Monday, November 23, 2015

Sherry Ellis, author of TEN ZANY BIRDS

Author Bio:
Sherry Ellis is a freelance writer and award-winning children’s author. Her books include, That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN, That Mama is a Grouch, and Ten Zany Birds.
She is also a professional musician who plays and teaches violin, viola, and piano.
Sherry lives with her husband and two children in Atlanta, Georgia.
You can learn more about Sherry Ellis on her website,

Title:  Ten Zany Birds
Author:  Sherry Ellis
ISBN:  978-1497404588
Page count:  44
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Early Learning, Basic Concepts, Counting
Price:  $12.99 (soft cover) $2.99 (e-book)

Tell us about your book:
Ten Zany Birds is the story of ten feathered friends who are having a party in a tree. They’re all having fun, but one by one, they become distracted. One is frightened by a loud plane. One gets hungry. One wants to race, and another needs a bath. Only one stays to sing in the tree. Kids will have fun figuring out who it will be.

As parents and teachers read, children are introduced to counting and basic subtraction skills. Whenever a bird leaves, the number of striped, spotted, and polka-dotted birds changes, teaching the application of simple classification rules. With its simple rhyming text, it’s also a good book for developing reading skills. 

Excerpt from book:
A gray, sneaky cat
crouching near a bush,
jumps as a green bird
scares it with a WOOSH.

How long did it take to write the book?
Writing the first draft did not take long – about a month. It was the revisions that were time-consuming. It took a year and a half to revise it to the point where I was happy with it. My critique group and editor were very helpful! Even though the text is very simple, it wasn’t easy to get the rhythm and meter just right. It was deceptively difficult!

What inspired you to write the book?
A few years ago, my daughter received a birthday party invitation. On the front of the card was a picture of some crazy little birds. That ignited my imagination. I had wanted to write a counting book, and I thought ten zany birds would be perfect for it.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I worked on Ten Zany Birds a little each day until it was complete. Normally, with other projects, I do a lot of research, but this one did not require any. What I did, was come up with a list of things that could distract a bird. Then I began the arduous process of creating rhymes for each activity. Once that was complete, I had to do some math. Yes, it’s a math book, and it required that I do some number crunching to make it all work out! I had to make sure the colors and striped/polka dotted classification all matched with the text. I chuckle because most people reading the book would think it was easy to write. It wasn’t. It required a lot of thinking!

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I wanted Ten Zany Birds to be more than just a counting book. I wanted it to teach colors, patterns, classification, subtraction, and be a book early readers could use to develop reading skills. I also wanted it to be a fun book for kids, one that they would want to read again and again, and get something new each time. I think it does that. Illustrator, Charu Jain, did a fantastic job creating the colorful, whimsical world of the ten zany birds. Kids will enjoy seeing the spider and snail on every page, and picking their favorite feathered friend.    

Where can we go to buy your book?

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Readers can connect with me on Facebook:


  1. Your illustrator definitely captured the birds.
    I imagine a kids' book needs a lot of work to get a good reading rhythm.

    1. Charu did a great job with the illustrations. They are very colorful! It is a lot of work to get the meter correct with poetry. Most people don't realize that.

  2. Lovely to see Sherry featured here and to learn a little more of the background story of this wonderful book.

  3. You do so well in everything you take on Sherry! Including this budding side career as a children's author. I doubt you ever saw yourself in this position back when we were sitting at the coffee shop at Cleveland State! Congratulations!