In February we reviewed Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World by Naomi C. Rose. Today, we sit down to chat with Naomi about her work as an author and artist, including an exciting new program that she’ll tell us more about.
Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Naomi. It’s wonderful to have you here.
Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much for your generous review of Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World. I really appreciate your kind words! Thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers.
Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?
I have always drawn a lot of inspiration from nature, and have been fortunate to live in many beautiful places in my life. I now live in Sedona, Arizona with my husband. Living and hiking among the red rocks is a real highlight of my life.
I also draw a lot of inspiration from my intention to be of benefit to others. This intention guides my life and my work, and keeps me focused on what really matters.
When did you decide to pursue writing as a career?
I don’t think I ever reached a decision point. It sort of slipped up on me. I have always enjoyed writing. I wrote poems and stories as a child and throughout my early adult life as a way to express myself. In my thirties, I worked as a technical writer for a software company. Then I had nighttime dreams showing me going to art school so I could illustrate children’s books. I had never considered this profession before, but the dreams intrigued me. I finally enrolled in an art school and found I loved it. At the same time, I met a Tibetan teacher who asked me to turn adult Tibetan tales into children’s stories. Thus began my career writing and illustrating children’s books. This beginning did not immediately produce results, I might add. It was ten long years before my first book TIBETAN TALES FOR LITTLE BUDDHAS was published.
Your books for children retell stories that were once told in Tibet. Why do you focus on this culture? What do you hope readers will learn from your books?
The Tibetan culture has many ways to practice peace, and I found those ways to be very helpful in my life. The more I learned about Tibetan wisdom and their ways of peace and kindness, the more I thought it could be useful for our own culture. I’ve heard from many adults and children how the stories in my books have helped them experience life in a more peaceful way. And when I visit schools and present my Taste of Tibet program, the children become very happy learning about this peaceful culture. I can see it gives them hope. It also gives them new ways to meet their own challenges. That is my hope for readers; that in some way, they find the wisdom in the stories inspiring and useful.
Can you please tell us about the illustrations used in Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World?
While I painted these illustrations, my studio was full of Tibetan images, and the sounds of Tibetan music. I painted the illustrations with acrylic paint on canvas board. With each stroke of the brush, I tried to keep my mind and heart focused on my intention for the work to be of benefit to others.
ESCAPE TO FREEDOM; THE DANGEROUS TREK OF TIBETAN YOUTH (Paljor Publications, 2010) is a nonfiction book. The book tells the story of the thousands of Tibetan youth who risk their lives to escape Tibet in search of freedom and a good education.
I’m also completing WHERE SNOW LEOPARD PROWLS; WILD ANIMALS OF TIBET, a wonderful picture book about animals of the Tibetan plateau.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I have developed a program called Taste of Tibet for schools, libraries, and other venues. I arrive in Tibetan costume with a basketful of Tibetan treasures. The program includes storytelling, chanting, and optional art projects. We all have a lot of fun learning about Tibet’s enchanting culture and wise ways of peace.
I invite your readers to visit my Youtube site www.youtube.com/user/naomicrose where they can watch a short trailer of my book as well as a video of me storytelling a Tibetan wisdom tale.
My website www.naomicrose.com also has a lot more information about me and my work.
Thank you for joining us today, Naomi. We wish you much success.
Thank you, Cheryl, for taking the time to learn about my work!
I enjoyed this interview. Thanks for featuring a wonderful culture in your books.
Cheryl and Naomi, wonderful interview! Naomi, your books are lovely and it sounds like some exciting things are on the horizon too!
I love the idea of bringing another culture to children.