Sunday, February 20, 2022

Interview with Children’s Illustrator Shelley Dieterichs and Author Pauline Shore



  1. What motivated both of you to create this book:  Both Pauline Shore and I were moved when Michelle Obama meet Queen Elizabeth II and she put her arm around her.  We both have strong feelings that it is the responsibility of whites to expose the injustices perpetrated against people of color over the centuries, and to stand up for the resulting injustice and inequity we see today. 
  1. What is it about and who is it for?  The book is about how Michelle Obama’s and Queen Elizabeth II’s families linked with one another across time.  After the first Queen Elizabeth of England’s death, Britain became involved in the slave trade from Africa to the colonies.  First Lady Michelle Obama’s great, great grandfather was a slave, and it was after many years of struggle and hardship that her family finally saw blacks gain freedom in the U.S.  When Michelle Met The Queen is not just a story for children but for anyone interested in the past history of slavery in this country.  It’s a story that needs to be told and talked about… it is a heavy subject for children, which Shore and Dieterichs navigated by focusing more on visuals than words. 
  1. What takeaways might the reader be left with after reading it?  The many strides and freedoms gained by blacks over the centuries, and also many individuals who helped make those changes possible. 
  1. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?  Consider your audience, do your research and then put down your ideas.  You also need to consider if you will self-publish or if you prefer to submit your manuscript to publishing houses and request their publishing it. If you are self-publishing you need to consider the size, number of pages, the quantity you plan on printing and the design and artwork for your book as these costs will factor into what you charge for a copy of your book.  You will then also need to apply for the Library of Congress number as well as an ISBN number.  Fortunately, in our case, I am an illustrator and designer, so I put the book together and did the illustrations myself.  
  1. What trends in the book world do you see – and where do you think the book publishing industry Is heading?  It’s hard to say where the book publishing industry is heading – although I have noticed an uptick in picture books for kids that have no copy.  Kids, I guess, just look at the pictures and figure out where the story is going.  I assume too that more books are printed overseas – in China in particular – where costs may be lower.  I don’t know how much art and production for children’s books have moved overseas, but I think a fair amount has. 
  1. What challenges did you overcome to write this book?  We put the copy together fairly quickly for our book, but it took me a long time to get the book designed and illustrated and finally after the book was printed COVID set in and so it was virtually impossible to market and publicize the book. 
  1. How would you describe your writing style?  This book is written in rhyming text. 
  1. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?  Because ours is a charming and interesting story that should appeal to a reader of any age. 

Bios: Artist and children’s illustrator Shelley Dieterichs has been a freelance designer and illustrator for 36 years.  She has illustrated numerous children’s books and educational materials.  Shelley’s products and books are available at her website:  Samples of her artwork may also be viewed online at 

Pauline Shore lives in Stratford, Ontario and Shelley Dieterichs lives in St. Louis, Missouri.  They met years ago when Shelley and her husband travelled to Stratford to attend the Stratford Theatre Festival.  Both Pauline and Shelley were touched by the photos of Michelle Obama and the Queen warmly greeting one another when they met in England in 2009.  Pauline and Shelley created this story about when Michelle met the Queen.

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