Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Thank you for joining us for another installment in our interview series, we hope this finds you well. For this interview, we were able to catch up with author Joni Franks to talk about her MCA award-winning book series, Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush. Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush book series follows the adventures of Sagebrush, a tailless puppy who has countless adventures in her beautiful home in the Rocky Mountains. Each of the 4 books in the Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush series addresses a different timely theme. Life lessons and problem-solving techniques are solved through kindness and love. Some of the topics that have been addressed in the book series are labeling and bullying, preconceived notions about the abilities of women, homelessness, environmental issues, forest fire, powerful debris flow that follows forest fire, equality, and the lesson that all lives matter equally. Keep reading to find out more about Joni and her award-winning book series, Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush.
MCA: Hi Joni, thank you for joining us today! Congratulations on all of your Mom’s Choice Awards! The Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush books are such fun reads that are great for any animal-loving reader who enjoys tales of adventure and education. Can we first start the interview by finding out a little about the author behind such fun books?
Joni: I am a bestselling international award-winning children’s book author. I have been honored to receive 24 literary awards since 2018 for my “Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush” book collection. I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and have a passion for mountain beauty, environmental protection, and animals. My stories are inspired by my beautiful Welsh Corgi, Sagebrush. My hope is to change the world one heart at a time through the creation and publication of my books by teaching life lessons and problem-solving techniques for today’s divisive world.
MCA: That is a really beautiful mission you have! It seems you are doing just that through each of your books. Was it your passion for mountain beauty, environmental protection, and animals that inspired you to become a writer?
Joni: I was inspired to create a book series that provides a way for my message to the new generation to be heard. I tackle tough subjects such as making decisions based on kindness and respect as well as teaching life lessons addressing gender equality, environmental protection – issues that include deforestation and natural disasters like flood and forest fire and preservation of the dark skies.
MCA: What was the inspiration behind the Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush book series?
Joni: I was urged to write a book about light preservation by my friend and fellow author, Courtney Miller. Courtney is an expert in astronomy and was instrumental in our small town being the first in the U.S. to be designated as an international dark sky community, dedicated to the preservation of the night sky. The storyline in the book is a direct reflection of a personal experience that I had while living at 9200 ft. elevation in my Colorado mountain cabin. I took that idea and incorporated it into a children’s educational book about astronomy and light pollution.
MCA: Life experiences make for great inspiration. Each of the 4 books in the Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush series teaches a different lesson. Can you tell us some of the key lessons found in the series?
Joni: Follow the adventures of Sagebrush, the tailless puppy, in her Rocky Mountain journey, as she learns how light pollution disrupts the natural behavior cycles of wildlife and obscures the viewing of the constellations and the starry night skies. Distressed and saddened by this predicament, Sagebrush vows to improve this situation in her little corner of the world, by protecting and safeguarding the dark skies from light glare and becoming a glowing example of how just one can make a difference in the world.
MCA: What was the inspiration behind all the unique illustrations within the Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush series?
Joni: The images in all the “Corky Tails” books are portrayed directly as I see and envision the characters and surroundings. As an indie author, I have a distinct advantage, in that I maintain creative control of the illustration process. In “Sagebrush and the Disappearing Dark Sky,” I wanted night sky images that pop and capture the minds and hearts of the readers. I am particularly proud of the illustrations of Cygnus the Swan Star and the tiny people known as Shuns, who share their environmental wisdom with Sagebrush and the Young Miss.
MCA: The images are stunning and certainly do pop! What kind of response from readers have you received?
Joni: The responses have been so positive! Here are some examples of the reviews I have received for my books:
“With its superior artwork, this beautifully created story will attract children with its descriptive utilization of the senses while teaching how light pollution harms everyone. This includes pets and other animals, the sprites that live within a reader’s personal fairyland, and the entire universe. The story is engaging not only in the depth of its environmental concerns but also in how it keeps fantasy alive with the little people known as “Shuns.” By connecting imagination with reality, it helps children relate to what they see around them, including the night sky, and opens their minds to the possibility of other beings that may dwell in the unknown. It is a joyful read for both adults to utilize in teaching and for children to learn to love nature. The book demonstrates an insightful take on the universe via a sweet story.” – RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books
“In this sixth installment of her series, Franks continues to address environmental issues mixed with fantasy elements—such as the Shuns, wise, gnome-like creatures rescued from habitat loss—making the message less preachy. The writing nicely captures Sagebrush’s sense of wonder at the newly dark sky: “For a few mysterious moments, time seemed to stand perfectly still as a thin cloud seemed to cloak itself around the moon.” A congenial approach to encouraging awareness of and methods for protecting night skies.” – RECOMMENDED by Kirkus Reviews.
MCA: If you could ensure readers of your books walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
Joni: The power we all have to make a difference in our small corner of the world.
MCA: A short but powerful message, thank you, Joni!
You can learn more about Joni Franks and her award-winning book, Corky Tails: Tales of a Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush by visiting her MCA Shop pages.