This is Clare Virtual Book Tour, Giveaway and Author Interview

Thursday, November 4, 2021


This Is Clare
Written by Lindy Nelson
Illustrated by Ingrid Lefebvre
Ages 4+ | 38 Pages
Publisher: Mascot Kids | ISBN-13: 978-1643073606

Publisher’s Synopsis: 

Come follow a lady and her hound.
New adventures with new friends will abound.
Learn some English and verse with Lindy and Clare.
We’re in China; we hope to see you there!

Available for purchase here.  


Lindy Nelson is an American who has spent most of her adult life teaching English in China after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She enjoys arts and crafts, funny memes, eating candy, and of course, spending time with her greyhound, Clarence.


Life Is What It's Called - How is Clare similar and different to your dog Clarence?

Lindy Nelson - Clarence is Clare. I think my illustrator did a great job of making him accurate to real life with his expressions, color patterns, and even the little scar on his head. You can see pictures and videos of the real-life Clarence by checking out If I’m filling out official paperwork, I’ll write “Clarence” on it, and his ID tag says “Clarence,” but if I am just talking to him, I’ll say, “Clare, do you need to go outside?” or “Come on, Clare.” Clarence is just too long to be commonly used.

Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this story?

Lindy Nelson - I decided to write the story because I taught English in China for six years. During that time, I was in many schools, private and public, and not ONE of them had books in English that were completely free of errors. I decided to write my own book, so I’d know that I was working with material that was correct. As far as the characters and situations, those are based on our daily lives in China. The section with the hare actually happened, but the part about him stealing food from a vendor’s stall was modified. In real life, he stole some baozi from somebody’s luggage they left unattended while getting off a bus. The word bus I couldn’t make that rhyme, so it got modified.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you think kids will like most about this book?

Lindy Nelson - I think kids will most enjoy Clarence’s antics and all the fun he has. I think they’ll enjoy the art style too. I was given a choice of artists to illustrate this book. The contending ones both submitted a drawing of Clarence. I showed the pictures to my students at the time and had them put their heads down and vote on which style they liked best. In all the classes that I asked, the overwhelming majority picked Ingrid’s drawing, so I ended up choosing her to be my illustrator.

Life Is What It's Called - How has your experience teaching in China helped you to develop this story?

Lindy Nelson - If it weren’t for me teaching in China, this whole thing never would have come to be. Clarence was a Chinese slaughterhouse rescue, and had I not been in China, he would never have come into my life. I wouldn’t have decided to write the book had I not been able to access simple, accurate books in English.

Life Is What It's Called - How do you see this book being used as a teaching tool?

Lindy Nelson - One of the schools I worked at used a heavily phonics-based approach to teach English. I think there’s something to that, so I decided to incorporate that into how I wrote the book. I also think it’s helpful to have all the ending words rhyme so kids without native teachers can still figure out how to accurately pronounce the words when reading aloud.

Life Is What It's Called - Why did you decide to write this story in verse instead of prose?

Lindy Nelson - It wasn’t a conscious choice. I was sitting at my desk with nothing to do one day, and my mind drifted to my dog. I thought, “I miss Clare….” I then started to think of all the words that rhyme with Clare, and I had a whole list. I noticed how my students loved songs/stories with repetition and thought, “I can make this work!” After an hour or so, I had my first draft composed!

Life Is What It's Called - What are your next writing goals?

Lindy Nelson - I have an idea for another story about a hedgehog I had while I was in China. After that launches and does well, I’ll write a story inspired by a friend I made in China’s cat. I’ve heard that you need five books that did reasonably well on launching to just live on royalties, so I guess I need to come up with two more, but I’m sure with the time it’ll take getting the next two out, I can come up with two more good ideas.

Life Is What It's Called - What lesson will kids learn from this book?

Lindy Nelson - My book is a phonics lesson so kids will learn the “aire” sound and lots of words that contain that sound. There’s no moral to the story as I don’t think everything has to have a moral or teach a lesson. It’s okay to just have fun for the sake of having fun!

Life Is What It's Called - Do you have any supplemental materials to go along with the book?

Lindy Nelson - I’ve not made any worksheets or anything else to go with this book. I feel that because the demographic in the states would be really young kids, they should just learn to love reading and stories for what they are and not have to do homework with it. I remember as a kid initially liking a book, and then because I had to do so many worksheets/projects/reports about a said book, I ended up hating it. I don’t want that to happen with my book. Just enjoy it and have fun!

Life Is What It's Called - Why did you choose a dog as one of your main characters in the story?

Lindy Nelson - Clarence is a dog in real life, so that’s why he’s a dog in the story. If I had decided to adopt a pet that wasn’t something that I could take out for walks and adventures, I wouldn’t have gotten the ideas for the scenes in the story. As much as I love my cat, he doesn’t harass pigeons, introduce himself to people on the street, or come with me to outdoor events. Clarence does, so he’s the star of the show in this story.


Enter for a chance to win a copy of This Is Clare, along with a virtual Questions and Answers session with the author!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of This Is Clare
  • A virtual Questions and Answers session with the author via Skype
Nine (9) winners receive:
  • A copy of This Is Clare

The giveaway ends December 2, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

This Is Clare Giveaway 

This post is in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Lindy Nelson. 

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