Lulu and Malek sail off to sea! by June N. Foster and Robert Scheer
I love being on tour with iReadBookTours because they showcase a variety of book and have giveaways (check out the bottom of the post). I'm excited to share my thoughts on this delightful children's book and an interview with the authors. Enjoy!
Adventurous friends Lulu and Malek make fantastic discoveries, take care of our planet, and meet new friends as they explore the wonders of the world under the sea. With vibrant illustrations and endearing characters, this fun-to-read rhyming book is sure to be a children's favorite that they will want to read over and over again! Add this fun-filled and inspiring book to your home or class library! It will be enjoyed by children who love adventure, a good laugh, and want to learn more about the sea and conservation.
1. What made you write a book about a sea adventure of a young giraffe and lion?
ROB & JUNE: We were inspired for many reasons! Rob is the CEO and Founder of Comfort Cases. Comfort Cases’ mission is to eliminate trash bags from the foster care system by providing backpacks that are filled with comfort and personal care items. We wanted to add a children’s book to each comfort case and for each book purchased, we donate one to Comfort Cases. The theme of the story was inspired by our shared love of the sea, quirky sense of humor, conservation, and keeping our planet green. Despite their differences, we wanted our two characters, Lulu and Malek to be the best of friends, have fun, take care of others and the planet, and enjoy the beauty of the world. Our collaboration was a labor of love, and it fills our hearts knowing our story, filled with humor and friendship, will be read by so many precious children!
2. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
ROB: Over the years, I have had the opportunity to become a professional speaker and have met the most incredible people across the globe. As I share my story, they share theirs with me, and we realize how much we all have in common. You see, our community is not just our neighborhood - it is everywhere. We all share common bonds. So, in answer to your question: Everyone and everything inspires me.
JUNE: During college, I became more aware of the world around me by taking global sociology and economic courses. The below has been my inspiration for my stories:
As we look around the world today, we’re confronted with an uncomfortable but undeniable truth: Millions of children’s lives are blighted, for no other reason than the country, the community, the gender or the circumstances into which they are born. Before they draw their first breath, the life chances of poor and excluded children are often being shaped by inequities. Disadvantage and discrimination against their communities and families will help determine whether they live or die, whether they have a chance to learn and later earn a decent living. Conflicts, crises and climate-related disasters deepen their deprivation and diminish their potential. – Anthony Lake, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “The State of the World’s Children 2016, A Fair Chance for Every Child,” June 2016.
3. What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
ROB: I was in foster care from age 12. On my 18th birthday, when I came “home” from school to my “mom and dad” I had lived with for 8 years, I opened the door and found a black trash bag filled with all of my belongings and was told I needed to leave. When I asked why, I was told that I “aged out” so they were no longer receiving a check and I had to leave. My “family” told me I was no longer their responsibility. I was a senior in high school. What was I to do?
For two days and nights, I lived under a highway overpass. I could have gone in many directions then but decided that my “trash bag” was not going to be who I was. The next day, I went back to school, and over the next 6 months found ways to get by, from getting a part-time job and washing in the restroom there to “dumpster diving” to find food. But then, in June… I graduated High School. I did it. On my own. And never looked back.
JUNE: While some may believe I’m an extrovert, deep down, I’m more of an introvert. I’m also a bit of a homebody as they say. I knew I was the only person who could break from my safe zone, and although I was nervous, my passion was to experience different cultures, and meet diverse people. Soon I discovered the Yachting Industry. I saved enough money as a waitress during college to travel to Australia to obtain my yachting certifications. I had never traveled alone, nor visited a foreign country so far away. Since that first adventure, I continued to travel across the UK, Caribbean and the Mediterranean, seeking a yachting position after arrival and basically living week to week as day jobs became available. After a year of hard work, I was able to obtain more of a full-time schedule. I would have to say that jumping on a plane and seeking employment in other countries, without friends or networks, would be the most courageous thing I’ve done.
4. Favorite travel spot?
ROB: Our family just loves the beach. We live near Washington, DC and are lucky enough to live just a few hours from the beautiful Maryland Shore. We try to get there every Summer with the whole family. And of course, with five children, how could we not list DisneyWorld? It’s known as the “happiest place on earth” for a reason, right?
JUNE: To date, my favorite travel spot are the quaint and cozy towns in Germany. I love the historical castles, the town squares, the walled-in cities, the open-markets, beer, cuisine and lovely people. I would love to live among the Bavarian alps!
5. What historical figure do you admire and why?
ROB: I would have to say that I do not have one person that stands out because we have so many that we can learn from but as a father of 4 children of color, I will always think about what it took Rosa Parks to start the movement that we all should be treated equal and with respect.
JUNE: I have many, but I’d like to highlight Michelangelo Buonarroti—his life, his passions, his convictions, his struggles, and his genius. I traveled to Italy a few years ago to see many of his masterpieces, including the Pieta, David, and the Sistine Chapel. Seeing the Pieta a few feet in front of me nearly brought me to tears—the detail, the passion, the love was overpowering. If allowed, I could have easily spent the day in the Sistine Chapel, studying each fresco and picturing Michelangelo lying on his back for four years to complete his magnificent ceiling. He had many quotes, one of which continues to inspire me as an author, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Sometimes when I write, I reflect on this quote, seeing my story beneath the blank pages, and striving to set it free.
6. What advice would you give budding writers?
ROB: Just write! As I noted above, I never planned on being an author. I was actually asked to write that first book, believe it or not by New York Yankee legend DEREK JETER who heard about my life! Now, not everyone will be asked to write a book by someone like Derek, so you need to look deep inside yourself and really FEEL what you want to write. Trust me, those first few words will be the hardest, and when you think you’re done, it may not be the best. But that’s how you start. Then you find good people you trust, ask them to read what you’ve written and give you advice and move from there, and if you’re really lucky, you find a writing partner like my co-author, June Foster! It doesn’t happen overnight, either. Writing a book can take months or even years!
JUNE: Write what inspires you! You will know it when you feel it—little butterflies rush through your tummy. Capture that moment and record what you are feeling, seeing, hearing. These few paragraphs will turn into a story—trust your instinct and follow your passions. While the journey may feel long, and the obstacles sometimes intense, always know that you are not alone. Build a small network of trusted friends and mentors, and reach-out for guidance and encouragement. Have faith in yourself, set daily goals, and never let rejections define you or your storytelling.
Just a bit about me. I live in Arizona, but for most of the year, I travel across our beautiful earth as a deckhand and yoga instructor in the yachting industry. I love the serenity of the sea, exploring treasured caves, hiking through lush green forests, immersing myself in different cultures, and meeting new friends. I recently launched an online retail store (www.yachtieinspired.com) that offers conservation and yachtie inspired designs through my Sea Our Love and Silent Whispers Collections. You can also purchase a Personalized Signed Copy of my books on my online store, or please visit junenfoster.com to learn more!
My co-author, Rob Scheer and I have completed two beautifully illustrated, heartfelt children's books. Rob is the Founder and CEO of Comfort Cases. Since 2013, Comfort Cases set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags and provide children entering the foster system with brand new essential and comfort items. To date, Comfort Cases has positively impacted over 110,000 children, and has recently opened a chapter in the United Kingdom. For each book purchased of Lulu and Malek Sail Off to Sea, we will donate one book to Comfort Cases.
connect with the authors: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ instagram ~ goodreads