Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg is an educator, author and speaker. She has been featured in both local and national newspapers; interviewed on radio stations, television and cable shows; conducted workshops and in-services in various states, as well as serving as guest speaker at numerous meetings, conferences and conventions. She recently retired as a core adjunct professor and student teacher supervisor at National University in California. Now, instead of being restricted to a single classroom, she teaches to the world, through her books. Diabetes ABC is her ninth book.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Why do you write?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: After 50 years as an educator—teaching Kindergarten through University students in classroom situations—I can now teach to the world through my books. Whoever reads any one of my eleven books can learn something new, while they are being entertained. I like humor, and share it.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Who are your literary influences?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: I read an adult book a day (when I’m not writing!), even while juggling two to six books at the same time. As such, I am influenced by many authors across numerous genres. I owned so many chiIdren’s books, I became the librarian at my elementary school. I loved Kiddy Lit so much, that I often gave speeches to teachers in various states about such books. When I retired for the first time, I owned over 6,000 children’s books. Later, as a professor, Children’s Literature was my favorite subject to teach.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Your new book is The Cockroach Invasion. Why cockroaches?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: Madeliene L’Engle wrote, “You have to write the book that wants to be written.” TheCockroach Invasion actually happened in my third grade classroom, years ago, and I laughed every time I thought about it. I always felt that I would write about the incident one day, simply to share the fun. So I finally did. I knew from the start that finding readers would be tough sledding (as my adult friends and family were horrified and scandalized by thetopic!), but children love the yuck factor. However, parents hold the purse strings, so I don’t know how well it will sell. At any rate, I had so much fun, fun, FUN putting the book together, that it really doesn’t matter how it will be received.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What is it about the children’s genre you enjoy?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: Children’s Literature is just plain fun! While being entertaining, such books can help readers deal with problems, understand what’s important, and develop thinking skills. Children’s books can touch on challenging issues. No one is standing over them saying, “You must do this,” or “You must think this way.” I’m not into spoon-feeding only those subjects provided by a couple of people who high-jacked formal education. Children’s literature covers all subjects in a beneficial way.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What are the key lessons from The Cockroach Invasion?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: The title, The Cockroach Invasion, says it all. It is a nonfiction children’s chapter book, written about third graders. A beginner science/mystery book, it is targeted for 8 to 12-year-olds and above, as well as reluctant readers. It is meant to encourage self-reliance, thesharing of knowledge, open-mindedness, and respect for other living species. It is meant to raise awareness, and change attitudes.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Did you do much research for The Cockroach Invasion?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: I did a ton of research for the book. When the incident happened, however, very little was written about cockroaches, and certainly no children’s books were available on thesubject. So I also included recent information about cockroaches, as if the experience happened in 2014.
BooksAndAuthor.com: Fifty years as an educator. The Cockroach Invasion is your eleventh book. What did you learn from writing this book?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: As the above answer indicates, I learned a lot from the newest scientific research about cockroaches. However, much couldn’t be included, because, after all, this is a book for children.
BooksAndAuthor.com: What have readers been saying about the book?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: The BIG surprise for me was that so many comments are coming from adults. The very first fan letter was from Hawaii. The writer said that she had been afraid of cockroaches—of which there were many there—all her life, but that now she had a new found respect for them. She still considers them to be pests, but she is not afraid of them anymore. A woman in Florida said the same thing. A man’s letter read: “I was momentarily grossed-out,” but he pictured me as laughing, and read on. Another woman wrote: “If I had discovered such a book when I was nine, perhaps my motto would not be ‘if a bug comes into the house he gets zapped!’” A father told me that his third grade daughter refused to go to bed until she finished reading The Cockroach Invasion. He was amazed. Boy, that’s what I like to hear! All the workers at my local Post Office, were reading the book, and every day when I walked in, they would discuss the chapter they were reading. The manager loved it, and was astounded when she took the little test in the back of the book, and missed three, and had to flip through the pages to find the correct answers! One male teacher wrote: “It reminds me of my adventures in the classroom (children puking, biting, going-ballistic, etc.) No equivalent insect stories, though.” Everyone tells me their own bizarre cockroach stories, which are delightful to hear. It is clear that the book has motivated communication between total strangers. CONNECTION!
BooksAndAuthor.com: What do you hope to achieve with The Cockroach Invasion?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: I hope to raise awareness by spotlighting environmental causes. I am an ambassador for those “unhuggable” and “unloved” creatures, encouraging connection and inclusion. It is my intention that readers become responsible stewards, taking care of our earth and its creatures. A woman wrote: “Children are naturally curious, and if they read your book, I think they will grow up more accepting of all living creatures.” Yes!
BooksAndAuthor.com: What’s next?
Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg: The last page of The Cockroach Invasion, asks children to pick the title of the next book they would like to read, about Room 8’s third graders. There are seven other titles, of off-the-wall science/mystery experiences that actually happened in my third grade classroom. If there is no interest, however, then I will go back to writing adult nonfiction.