Snellings

Picture books featured with full color photos

AIWAW Review: Groundhog Secrets

Thank you so much for this!

Other Worlds

Groundhog Secrets by Lieve Snellings (Childrens, non-fiction, natural history)

35277901.jpgOverview and Synopsis

It’s no secret I have a soft spot for animals. I was hoping Groundhog Secrets would clue me in to the hidden life of an animal I’d encountered on in Canada but didn’t know much about. Well, now I know a bit more!

Readers are introduced to Margot, a chatty and charming groundhog who is very happy to share the hidden lives of her family (and rodent friends). We learn all sorts of things from the unique fur woodchucks wear to their toilet arrangements (did you know they dig lavatory burrows?).

Narrative and style:

Snellings doesn’t shy away from including complicated, scientifically correct terminology but I think that’s a good thing. Children tend to read up and while younger readers will enjoy the lovely, characterful photographs, older readers might enjoy getting their teeth into the details. Some…

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A Haiku review by Baker Andrews

A Haiku Review          met gele lijn

First they are affraid.

Curiosity forms friends.

Teaching and learning.

Margot Gets an Unexpected Visit takes the traditional picture book experience and transforms it by replacing illustrations with the author’s own nature photography from Quebec.

The story follows the chance meeting between the main character, Margot the Groundhog, and a young girl on vacation from Belgium.  At first, both are scared of each other, and the photograph on page 9 of a scared groundhog will make children laugh out loud.

As Margot and her new human friend get to know each other, the reader learns more about groundhogs, as well as the other animals in Margot’s neighborhood.  As a hair dresser, Margot shows off her best work through the hair dos of other animals – and I imagine that these photos are some of the author’s best work too.

Just as Margot explains the relationship between herself and other animals in the forest, so to does her human visitor educate Margot about human relationships.  And here was the real gem for me.  This little girl explains to Margot that some people have a mom and a dad, and others either have two moms or two dads, or sometimes they just have one mom or one dad.

This probably isn’t a revelation to people from Belgium or Quebec, but here in middle America, it’s rare to see such a casual inclusion of same-sex couples in children’s picture books.  You hardly ever see reference to gay couples unless the picture book is expressly about gay couples.  And here is the real power of the author’s casual inclusion.

For the reader, it’s presented as a simple matter-of-fact, neither something especially noteworthy nor something that could be excluded from an explanation of human pair-bonding.  This book totally stands on it’s own as a fun, funny picture book that teaches kids about wildlife in Quebec.  But it was the unobtrusive inclusion of same-sex relationships that makes this a great addition for the classroom.  It’s one thing to write a picture book that teaches kids why they should embrace diversity, it’s something entirely different to see a picture book that just embraces LGTBQ, point-blank, without any justification or explanation.  That’s real acceptance, and young readers may not notice it as something noticeable, but they will certainly feel it through the way that it’s presented.

Baker Andrews
November 6, 2017

Happy Halloween 2017!

ANITA KOVACEVIC’s review of ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’

ANITA KOVACEVIC

Bron: MARGOT GETS AN UNEXPECTED VISIT by Lieve Snellings – my review

Lieve Snellings at Readers Review Room

May I introduce myself and explain how my books were born.

Author of the Month August 2017

I am so proud for this honor to be announced Author of the Month by Readers Review Room.
And Margot the groundhog is happy too.141 - RRR Author of the Month

 

Fiona Mcvie interviews Lieve Snellings

and published on her blog.

 

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie. Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Lieve Snellings and I am 63 years young.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I live in Leuven,  a little university city in Belgium. But 5 months a year I live in Chateau-Richer near Quebec in Canada.

 

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I am a graduate social worker. I have worked 38 years as dispatcher at the Emergency Room department of Gasthuisberg in Leuven, one of the biggest European university clinics.  Now I am retired and I have to say that I love it, even I always have loved my job too.

At my 40th I started a professional 5 year training photography and worked for 12 years as a freelance photographer beside my clinic job.

For 10 years I live in a (very) long distance relationship. It is via my partner Monique that I start living 5 months a year in Quebec. And she opened my passion for nature photography (before I was more documental photographer).

I have two sisters and one brother. We are a close family. My godchild’s daughters are the two children who inspired me for my first book ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’. They also play a main character in the book.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’m so excited, I just am voted top rated children’s author 2017 at BookGoSocial.

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing my books about 5 years ago. Since I came to Quebec I had so many, and I think I may say ‘good’ nature photos. I wanted to share them with the world. This idea was planted as a seed in my mind and regular aroused. And so at a certain moment it was clear for me I would write children’s books, in fact photo-pictures book.

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t know if I can call myself a writer, a photographer-author would maybe more correct.

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I had two big inspirations sources. The first one is wildlife in our backyard in Quebec. Special Margot the groundhog, different sorts of squirrels (Germaine, Philomene and Eufrazie) and our littlest one Fiston the chipmunk.

At the other hand it were my gotchild’s two daughters that inspired me to write children’s books with my photos, and play a main character in ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Before starting to write about Margot the groundhog, of course I did some research on woodchucks. Then I found out that a groundhog is a solitary animal. So bringing a groundhog in contact with two little girls is a bit an unexpected storyline. The curiosity that Margot at one hand, and Lowieske & Marie at the other hand have for each other, made they connect and we can talk about a visit.

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

Yes I can say  have written my both books in a specific writing style. I started from my photos, made a broad selection. Then sat outside with a cup of coffee, watched the animals in the backyard and let my fantasy travel. And so the story is written image by image. When I got a part of the story, I went inside to my computer and worked on the images.

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

At one hand the book is very realistic in the sense the photos are all real pictures I took myself. And the two girls didn’t have visit Quebec jet, but they are as vivid as the story tells about. The aunts they visit are of course me and my partner, so also the environment you see in the book is real.

But as I told before a wildlife free groundhog will not become friends with humans, even lives on itself, so that storyline is fantasy. I made this fantasy visible by putting a filter on Marie & Lowieske, made them look a bit as in pictures books, to make it obvious the story is a dream.

 

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Oh yes it is thanks to my travelling between Belgium and Quebec that this work was possible. It was good to spent time with the girls. And also needed to spent a lot of time in Quebec’s nature to observe and photograph.

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I designed the covers myself. I’m a photographer and so a long time user of photoshop. But I have to say that making a cover is different than for instance making a photo-picture page in the book. I put out a question for feedback in the BookGoSocial Auther Group and got so much support. Two professional cover designers, Carolee Samuda and Pamela Grusendorf Workman, offered me a lot of information and supervised me through this proces. I am so thankful to this group and those two generous artists.

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, in ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit’ has a subtle message on diversity in all her forms.

‘Groundhog Secrets’ is a celebration of the beauty of nature.

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

In fact I have different authors that interest me. My favorite writer is Griet Op De Beeck. She writes in Dutch and I love as well the content of her books as her writing style. Reading her books enriches you, it is as food for the soul.

In English I adore to read Alice Walker. I really can say that reading her books played an important role to be who I became now.

And let me name one other author I discovered recently since I started to write children’s books myself. While I was reading ‘Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy’ by Maxine Silvester. It was such an exciting reading experience. If I could have give 6 stars to the book, I had.

 

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

My partner supported me very much.

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I retired last year. So writing as a fulltime career that gives also an income to live from, is not my first thought. But it would be nice if writing could add something to my low pension.

 

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

If I had to do it all over again, I think the only thing I would like to change is that the covers of my book in Dutch (original) and French (translation) were the same sort as the English one. For the rest I think I am pleased with ‘Groundhog Secrets’.

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Oh yes I learned a lot when I dis research for my recent book ‘Groundhog Secrets’. So many different little tidbits which I could show in word and image in a funny way.

 

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

If you asked  me that half a year ago, it was obvious that Margot the groundhog would be the main character. But as Marie turned out to become an amazing musical singer and dancer, maybe I think I would like her to play the lead role now.

 

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

My advice would be: there are three things important in life, also in the life of a writer J

  • Keep on going
  • Keep on going
  • Keep on going

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

When you walk (or sit or) outside, look well, also to every detail, try to open your soul to fauna and flora. Enjoy, it is relaxing, showing the wonders in nature.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

‘How I met my pet dragon’ by John E. Dorey.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes I do remember. I was sick and couldn’t go to school. I think it was in my first grade, just was learning to read. My mom gave me a picture book, ‘Het Hemelhuis’ (I would translate it ‘the house of our dreams’) of the series ‘Jommeke’ (a boy’s name). It was time taking to read as I had to spell every letter. But after almost one week I had finished it, read every word, every letter myself. I was so proud of myself.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Everything that touches me can make me laugh and cry.

 

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Yes I would love to meet Alice Walker.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

My big passion is photographing and I started to make video’s.

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

The best film I saw this year is ‘Hidden figures’.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

It is difficult to tell what food is my favorite because I like almost all. But to name one it defiantly is icecream J.

I love colors yellow and red and orange… the whole rainbow J

And music, in fact I do not listen enough to music. I love worldmusic, but also jazz and choir singing and even country & western J.

 

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I’m sorry to disappoint you but I keep dreaming of writing books with my photos.

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

Keep the dream for peace and equal human rights going. To do so you have to see the beauty around you too.

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

My Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/snellings

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/FotoBoekLieveSnellings

Website: https://lievesnellings.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SnellingsLieve

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lievesnellings

BookGoSocial Top Voted Children’s Author 2017

I am very happy to announce you that I became ‘BookGoSocial Top Voted Children’s Author 2017′.

Thank you so much – Dankjewel – Merci beaucoup!

cover voorstel 1 mei

Twee vrouwelijke kolibries: gekwetst of gewoon verschillend?

madame colibri

Sinds vorige week maandag waren de kolibrietjes verdwenen. Ik dacht dat ze al vertrokken waren. Ook de blaren in de bomen hebben zich vergist, zijn al in augustus beginnen te verkleuren, dus waarom zouden die kleine creatuurtjes niet hetzelfde kunnen doen. We hadden hun suikerwater weggehaald, hun voederbakjes netjes opgeborgen tot het volgende jaar. Ik was er niet goed van dat ze een maand vroeger dan normaal vertrokken waren, maar was mij met dat feit aan het verzoenen. En dan ineens zie ik zaterdag, na 6 dagen afwezigheid een kolibrietje komen kijken waar dat suikerwater is. Dat was verschieten, maar ook blij dat er nog eentje was. Snel hen terug hun drankje gemaakt, aan de keukenvenster opgehangen en hopen dat ze zou terug komen. Zaterdag tegen het vallen van de avond zag ik haar terug. Maar drinken deed ze nog niet, even komen piepen, weer weg en terug komen. Maar zondag bleef ze al enkele seconden op haar rode voederbakje.Maar ze zag er anders uit dan ik de mevrouwen kolibri de voorbije 9 jaar hier in Quebec gezien heb. Ik durfde niet te dichtbij komen om haar de kans te laten om te drinken. Dan heb ik mijn verrekijker genomen om haar te kunnen bekijken. Ik zie het verschil met hoe ik ze kende. Is ze gekwetst? Is er iets gebeurd waardoor ik hen zo lang niet meer gezien heb? Ziet ze er anders uit dan de anderen en hebben ze haar daarom achter gelaten? Neen, ondertussen weet ik dat ze nog niet vertrokken zijn, dat de kolibries op andere plaatsen nog volop aanwezig zijn. Vandaag heb ik foto’s genomen. Ik denk dat hierop goed te zien is dat ze blessures opgelopen heeft. Maar eigenlijk ben ik er toch niet zeker van. Is ze gehavend uit een strijd gekomen? In alle geval is ze vandaag veel levendiger dan zaterdag en zelfs gisteren. En ze heeft lang en veel aan haar tafel genoten.

De foto bovenaan heb ik enkele weken geleden genomen. De twee anderen zijn van vandaag. Kolibries zijn maar een paar cm groot, dus echt onderzoeken kan niet, ik kan alleen maar verder gaan op de foto’s. Denken jullie ook dat ze gekwetst is of is dat alleen inbeelding van mij?

madame colibri 2 madame colibri 3

4 september 2017

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