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Author profile: Marla McKenna

May 30, 2012

By Julia Rogers

Wisconsin author Marla McKenna draws inspiration for her children’s books from her family and personal interests. Her book Mom’s Big Catch, follows a young girl who hopes to catch a home run baseball at a major league game. Marla recently donated a stack of copies of Mom’s Big Catch for CLiF  to distribute during our Summer Readers programs this year. We are very thankful for her generous donation.  

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I had a chance to ask Marla a few questions about her work and how she keeps literacy alive in her community. 

1.  What inspired you to become an author?

I had always wanted to write a children’s book, but you really need that perfect idea – one that will stand out from the rest. My story was literally dropped in my lap. I’ve been very fortunate because it’s a unique idea and one that hasn’t been written about before. My girls also inspire me, as I wrote Mom’s Big Catch from my daughter, Ashley’s perspective. Plus, I have always enjoyed the creative aspect of writing and graphic design. It is my passion.

2.  What were your favorite children’s books growing up?

My favorite book of all time is Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I love the positive message it portrays to both children and adults, and I can relate to the story – as I think we all can. My message when I read to school children is to follow their dreams, and never, never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Always believe in yourself!

3.  Are there any reading tips you would pass along to parents with young children?

I think it’s important to start reading to children at a very early age. I always read to my children until they could read to me, which was very exciting for all of us. To see their faces light up when they could start sounding out the words on the pages and grasp what they were reading is rewarding to see unfold!

4.  How do you encourage literacy in your community?

I very much enjoy reaching out to the schools and visiting the children grades K-5. I have been all over the state of Wisconsin and have also visited schools in Arizona and Illinois so far as well. To share my story and offer a positive message to the kids is the best way to encourage reading!

Mom’s Big Catch has also been such a gift for me to help promote literacy in the community. The book can be customized to fit any baseball team, including logos, colors, uniforms, stadiums, etc. I have been working with many teams to promote literacy, family and baseball with Mom’s Big Catch. There are currently two versions now available, with a third on the way. There is the original version of Mom’s Big Catch and the Wrigley Field version. I recently had the honor of sitting beside former Cubs baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona during spring training. Fergie was kind enough to sign my book for his fans too. It was a wonderful experience!

The Bluefield Blue Jays version is currently in production. There will be a Mom’s Big Catch day at their West Virginia stadium this summer where 400 fans (10 and under) in attendance will all receive a copy of the book! This is an exciting element to the book!  

Partial proceeds from Mom’s Big Catch are going to the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation, and singer, actor and best selling author Rick Springfield is matching my donation! 

5.  Why did you decide to support CLiF?

I was drawn to CLiF because of all the wonderful support they give to children in need, including migrant and refugee children and those who are less fortunate. It’s so important to promote literacy to all children no matter where they were born or what environments they are faced with today. Every child deserves a fighting chance to become educated and loved through books! I applaud CLiF, and I hope to be able to do an author visit at their location some day! I thank CLiF for the opportunity to support their great cause!

For more information about Marla McKenna, visit her website here.  Thank you again Marla!

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