There’s a new children’s book that’s causing quite a buzz.
“The Wall They Could Not See,” by Madison Township resident and Southeast Messenger sales account executive Karen Seelenbinder, tells the story of Mrs. Fly and her two friends, Mr. Wasp and Miss Butterfly, as they find themselves trapped against an invisible wall. As they frantically buzz against the wall trying to find a way out, they see someone approaching them with a spray can and fly swatter. How do they escape? The answer lies in the book.
Seelenbinder is a 1976 graduate of Groveport Madison High School and a 1980 graduate of Bowling Green State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music/education.
I recently interviewed Seelenbinder about her book.
Rick Palsgrove: Why did you want to write a children’s book?
Karen Seelenbinder: “I wanted to give children the opportunity to discover hidden mysteries through colorful and fun characters.”
RP: What age group is your book geared to?
KS: “If you want to put the book in a box for ages, it would be four to eight. I write in such a way that this book can be read for pure enjoyment at a young age or you can peel back the layers like an onion and receive a much deeper meaning, whether it be philosophical or a deeper trust in God.”
RP: How did you come up with the idea for the story?
KS: “I saw and heard a housefly buzzing miserably against a window in an old farmhouse where I lived. There was a door, wide open, next to the window but the fly never saw it. That is how we are as humans. We think we know the solution to a challenging situation, but what we have to understand is that the obvious solution is not always the true solution.From that point, the story began to form in my mind and I sat down and wrote it from beginning to end. Then it took another four years to incorporate the other characters, Mr. Wasp and Miss Butterfly, and the theme to the story ‘Be still and know that I am God.’”
RP: Why did you choose insects to be the characters?
KS: “I have always been fascinated with the intricate details of insects. How they move, how they see, what they eat, how they fly, how they work together, each one with a designated purpose. Insects are intelligent creatures that survive and thrive in the beauty of their creation. Thus, they were the perfect characters to tell the story.”
RP: At your public readings of the book, which character do the kids respond to the most?
KS: “I had a 7-year-old, who had read the book, say she didn’t like Mrs. Fly. When I asked her why, she said because Mrs. Fly didn’t believe God, but Mr. Wasp and Miss Butterfly did.”
RP: Which character is your personal favorite?
KS: “Each character is an extension of my personality. Mr. Wasp is a strong pillar of belief and a take action individual. Miss Butterfly is shy and easily frightened. Mrs. Fly encompasses everything there is about disbelief, being stubborn and giving up. I took my personal characteristics and put them into three undesirable insect pests. So, I would say, I am personally fond of each one.Though, the character, I admire the most is Mrs. Fly because she gave up her disbelief and made a decision to trust.”
RP: The illustrations for the book are quite lively. Who did the illustrations for the book and why did you think this artist would be the best one to capture the visual essence of the characters?
KS: “Luke Southern is an illustrator for Tate Publishing. I didn’t choose Luke. Tate publishing chose him for me. I think Luke was the best illustrator for the book because he captured the personality of each character in their facial expressions, their accessories in clothing, and their emotional reactions to being in danger. His creative interpretation of their personalities in this story does the talking.”
RP: Why did you choose a religious theme for the book?
KS: “I didn’t choose to write about God, He chose me. Every story that begins to form in my mind centers on God. I ask myself several questions when I am in the creative process of writing a book. How do I make God real to a child and to an adult? How do I make God personal instead of some mystic faraway entity that we have no contact with? This has been the challenge in my writing. I believe our relationship with God can be real and I try to incorporate his love and care for us in words filled with truth through childlike characters.”
RP: What were your favorite children’s books when you were a child?
KS: “I liked ‘The Black Stallion Books’ by Walter Farley; ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell; ‘Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeline L. Engle; “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis; and J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.’ I also liked every horse book that was on the shelves in the library. These books took me places where I had never been and introduced me to characters, I could identify with. Reading these books challenged my limited thought process and deepened my walk with God.”
RP: Why is it important to instill a love of reading in children?
KS: “Reading fights against ignorance. It expands children’s intellect, their creative thinking, their ability to visualize and it expands the talents that have been given to them. To read is to explore and find hidden doors opening into a deeper faith, new ideas, laughter and joy.”
RP: Do you plan to write more children’s books?
KS: “I have written a few children’s books that are waiting for a publisher to jump and say, ‘Yes we love your books and want to publish them!’ The books that I hope will be published in the near future are: ‘Trickle Stream,’ ‘Twiggle Wiggle’, ‘Pecky the Parrot,’ ‘The Ground Hog and the Wren,’ and a middle grade novel about a hidden town, ‘Alexandria.’”
“The Wall They Could Not See” is available for $8.99 (plus tax) at B. Dalton in Eastland Mall and Barnes and Noble in the Lennox Center. It can be ordered through any Barnes and Noble Store and is also available online at Barnes and Noble; B.Dalton; Amazon; and the Tate Publishing Web site. Businesses carrying the book include: Go Groveport, 607 Main St., Groveport; EZ Suppers, 6390 Gender Road, Canal Winchester; Ferne’s Attic, 24 N. High St., Canal Winchester; and Studio 55, 55 N. Wilson Road, Columbus. It’s also available at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the book e-mail email@example.com.