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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Passion for Picture Books, Tina M. Cho, Interview

This week I am excited to shine the spot light on Tina Cho.  Tina has been a long-time Pens and Brushes member and never misses a beat.  In 2010, she  moved from Southern California to South Korea.  During this time frame, she never missed a critique.  Her dedication to her family and her writing are nothing short of admirable.  Tina has taught kindergarten and has two beautiful children.  Those experiences have deeply enriched the feedback we get as members.

Tina, what drew you into writing picture books?

I fell in love with picture books during my years teaching elementary. I really like the books that leave me with an “ahh” Ymoment at the end. As a teacher, I couldn’t wait to get the Scholastic Book Orders so that I could order discounted or free picture books! I’ve always thought it would be neat to write one, but I never tried until 2008. That’s when I researched how to write for children, joined a critique group, and learned the craft of writing. So having a picture book with my name on it is my dream---to leave a legacy for my children.

 Tina is there an area of the story that you get satisfaction in developing and exploring?

After I get a great idea, I enjoy putting together the story arc using a template. I feel I write better if I’ve plotted the storyline first. I like to see how everything fits together.

Is there an area that is frustrating or difficult to develop? Endings are hard for me to create. An ending must bring satisfaction, a hint of surprise, perhaps a twist, and beg the reader for repeated readings. Therefore, it must be carefully planned.

Tina, if you could choose one pb author or  author/illustrator to spend a day with, who would that be and what would you want to receive from your time with them?

As a teacher I fell in love with Jan Brett’s books, illustrations, and how she always visited the country her book was about. I’d love to visit her studio and see how she puts together her books.

Finally, what was your favorite picture book as a child?

One of my favorite picture books that I still have is Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth by Lucy Bates. I think I liked it because the rabbit was creative with her loose tooth, and all kids like reading books about their loose teeth. My favorite ones to read to my kids are Skippyjon Jones books, Fancy Nancy books, Gingerbread Man books, and a new author I discovered Oliver Jeffers and his books like Lost and Found. His earlier ones about the penguin and boy are so perfect for my son. Isaac sleeps with a stuffed animal penguin. The books I chose have great voice or heart.

Tina, Thank you for joining me on this blog, Passion for Picture Books.  It has been such a pleasure to have you in the group and watch your writing career take off.  You bring such a supportive positive attitude to our group and our lives.  I am very grateful for you in so many ways.

Tina M. Cho is an author of 20 beginning readers or guided reading books from Lakeshore Learning and Compass Media. Her latest published project, “5 Minute Filler Teaching Cards for Grades 3/4 and 1/2” came out February 2012, from Lakeshore Learning. Tina is currently writing two nonfiction books for girls for Legacy Press/Rainbow Publishers. She also rewrites and edits for Mirae Publishing, a publisher of English language textbooks in Korea. She has written other stories and articles for children and teachers which are listed on her blog. Tina is participating in the 12x12 in 2012 challenge, writing 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months, headed by Julie Hedlund.

Tina is a former elementary teacher and currently homeschools her two children, Anna, a 4th grader, and Isaac, a 1st grader. She and husband Jackey live outside of Seoul, Korea. Tina grew up in Iowa and has lived in Virginia, Arizona, and California. When she’s not teaching or writing, she likes to scrapbook, play piano, read, shop, and attend Bible studies.

You can follow Tina on Facebook 

and read her blogs at: 

Tina's Tidbits: A Writer, Teacher, & Mother's Heart

Educational blog

Devotional blog


Mirka Breen said...

I have been privileged to see some of Tina’s picture books manuscripts, and can attest to her gift for this format. It is overwhelming to see how much this talented writer does, homeschooling her children, work for hire books, (evident in the photos) and a bounty of original stories.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Great interview, ladies - thanks for sharing. Tina, I'm interested in your use of a template. What template, and how do you use it?

Evelyn said...

Tina, this was such fun to get read your interview. I continue to be incredibly impressed with your many talents! Not only are you a wonderful writer, but in this tight market we authors face today, you do an excellent job of finding places to have your work published. Congratulations on all your successes and may God continue to bless your work. Hugs, Ev

Tina Cho said...

Thanks, Ev, Susanna, and Mirka for your nice comments! And thanks, Diane, for hosting me.
Susanna, the template is from my class with Anastasia Suen and also I like to use a template from Rob Sander's blog.

Kirsten Larson said...

What a wonderful interview. Tina, I love learning a about writers' processes and how you map out your story before you begin writing.

BarbaraB said...

Hi Tina, Thanks for sharing your favorites and your methods. I would like to take a look at Rob Sander's blog.
Thanks, Diane, for hosting Tina.

BarbaraB said...

Hi Tina, Thanks for sharing about your love of picture books and a little about your methods. I'm going to check out Rob Sander's blog. Congratulations on having so many books published.

Thanks Diane, for hosting Tina.

Ellen Jackson said...

Tina--How nice to read this interview! I'm so glad your career is taking off. I'm sure I'll be seeing your name on the spine of a picture book very soon.

Once again, I appreciate Diane's generous spirit.

Tina Cho said...

Thanks, Ellen, for reading the interview! I hope you're right about having my name on a pb soon!

Cathy Mealey said...

Tina -

Loved learning more about you in this interview!

We have your Lakeshore Books, so you are already a celebrity author in this house. Someday will yuo autograph them for us?

I love Jan Brett too. Must be my Scandinavian roots!


- Cathy