I received a most gracious invitation to contribute to WGRT’s “Entirely Women” feature, “52 Real Women.” I found at this site some wonderfully inspiring essays – and how pleased I am that my own appeared on July 28, 2014. For my part, I chose to write about the amazing WWII event that inspired a picturebook in a piece titled “Time-Honored Sisterhood” at http://wgrt.com/entirelywomen/?page_id=2
Happy to announce that the historical fiction picture book Welcome to America, Champ! by Catherine Stier and illustrated by Doris Ettlinger was named a 2014 Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year for Children!
In this WWII era story, young Thomas, his mother, and baby brother journey from war torn England to a new home in America aboard the great ship The Queen Mary. During the 1946 “Brides and Babies” voyages, thousands of war brides just like Thomas’s mother embarked on transatlantic crossings to the U.S. to join the American servicemen they married during the war — and begin a new life in a new country.
For more info on this title, visit
On February 15, I had the great privilege of returning to the Queen Mary –the setting for my historical fiction picture book Welcome to America, Champ!–this time as a guest for a “Greet the Author” event.
Welcome to America, Champ! with stunning illustrations by award-winning illustrator Doris Ettlinger, takes place on the Queen Mary following WWII and during the “Brides and Baby” voyages. At that time in 1946, an armada of ships took part in what was also known as “Operation Diaper Run,” transporting tens of thousands of European war brides and war babies of American and Canadian servicemen to North America. The Queen Maryalone transported 22,000 war brides and babies in a seven month span.
The Stacks onboard shop hosted the “Greet the Author” event during the Queen Mary Scottish Festival, with thousands in attendance. I met people from many parts of California — and the world. Thrilling bagpipe music played that day as kids stopped by to create their own Queen Mary craft. You can see here some of their creative work.
Lovely weather, a festive atmosphere and a remarkable location made for a most memorable day.
I am so excited to be the guest author at a book signing on the Queen Mary, now a hotel and attraction in Long Beach, California. My historical fiction picturebook, Welcome to America, Champ! takes place on the Queen Mary, just after WWII during the “Bride and Baby Voyages.” It will be like stepping into the book – award winning illustrator Doris Ettlinger created the lovely illustrations for this title. I’ll be conducting the book signing from noon – 4 p.m., February 15, during the Queen Mary Scottish Festival – 10,000 people attended this two-day event last year.
This month marks the anniversary of the Queen Mary’s first “Brides and Baby” voyage, transporting the European (including Scottish) War Brides of American and Canadian servicemen to North America. Many ships took part in these “Operation Diaper Run” voyages, but the Queen Mary alone transported 22,000 War Brides and Babies during a 7 month span in 1946.
What an honor it would be to meet some of these WWII War Brides and Babies that day!
In 2007, my poem for children, “When Jean Forgot to Say ‘When’” first appeared in Highlights Magazine with lovely, whimsical illustrations by David Galchutt.
In this story-in-verse, Jean is invited to the castle
for tea with the Queen. The proper Queen asks Jean to say “When” as she pours her tea. Jean, however, is so giddy to be in the palace and so distracted by the sights that she forgets to say “When.” And so the Queen pours, and pours and pours…
In Scotland, we had the chance to visit Edinburgh – and I found out one could be served tea at the lovely and majestic Edinburgh Castle. I was every bit as thrilled as Jean! I felt giddy, too, that my life was imitating a tiny bit of the story I had created years before. After all, I was having tea (and some scrumptious pastries and delectables) at a real castle!
A Brand New Bug Book: WHAT’S BUGGING NURSE PENNY?: A STORY ABOUT LICE by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Suzanne Beaky
This just released picture book, dedicated to school nurses everywhere, offers both information and assurance about an all too common pest:
Nurse Penny is a fun and funky school nurse who wears honeybee earrings and a butterfly smock and carries a ladybug purse. But there’s one kind of bug she’d rather not have around. . .head lice! So she calls a special school assembly to talk about those pesky critters–what they look like, how to avoid them, and how to get rid of them. After all, lice can happen to anyone–even the school nurse!
An information note outlines facts about lice.
Kirkus calls this colorful picture book “entertaining” with “good instruction for prevention” and notes the “expressive and bright” illustrations by talented illustrator Suzanne Beaky.
Here’s just a sampling of the work of the creative kids in San Antonio! Lots of young readers stopped by to take part in the book signing/kids crafts at San Antonio’s
Barnes and Noble at San Pedro Crossing on Sunday, May 26. With the release of my new WWII era picturebook WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! and in observance of Memorial Day weekend, kids had the opportunity to decorate their own ships. Much of WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! takes place on the Queen Mary, an impressive
|Postcards of the Queen Mary|
ship (larger than the Titanic) that played an important part in WWII. Some kids based their designs on the real Queen Mary — we had plenty of postcards and the lovely book illustrations by Doris Ettlinger as examples. Other young designers chose to go with their own whimsical motifs. No matter the approach, the results — as you can see –were amazing!
Join Catherine Stier for a Memorial Day Weekend Book Signing/Kids’ Crafts
Sunday, May 26, 2013
2 – 3 p.m.
Barnes and Noble at San Pedro Crossing
321 NW Loop 410 #104
San Antonio, TX.
Have fun with patriotic crafts and meet Catherine Stier, author of:
BARNABY THE BEDBUG DETECTIVE (2013), TODAY ON ELECTION DAY, IF I RAN FOR PRESIDENT (Editor’s Choice Award, Library Media Connection), IF I WERE PRESIDENT (100 Best Books, IRA Los Angeles), BUGS IN MY HAIR ?! (Best Children’s Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education) and THE TERRIBLE SECRETS OF THE TELL-ALL CLUB (Teacher’s Pick, Scholastic Instructor Magazine)
And her newest release, WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP!
WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP!
By Catherine Stier, Illustrated by Doris Ettlinger
In this hope-filled WWII and immigration story, Stier and Ettlinger present an extraordinary historical event – the “Brides and Babies” voyages of 1946 – as experienced by one spirited English boy who sails on the Queen Mary with his war bride mother for a new life in America.
“Heartfelt watercolor illustrations bring to life the anxiety and tentative joys of this unique historical situation.” Booklist
See you there!
What’s the best way to launch a new children’s book set in WWII England and on the ship the Queen Mary? With a British-themed Tea Party, of course!
To celebrate the release of the new historical fiction picture book WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! (beautifully illustrated by Doris Ettlinger) friends and family joined together for tea sandwiches, scones, fruits and sweets catered by The Madhatter’s Tea Shop. And British tea, of course!
Professional Storyteller Veronica Gard (known as “Your English Storyteller”) offered a lovely and lilting tale, relating the family stories that inspired the new picture book. Ms. Gard, who was born in England during WWII, also taught me the proper way to make tea in my grandmother’s heirloom teapot. And it does make a delicious difference!
For children, there was a tea set designed for bubble-blowing spread on a child-sized outdoor table, and a “design a royal crown” craft.
Thank you to our friends, Raul and Annie, who provided for us many lovely photos from the day – including those shown here.
Thank you, also, to the family members who traveled across the country to join us – my parents and my Aunt Pat. Finally, I appreciate the SCBWI-SWTX board members and all the friends who stopped by to celebrate that day.
I am so pleased introduce my first historical fiction picture book, WELCOME TO AMERICA, CHAMP! (Sleeping Bear Press). Set during and just after WWII, the story takes place in England and on the great ship, The Queen Mary and features stunning watercolor paintings by award-winning illustrator Doris Ettlinger. It offers a look at a unique historical event — the Brides and Babies voyages of 1946, when from many parts of the world, the WWII War Brides of American and Canadian servicemen traveled with their children to a new life and their waiting husbands across the sea.
Young Thomas celebrates as his widowed mother marries Jack, a kind American serviceman stationed in WWII England. But Thomas realizes someday he and Mum will move faraway to Jack’s home in America.
Once the war ends, Thomas is about to embark on a history-making event – the “Brides and Babies” voyages of 1946. Great ships are readied to transport tens of thousands of “soldier brides,” ladies from across Europe who, like his mother, married American servicemen. They will cross the Atlantic, crowded in small cabins with their babies and children, to awaiting husbands in the United States.
Thomas is excited to sail aboard the famous RMS Queen Mary. But is he brave enough to leave England – forever?
In this hope-filled WWII and immigration story, Stier and Ettlinger present an extraordinary historical event as experienced by one spirited boy from England.
Heartfelt watercolor illustrations bring to life the anxiety and tentative joys of this unique historical situation.” Booklist