An Interview with Janie Lancaster: Books on Line

Oct 21, 2011 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

Janie, I understand that you have a few new educational books available for iPad. Tell us about them.

Julie & The Lost Fairy Tale—Teacher’s Edition (Middle Grade—Historical, Realistic Fiction) Two Editions: one for students; the other for teachers.

The story is a modern classic that young and old alike enjoy reading. It is a book that makes you feel really good, but at the same time has historical information, lots of suspense, intrigue, and surprises. Teachers love the story for its ease of use in the classroom.

Edwina Beena’s Polka Dot Day (Picture Book ages 5-8) Edwina Beena stimulates a sense of wonder and the imagination. With just a light touch on an iPad a child’s index finger and thumb turn into a magnifying glass so they can explore, along with Edwina Beena, her delightful polka dot world. The book combines the wonders of modern technology with one of the most effective ways to educate our children—reading the written page. (Available in Spanish and English soon Japanese)

(Now, New and Noteworthy on iBooks!)

When Silence Reigns—Help Yourself Through Expressive/Therapeutic Writing

The author of this book reveals dark secrets and let’s you into her heart and soul as she candidly shares her therapeutic writing journey. Writing that gradually reveals details of cumulative traumatic events that began when Janie was a small, unwanted child. You will see how her poetry, written by left and right brain communication, gave voice to a silenced child and tells a story like prose could never do.

Emily—Out Of My Mother’s Darkness (Available Soon)

Join Emily as she opens a forbidden cedar chest, unlocks a Chinese box and discovers dark secrets. Share in her struggle to climb out of her mother’s darkness. (Discussion Guidelines Included)

2) How did this idea come about?

I read about iPads being used in classrooms and Apples Author’s Partner Program and the wheels began to turn. I love the freedom of eBooks to create and see my work come to life in full color and to have instant gratification rather than wait years to see your work in print.

3) Can you tell us a little bit about Julie & The Lost Fairy Tale?

The Julie story has had great success in classrooms and is loved by teachers and students. The

25 pages of lesson plans were a result of the story running as a serial in Newspapers In

Education nationwide. I had home school and classroom teachers in mind when I put the teachers edition together. It is great to be able to put the drawings and historical photos together and not have to worry about the cost of color printing.

4) What are you trying to accomplish with these books?

My goal is to make my books available at a reasonable cost for both individuals and teachers. I’d like to see the Julie book become a classroom item for schools nationwide, the Emily book used to help tweens and teens to get in touch with and hold onto their true selves and “When Silence Reigns” available for every counselor to give them the tools and writing samples to help stimulate expressive, therapeutic writing. I want Edwina Beena to enter classrooms and spark creativity and imaginations in our stressed out kids.


5) Tell us about Emily and what she is dealing with…

Emily is dealing with a fear of disappearing and of loosing her true self. I wrote this autobiographical, fictional book during a period of hypergraphic writing. The book of Emily reconnected me with the little girl who suffered intense emotional pain at the hands of a mother and an unenlightened generation. The character of Emily was the voice of my silenced child—a voice that would surface like a submarine—a submarine I tried to sink. Discussion guidelines are also included for book clubs and classroom use.

6) What is this Polka Dot Day? Is it anything like Hawaiian Shirt Day?

No, not like Hawaiian Shirt Day. But, I guess after reading the book you’ll see lot of polka dot clothes and polka dot characters come to life in classrooms. Maybe even some polka dot parades.


I wrote this story after doing research on trauma and recovery and thought about how the brains of our children, including myself as a child, are molded by what they read and see. I realized how much a sense of wonder and the imagination helped me as a child to cope with cumulative traumas. And when I took myself back in time I found a small girl having—A Polka Dot Day.

Activities for Fun and Learning with Edwina Beena:

After reading the book, have your kids find and describe the many different colors of polka dots found by Edwina Beena. Have them pick their favorite colors. Cut out circles, add feet and hands and have your kids draw in the face to create their own polka dot characters. Then have them make up a story about their polka dot character. Make polka dot hats or put polka dots on clothes or poster boards and then have a polka dot parade. Making a polka dot collage can be fun too.

7) How can school counselors use these books?

Emily—Out of My Mother’s Darkness: My journey of creative/therapeutic writing helped me to discover and strengthen my identity. The identity of the right-brained creative person I was meant to be. My hope is that it will inspire others to get in touch with and find their true selves, teens and adults alike. I also hope the book can be used for suicide prevention.

When Silence Reigns is a powerful tool to show how to do therapeutic writing. My hope is that trauma victims will be helped to heal an injured mind through a therapeutic writing path. The book is a result of eight years of hard work and research on trauma and recovery. Inside there are my writing samples, charts as well as therapeutic poetry that can be used to stimulate expressive/therapeutic writing. Readers will benefit from the real depth of understanding on healing an injured mind and yet enjoy the simplicity of uncluttered information in this book.

8) Could you tell us about a chapter in a book that you did regarding reading?

Yes. I wrote a chapter for Reading in 2010; A Comprehensive Review of a Changing Field on How Fairy Tales Open the Mind of A Child. It was a great privilege to be a part of such a wonderful tool for educators. When I got the book and read it, I was amazed at the work, insight and research that went into its content. The book includes many fields of educating including information about the Deaf.

9) What have I neglected to ask?

How will eBooks open doors for teachers and authors?

Many schools are looking for ways to use iPads in classrooms and authors are looking for ways to connect with kids. I plan to use Skype or FaceTime to visit my readers in classrooms worldwide.

Also my iBooks will soon be available in 26 countries.

Please visit me at:

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