I’m thrilled to be going to my first Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival where I will be representing How To Coach Girls and Sumo Joe.
As a former ESPN sportscaster, Sandra Neil Wallace has the ability to see different perspectives and find a way to connect with people. As an immigrant herself, she has a natural sense of empathy for those who experience racism and is an advocate for positive change.
The first generation in her family to attend university, she became a journalist, anchoring the network news before shattering the glass ceiling in sports television as the first woman to host an NHL broadcast on national TV.
Sandra became a U.S. citizen in 2016 and advocates for social responsibility as a founding-year member of the Keene Immigrant and Refugee Partnership and advisor to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College.
I’m familiar with two of her books, Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery and First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great, but I didn’t realize that she has 6 more books thus far!
Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
In this thrilling and terrifying true story of the 1879 search for the North Pole, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace follow the frightening fates of the Jeannette crew as disaster strikes and the men battle to survive 2 years bound by ice. [nonfiction middle grade, ages 10 and up]
Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
In this astonishing story of the first white civil rights worker in Alabama’s bloodiest county, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace weave a heart-pounding portrait of the danger Daniels faced, the teenager whose life he saved, and how his 1965 murder changed southern justice. [nonfiction young adult, ages 12 and up]
Babe Conquers the World: The Legendary Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
Sports TV pioneer Sandra Neil Wallace’s first biographyBabe Conquers the World (co-authored with Rich Wallace) captures the personality of sports legend Babe Didrikson Zaharias and the turbulent times she challenged. [nonfiction middle grade biography, ages 9 and up]
Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace
Inspired by the true story of a racially divided town and a team who must find a way to win, Muckers delves into the rocky terrain of war, Communism, and segregation in 1950 Arizona. [nonfiction young adult, ages 12 and up]
Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace
“Sometimes a first heartbreak doesn’t involve humans.” Little Joe is about a farm boy who faces parting with the calf he loves at the fair auction. A state awards finalist and a U.S. Dept. of Ag and American Farm Bureau pick, Little Joe has been translated into 3 languages. Now in paperback and ebook editions.[middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Some of her books, like First Generation, are co-authored with her husband, Rich Wallace. There’s a lot to discover about Sandra here. Let’s get started with some questions for her.
- Tell me about your transition from ESPN sportscaster to author.
- Four of your six books are co-authored with your husband. When, why, and how did it happen and what is it like?
- From middle grade fiction to nonfiction in picture book, middle grade, and YA! Tell me about your writing journey from one genre to another and another and another…
- I didn’t expect backlash to your book, First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great, but you and Rich seemed to be in the middle of a firestorm. What are your takeaways from this experience?
- What are you working on now?
I can’t wait until October to meet Sandra IRL! Thanks for your questions on what you’d like me to ask her during our chat!
I’ll be interviewing Phil Bildner, Joyce Wan, and Sandra Neil Wallace from 3:30-4:00 pm EST on Saturday, Oct. 4th at Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival where it will be live streaming through KidLit TV’s Facebook!
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Book Lists to Teach Kids Compassion
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.