Urve Tamberg didn’t realize that she wanted to be a writer until a few years ago. She was side-tracked for a couple of decades to pursue a career in marketing and business development in the health care sector. But the stories she had heard from her immigrant parents about the history, people, and culture of Estonia stayed with her. She was inspired by those little-known tales of stubbornness, ingenuity, and bravery, so a few years ago she began to write historical fiction for teens. Urve lives in Oakville, Ontario with her husband, three children, and a little black dog named Shimmer.
Her first book, The Darkest Corner of the World, is inspired by true stories of the Estonian people and their struggle to survive during the Soviet and Nazi occupations during World War II.
Welcome, Urve. Please share your experience of connecting with books as a child. What positive memories do you have?
Growing up as an only child, I loved books and stories. I won’t be cliche and say that books were my only friends; they weren’t. But I was the child who went to the library on a sunny summer day. My mother constantly told me to go outside and play. I had a plan to read all the books in the library, starting with the authors whose last name started with “A.” I’m still working on that.
I’m the child of immigrant parents, and they did not read to me (shocking, I know, but I think they were too busy earning a living). Before I could read, I remember making up my own story to go along with the illustrations in the picture books and then telling that story to my mother. Looking back, it was an interesting role reversal and one that captures the universal appeal of picture books. The illustrations are integral to the story.
One of my favorite picture books was Katy Did. (This dates me, doesn’t it?)
What are your favorite aspects of sharing good books with kids?
I have three children (teenagers now), and one of my favorite activities (and theirs) was to read to them at night. There is nothing better than curling up in bed with three freshly bathed toddlers in clean jammies, having them each choose a book, and reading the books to them. Our night-time reading session always went on for quite a while. They always wanted “one more,” and that request was almost impossible to refuse.
With my oldest, when she was just a baby, I would leave a couple of board books in the crib with her, and she would “read” by the light of the night light. She never had any trouble falling asleep. Of course, once she’d fallen asleep, I’d take the books out of the crib.
That is when my love of picture books really solidified. Each picture book was a marriage between words and art. And shhhh—don’t tell anyone yet, but I do have a couple of picture books that I am working on.
Please share your thoughts on and tips for sharing good books with children.
Reading to and with children is important, especially in this age of technology and quick reading (excuse me—just have to go check my Twitter feed). We all love stories, and I think children need (and want) to be exposed to different types of stories, different styles of writing, and different characters. It helps them start to make sense of the world and exposes them to the “what ifs” in life. And you never know what topic or story will pique their curiosity. Discovering new interests is the fun part!
Check out Urve’s book, The Darkest Corner of the World.
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