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Children’s Book Review | The Traveling Book (+ Author Interview!)

The Traveling Book Review

The Traveling Book, written by Charissa Bates and illustrated by Nadja Bullis, follows a book as he travels around the world via Little Free Libraries!

Children's Book Review | The Traveling Book

The book starts out brand new in a bookstore, where he’s purchased as a gift. But after being read over and over again, he slowly migrates to the bookshelf, where Mom eventually places him in a Little Free Library.

While he’s initally confused, this is where the fun begins, as the book learns it’s not about being shiny and new but about bringing stories and life to those around him. He travels all over the country and the world exploring different Little Free Libraries, each with its own unique design and features.

The story ends as the book explains it has now landed in the hands of the reader! It then offers a log in the last few pages to track where your copy of The Traveling Book has traveled.

This book offered lots of fantastic lessons, the first being to open children’s eyes to the free magic found in Little Free Libraries. It was fun learning about different Little Free Libraries around the world and even lead my daughter and I to search for all of the Little Free Libraries in our area. (There are so many more than we realized!)

I also appreciated that it shared feelings of sadness and loneliness as the book left different families and sometimes sat in one place for a long time. After all, who among us has never lost dear friends or had to leave a place we love?

But after sharing those feelings, the book moved its story forward, focusing on the positives and helping readers understand that sad periods aren’t the end of our story but a stop along the way.

Children's Book Review | The Traveling Book

I read the book with my seven-year-old daughter, who laughed at all of the silly things the book said. When I closed the book and asked for her thoughts, she had this to say:

I liked all of the little libraries, especially the one where you could pet a dog! I liked this book!!

Overall, The Traveling Book is an interesting and engaging book that would be fun as a bedtime story or a classroom read. You can find the book on Amazon and can follow author Charissa Bates on Facebook and Instagram.

The Traveling Book Author Interview

Want to learn more about author Charissa Bates? I did too! She was gracious enough to field a few questions and share what’s next for her!

Deb: I love the knowledge, passion, and frankly, fun that you share with readers in The Traveling Book! What inspired you to write a book about Little Free Libraries?

Charissa: While I had cancer, I started blogging for the Young Survival Coalition. I felt this need to express my feelings through writing.

I was never a writer and struggled with writing, honestly. I still do. 

At a friend’s urging, we wrote I’m a Good Neighbor Like Jesus. Then one day I was at my Little Free Library and started wondering where the books had been and where they would go next. Thus, The Traveling Book was born! 

Deb: We find out at the end of the book that you actually have your own Little Free Library! Can you tell us a bit about your library and how it came to be?

Charissa: I have been a huge fan of Little Free Libraries since I discovered my first one on a back road in rural Wisconsin. It was shaped like a house and packed full of fun, new books. This particular one has evolved over the years; it now has a giant eraser and giant pencil next to a bench.  

After discovering this Little Free Library, I wanted one of my own. We first made the Wayne Manor/Batcave Little Free Library. This one had a viewing area of Wayne Manor and the Batcave. 

Unfortunately the wind took the door off, so we had to ask my father-in-law if he’d build a new one. As he always does, he said “sure” and asked how we wanted it. 

My kids started brainstorming and asked for one that looked like Hogwarts from Harry Potter. My father-in-law built a masterpiece and my artist friend painted it. 

It is beautiful! We have a viewing area with a Quidditch match and Hagrid’s Hut!  

Children's Book Review | The Traveling Book

Deb: What should readers do if they’re interested in starting their own Free Little Library?

Charissa: Go on Instagram for inspiration. After you feel inspired, the Little Free Library website has amazing resources and products you can pick from.

Deb: Although you’ve written primarily children’s books, you recently wrote a powerful book for adults about your experience with cancer in STANDSTILL: A Young Mom Conquering Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Many authors choose to write either for adults or children. What’s inspired you to write for both audiences?

Charissa: In complete honesty, I started writing Standstill first. One day, I was sitting and decided that I needed to get my words on paper. It became very therapeutic.

This is a one and done sorta book. Novels are not my thing. I’m amazed at the authors who can write multiple novels.

I’ve always loved children’s books and creating them has been a great outlet for me. I love seeing the characters come to life and also seeing the illustrations progress. Nadja Bullis does an amazing job and she’s brought such joy to the characters in my book.

Children's Book Review | The Traveling Book

Deb: Do you have any advice for those facing cancer or other difficult circumstances who would like to explore the therapeutic effects of writing?

Charissa: This brings me to my other book actually, We Find Joy: Cancer Messed with the Wrong Family

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, my first concern was about my children. Will I be there for them? Will they miss out on life while I’m in treatment? Will chemo kill me? How can someone else take care of my kids while I’m recovering from surgeries and treatment?

The first month was difficult. It was so hard to focus on anything and anxiety and worry took over.

I hardly slept. I ate, I think.

Then treatment came and I felt empowered. I felt that I needed to make the most of my days.

My kids, husband, and I decided that we needed to find joy each day. It was so empowering and needed. 

We eventually wrote We Find Joy and found it to heal us. My son said to me after we wrote it, “Mom, we didn’t have it that hard. We were thankful each day.”

That was enough for me to know that this book was needed.

Deb: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

Charissa: I’m excited about so many things. I have trouble not being excited about life!

Recently, I signed a contract with Martin Literacy and Management under Literary Manager, Kristen Terette. She is lovely and believes in my books.

She has submissions of The Traveing Book series and Garden Valley Kids faith book series out to publishers. Anxiously, I wait for someone to fall in love with these books as much as those that have read them have.

I’m currently in the final stages of I Do Declare, A Norwegian Fair children’s book. It is so cute! Nadja Bullis and I wrote it together.

It is about a mouse that wants to do a little shopping at a Norwegian Fair but suddenly a cat is following her! How dare cat follow her! My parents own a Lefse Company and I have been fully immersed in all things Norwegian all my life, so this was a perfect book for me to co-write. 

I’ve also been writing for Her View from Home and Do Cancer. These are fun as they tap into my parenting, cancer survivorship, and adult writing without having to write a novel. Both groups are amazing and really want to impact the world around them.

Children's Book Review | The Traveling Book

Thanks so much for joining us today, Charissa! If you’d like to check out all of Charissa’s books, you can find them on her Amazon author page. Happy reading!

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