Chisa Merriweather, along with co-author Nicole White, won the #1 slot on The Gittle List for Chase-Man: How My Brother Became a Real Superhero. In her exclusive Gittle interview, she shares what she does to market Chase-Man. (Read Aviva’s review.)
How did it feel to win a spot on The Gittle List? Learning that I earned a spot on the Gittle List was an amazing feeling of accomplishment! Not only did I earn a spot I was named #1! Last year when I submitted my book it wasn’t quite ready for prime time. I’m new to writing children’s books so I wasn’t going to become discouraged. The content of my book was a story that I felt was very important to share with the world and I needed to get it RIGHT. I took advantage of the book review provided by Aviva Gittle and hired a professional editor as well as proofreader. When I submitted the book for a second time this past year I felt much more confident knowing that I did all that I could to tell my son’s story.
What is your favorite children’s book? My 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Reavy, introduced me to Shel Silverstein’s books. Every afternoon she read a poem from either A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, or Where the Sidewalk Ends. When she read The Giving Tree, it immediately became a favorite of mine. Now as a parent I can appreciate the story even more. While there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to make sure my children are happy, it’s important for them to know that material things cannot buy them happiness.
What is your favorite color? Crimson is a symbol of happiness and good fortune in many countries. It’s my absolute favorite color! I love matching it with gray scale images as the contrasting color. Crimson is also seen as a color of strength, it’s no wonder superheroes are often seen with red capes.
What do you do to market your books? Our books are often used as teaching tools. We have been invited to several elementary schools, day camps and preschools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for book readings. These readings give Chase an opportunity to show off the unique way he gets ready for the day. Then as a show and tell, his running blades and arm is passed around the room. Most importantly Chase shows them that his physical appearance may be a little different but he is still like any other 7-year-old. Our book Chase-Man: How My Brother Became a Real Superhero has recently caught the eye of Chase and CJ’s elementary school librarian and has been included on the shelves.
What was a defining moment in your life? I woke up one morning at Chase’s bedside at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was the morning after his amputations. The day before was long and exhausting! I had the chance to do a lot of thinking. The past few months were tough for both my boys, more so CJ. I was trying to figure out how to balance being there for all my boys. As a mother of 2, and one more on the way, I needed to pull myself together. So, I woke up the next day energized and ready for a new chapter.
What is the strangest job you’ve ever had? I’ve been employed since the age of 15 not by force of my parents but by choice. Like most teenagers I started off as a babysitter. Making my own money was awesome and I didn’t have to ask my parents for anything! As an undergrad, I kept at least 3-4 jobs simultaneously. While a student at West Chester University I had a pretty unique work-study job, which was in the print house. Using a special plastic cutting machine I created signs for offices, stairways, bathrooms and classrooms for the university; as well as shrink wrapped flyers. It wasn’t the most exciting job but I received print house experience not to mention money for my art supplies.
NOTE: Chase-Man was illustrated by 2-time Gittle List winner Cathy Reene. Read her exclusive interview.
Chisa Merriweather is a graphic designer from Montgomery County, PA, graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is the mother of 4 boys. In 2013, her son Chase was stricken with a near deadly strand of the flu that sent him into septic shock and ultimately led to the amputation of both feet and hands. In an effort to demonstrate the strength and resilience of children who are faced with unexpected challenges she began writing children’s books. Her first book “The Blueprint of a Superhero” is an easy read that demonstrates how Chase prepares for the day with his prosthetics. The release of “How My Brother Became a Real Superhero”, narrated by his brother CJ, is a prequel to her first book that shows how against all odds Chase becomes a real life superhero.