MyMcBooks Interview & Review w/ Sonya Kimble-Ellis


[learn_more caption=”Click To Read Review”]
The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure written by Sonya Kimble-Ellis and illustrated by Matthew Hebert.

The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure tells the exciting journey of Rosa, Kamal Richard and Daisy. In this, the first book of the series, the Kids are whisked away to Central Peten. The year is 420 A.D.

My Review:

Four friends Rosa, Kamal Richard and Daisy decided to go to the beach to make sandcastles and came across a hung sand dune. As they poured water onto the dune, the sand began to swirl and spun round the kids like a tornado taking them to another time and place in history. When they were brought down to earth they found out that they were no longer at the beach but in Central Peten and the year is 420 A.D.

They met Chamula, a friendly villager who took the four friends to his village and teaches them about life in Mayan village. They joined the villagers to help build their bridge. The author did a great job taking us on a journey to Central Peten learning about the Mayan culture in a unique and exciting way and learning about the hieroglyphic writing, their system of trading, the Mayan food and their kind of unique animals.

The message in this book is about teaching the children about history, other cultures and helping others. The last page of the book contains discussion questions. Recommend for classroom teaching. Want to find out how the kids got back to the beach?

Click to purchase your copy.

Ages: 6 and up

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion in any way.[/learn_more]



Sonya Kimble-Ellis is a freelance writer, author, and editor who writes about business, education, entertainment, human interest, beauty and interior design. Her work has appeared in Scholastic’s classroom magazines, Black Enterprise, The New York Daily News, Celebrity Hairstyles, Kitchen Solutions, Matters, Upscale and other publications and Web sites (,, and She has worked as an editor at NYFA, Scholastic, and Short Styles magazine. She is the author of the children’s activity books Math Puzzlers (Scholastic) and Traditional African American Arts & Activities (John Wiley & Sons). She also recently authored a biography for teens titled Bill Cosby: Entertainer & Activist (Chelsea House).

Interview with Sonya Kimble-Ellis author of The Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.

What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was “This Year You Write Your Novel” by Walter Mosely. I have written a few chapters for a novel but haven’t finished it, so I’m hoping this book will help me get it done.

What were your earliest memories of writing?
I started writing poetry when I was about ten years old. We had a school journal that students could submit poems to and I got started that way.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
Writing has always come natural. But as I started to get into the journalism business, I had to work at learning how to write different styles and for different age groups and audiences. Writing a business article is different from writing a how-to piece for children.

Are you working on a new book?
I am working on an idea for another picture book, but because the concept belongs to someone else, I can’t say what it is right now. I do plan to write more Sandcastle Kids books as well.

What inspired you to write Sandcastle Kids: A Mayan Adventure and how did you come up with each character?
The Sandcastle Kids is an idea I came up with ten years ago. It was turned down by several publishers at that time. I re-worked the story a little and decided to self publish the book. I wanted to do something that was multi-cultural and educational, but I also wanted it to be fun and something that kids would want to read. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded in doing that.

What was your favorite children’s book?
I don’t know that I had a favorite but there were always the classic Cat in the Hat books andCharlotte’s Web. There weren’t many multi-cultural children’s books around when I was a child.

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
It seems as if I’m always writing. I do have an interest in interior design and creating products for the home, so hopefully one day I can put more energy into that.

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Fortunately, I haven’t read any bad reviews but that’s something you always have to prepare yourself for. It’s part of the business. As far as writer’s block, every writer gets it. It’s frustrating but sometimes it’s good to step away from the work for a few days if possible and then go back to it. When writer’s block happens, it’s always good to use that time to read. Writers have to read.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
The importance of learning about other cultures and of helping others.

What author inspires you the most and why?
James Baldwin because I just admire his work and the fact that it reflects the period of time that he lived in; his passion about the civil rights movement; and his willingness to create a living environment that allowed him to live and work with less stress and craziness. I am also inspired by Gordon Parks because he was multi-talented and did many things well (photography, writing, filmmaking). I was fortunate enough to meet both men before they passed away. I also love Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, and lots of others. It’s hard to mention just one author.

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I’m constantly working at getting better with that. Life always seems to get in the way. Writing to make a living also sometimes gets in the way. So finding time to write for your own creativity can be difficult. I write best in the evening or at the library, where there’s no distractions. I’m still working on that discipline thing.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Choose books with your child. If it’s a book that visually appealing to them and about a subject he or she is interested in, then they’ll want to read it. As a parent, you can make sure that their choice gels with what you want for your child.

What advice you would give to new writers?
Write, write write. Read, read, read.

Thank you for this interview.


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