It’s not often you meet a writer who seems to be equally left-brained as right-brained, but I believe we’ve got one here today! Please welcome the lovely Lisa A. Tortorello to the Reading Room – picture book author AND math teacher ! I hope you enjoy her story and her Christmas book!
Q. Hi Lisa! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. Hi! I’m Lisa Tortorello and I am both a teacher and an author. I was a life-long Chicagoan until quite recently when my husband and I moved out of the big city for greener pastures (literally).
When I was younger, I always liked to dabble at writing, mostly simple poetry. Then I used writing as a means to work through the grief of my grandfather’s death and eventually published my first non-fiction book, My Hero, My Ding – A Memoir of a Girl and Her Grandfather in 2010. After that, I focused on another love I have and that is of moose. Yes, I said moose! A very good friend of ours unwittingly started my husband and I on a journey of moose when she gave us a cute stuffed animal for Christmas one year. His name was Chris-Mas-Moose, and he certainly started something big! We now have well over 275 stuffed animal moose in our house and they are a huge inspiration for me.
At Christmastime, we always hear and read stories of the animals that visited baby Jesus, so I thought about what might have happened if a moose was in the crowd. With that idea, my children’s book A Moose at the Manger was created. When Muse the Moose accidentally wanders off from her family, she becomes lost in a forest. She luckily finds a friend in Star Bright, the brightest star in the sky, who leads her on a fantastic journey. When Muse becomes The Moose at the Manger, she realizes her most important journey is yet to come.
I also created a teacher’s guide for The Moose at the Manger. It can be used in the classroom as well as for Sunday school or other youth group organizations.
Q. Tell us something about your greatest success or your latest success.
A. I am a math teacher by trade, so becoming a published author was quite a boon! I now have successfully published three books – My Hero, My Ding, The Moose at the Manger, and Mark the Missing Moose. A couple great successes came about because of my books. I was one of Chicago’s Very Own (which is a segment associated with WGN TV) when my first book was published. You can view it here Lisa Tortorello – Chicago’s Very Own. After the release of The Moose at the Manger, it was featured in The Midwest Book Review and I was the recipient of the 2013 KART (Kids Are Readers Too) Kids Book List Award for excellence in creative story telling.
Q. That’s wonderful! What has been your greatest challenge?
A. The greatest challenge for me as an author is “spreading the word” about my books. The idea that once a book is published, it will fly off the shelves or into electronic devices and be read is a nice dream, but there is a lot of hard work in getting one’s books noticed and read. Social media plays a big part too, so as a voracious reader myself, I like to write reviews for the books I read, and I post them to Goodreads and Amazon. If I really enjoy a book, I try to connect with that author on Facebook to let them know. This way the authors know their books are being read, and the more reviews, the more publicity.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. I am kicking around the idea of writing something that consists of both of my passions – moose and math. Math can be a difficult subject for some and what better way to help children learn than by making it fun? I think moose doing math can accomplish that goal!
The Moose at the Manger can be purchased through the following links:
Other social media links: