#MondayInterview: Award-Winning Author Angela Dalton

Hi everyone, please help me welcome Angela Dalton to the MultiCulturalism Rocks! team!

Angela, it is a joy and honor to interview you. Thank you for joining me today, and congratulations on the publication of your first picture book, If You Look Up to the Sky, and on all the awards and accolades it has received so far, including being one of Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2018!

Multiculturalism Rocks! (Nathalie Mvondo for MCR): Please tell us a little bit about your background, prior to being an author.

Angela Dalton,
Author of If You Look Up to the Sky

Angela Dalton: Prior to becoming an author, I was a content strategist and digital producer; I’ve worked on projects for brands that span from a digital story series for Kix cereal to online games for television networks like Cartoon Network. It’s interesting to look back on my career and realize that much of my work centered around content for children. I feel like the universe was getting me ready to take the leap into children’s literature.

MCR: Wow! There is something to be said here about children and their early aspirations. Thank you for sharing. What inspired you to write, and specifically to write a picture book?

Angela Dalton: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I loved writing plays and then recruiting neighborhood kids to put them on for the adults. I think I’ve always been drawn to the intricate nature of words and how to visualize them – it’s what draws me to technology and digital media. And, there’s just an incredible satisfaction I feel seeing joy in a child’s face when you read that magical page that resonates with them. There’s nothing like it.

MCR: Tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind IF YOU LOOK UP TO THE SKY.

If You Look Up to the Sky, by Angela Dalton

The story was inspired by something my great-grandmother said to me when I was very young. I was fascinated by how the moon appeared to be following me and she said, “If you’re feeling lost and you see the moon peeking through the clouds, just know you are exactly where you are meant to be.” I think that simple statement began my love for the sky and cosmos. When I moved to Oakland, CA, from Minneapolis, MN, her words came back to me. I was in this new city, feeling a little lost and this sentiment gave me some comfort. I began thinking about how the different sky- and nighttime elements can be very comforting, especially when you’re a child. Everything just kind of came to me, so I was able to sit down and write the manuscript in two days.

MCR: That is so amazing! You chose to self-publish your first book, and the result is stellar. What was the appeal about self-publishing, and what are your thoughts regarding traditional publishing as well?

Angela Dalton: Thank you! Being this was my first attempt publishing a children’s book, I knew pretty quickly that I had no idea what I was doing. Through the help of friends, I was able to connect with and interview five self-published authors and five traditionally published authors. Both had their pros and cons; but, being this had personal family ties I felt that self-publishing was the better choice. Visually, it was very clear in my head how I wanted it to look and you don’t really have creative control if you publish traditionally. However, I also want to be very transparent – I worked with Beaver’s Pond Press to publish the book, so I wasn’t doing it by myself. It also was a lot of work to promote and distribute the book myself, and I don’t think I would have been as successful had I not had a background in marketing and a great network. I think that’s really important for anyone considering self-publishing to understand.

I’m currently trying the traditional publishing for new stories I’ve written. I would love to work with an editorial team at a publishing house, but for this one I think self-publishing was the right choice.

Editorial Note: Beaver’s Pond Press is a hybrid publishing company based in Edina, Minnesota that publishes independent authors and artists. Source: Wikipedia

MCR: Do you have a literary agent, and if not, are you interested in working with one?

Angela Dalton: I’m definitely open to it. As much as I loved the experience I had with If You Look Up to the Sky, I very much want this to be a career. I would welcome the guidance of someone who knows what they’re doing – I still have so much to learn!

MCR: Any agent would be very lucky to work with you. What is a children’s book, beside your own, that you would love to see adapted on the big screen?


Angela Dalton: I would love to see Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison turned into a series! I think it would be so incredible if each of the women featured had a 30-minute segment that focused on their childhood and those defining moments that made them the leader they became. Girls of color need to see that they, too, can be a leader. Whoever develops and produces this would get ALL OF MY MONEY! M

MCR: This is such a great suggestion, and I cannot wait to see it on screen.

Thank you so much for this interview, Angela, and welcome aboard! MCR Family, I am excited to announce that Angela offered to join Multiculturalism Rocks! as a contributor. Please help me in welcoming her, and look forward to reviews on some of her favorite books!

For more information on Angela Dalton and to support her work, see:

o Her website

o Her Facebook page

o Twitter

Good News: IF YOU LOOK UP TO THE SKY, a Children’s Book for Girls of Color, Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018

If You Look Up to the Sky by Angela Dalton aims to diversify children’s literature and show young girls of color they deserve a place in this world.

Credit: Angela Dalton

(Oakland, CA) December 17, 2018 — Angela Dalton’s children’s book If You Look Up to the Sky was today named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018.

The book was written to provide young girls of color with a sense of hope and peace — and to remind them they, too, deserve a place in this world.

“In this stunning picture book debut from Dalton, strikingly painted by veteran illustrator Sikorskaia (Big Cat, Little Fox, 2018, etc.), a girl sees the wisdom in her grandmother’s words across a multitude of beautiful skyscapes.” – Kirkus Review

Published in the summer of 2017, If You Look Up to the Sky has since taken the children’s literature world by storm, receiving the following awards and recognition:

● 2018 Ben Franklin Gold for Best New Voice in Children’s/YA
● 2018 Ben Franklin Silver award for Children’s Book 4 to 7
● 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold for Children’s Book 7 & Under
● Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2018
● Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Told by a grandmother to her grandchild, If You Look Up to the Sky is about the power of everlasting love and the ways the sky connects us through good times and bad. It offers a child comfort in knowing that you never need to be afraid…if you look up to the sky.

The inspiration came from Dalton’s own great-grandmother, Ma Brady. “It was important to me to write a story featuring a strong, main character who girls of color can see themselves and believe in. There is such a lack of diversity in children’s literature, especially for girls of color. It’s incredibly disappointing. But instead of being frustrated by it, I published this book to do something about it.”

Reviews
“Fosters familial connection and resilience; told in luxurious prose with illustrations worth framing.” – Kirkus Review (starred review) 

Writing with tenderness and warmth, Dalton emphasizes that that there is comfort to be found in both the memories of lost loved ones and in the great expanse of the universe. – BookLife

“This book blew me away, truly! Not only are the words beautifully written, the illustrations are outstanding! If You Look Up to the Sky is definitely my new favorite bedtime book to read with my kids.” – Charnaie Gordon, Here Wee Read

“[If You Look Up to the Sky] inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into the world as they grow, explore, and begin to create hopes and dreams for themselves.” – Nicole Caudle, Grits and Grace Kids Lit

First time author Angela Dalton self-published If You Look Up to the Sky with Beaver’s Pond Press in her hometown of Edina, MN. Margarita Sikorskaia created the stunning illustrations.

If You Look Up to the Sky is available through Itasca Distribution and Amazon.com, as well as City Lights Booksellers (San Francisco), Walden Pond Books (Oakland), and to a bookseller near you via IndieBound.org.

About Angela Dalton
Angela Dalton was once a producer of websites, video games, and other cool things. She now spends her time writing stories that the universe inspires her to share. Midwestern born and raised, she currently lives in Oakland, California with her husband and son. If You Look Up to the Sky is her first children’s book. Learn more about her at angeladalton.com.

PS: There’s still time to offer this beautiful books as a Christmas gift for the little girls in your life! – Nathalie