Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Johnny Ray Moore is a poet and children’s author with five books in print. His books are: HOWIE HAS A STOMACHACHE (in English and Spanish), published by Seedling Publications, Inc.; A LEAF, published by Seedling Publications, Inc.; THE STORY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., published by Candy Cane Press (an imprint of Ideals Publications); and, MEET MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., published by Ideals Children’s Books.

Johnny is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Johnny lives in Raleigh, NC with his lovely wife and three daughters.


Martin Luther King, Jr. is known as the man who brought an end to segregation in America. From the beginning, Martin was a boy obsessed with reading; a brilliant student who skipped two grades; a Christian minister who organized a boycott against segregated buses; a motivated speaker who delivered a timeless speech at the Lincoln Memorial; and, a blessed American whose birthday is now a national holiday.

MEET MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. is only an introduction to this great man and the many things he accomplished. Furthermore, here is a way for our youth to MEET MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

What I would like for readers to take away from my book, MEET MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., is that Martin Luther King, Jr. devoted his life to gaining equal rights for men and women of all nationalities. And, he gave his life for what he believed.

What is your favorite scene from your book?

My favorite scene from MEET MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. is Martin delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial to more than 250,000 people.

Why did you elect to write for children?

I elected to write for children because they are so eager, curious and spontaneous in their efforts to learn. And, I felt that I could instill in them good and timeless principles for making life better.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that Martin Luther King, Jr. was surely ordained by God to lead African-Americans in a quest for equality and a better life for that time and for generations to come.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I wish other non-writers would understand that writing is a serious and thought-provoking profession. And, that being true to one’s self; hard committed work; and persistence enable a writer to get the recognition he or she deserves.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another children’s book writer?

I have learned from another children’s book writer that writing is more of REWRITING than anything else. And, I make it a point to rewrite a manuscript, continuously, within reason, if my doing so will make the manuscript better.

What is the toughest test you’ve faced as a writer?

The toughest test I’ve faced as a writer and I continue to face as a writer is making time to write. This is due to my being a husband; a father to 3 lovely daughters; working a fulltime job; and, just staying current on the properties of good, wholesome living.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Readers would be surprised to know that I fantasize about being a cowboy living on my very own small ranch, complete with a few miniature horses and a few miniature cattle, plus, a few crops to tend.

What are three things you wish you had known before you reached where you are now?

Three things I wish I had known (as a poet and children’s author) before reaching where I am now are: I wish I had known to be open to different genres of writing; I wish I had known not to ever take any of my ideas for granted; and, I wish I had known that I must BELIEVE, totally, in my GOD-GIVEN, writing talent.

How do you reach new readers?

I reach new readers by familiarizing myself with what they enjoy reading. Especially, if they enjoy the genres in which I write. If new readers are interested in some of the books I have written, then, I go beyond the call of duty as a poet and children’s author in presenting to them my very best, and never anything less.

Can you give us five children’s book authors you admire?

Five children’s book authors I admire are Julius Lester (author of TO BE A SLAVE); Eleanora E. Tate (author of CELESTE’S HARLEM RENAISSANCE); Kelly Starling Lyons (author of ONE MILLION MEN AND ME); Thacher Hurd (author of MAMA DON’T ALLOW); and, Sandra Boynton (author of BARNYARD DANCE!).

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased), who would you invite and why?

I would invite Julius Lester, so we could discuss BLACK COWBOY WILD HORSES (A True Story).

I would invite Dr. Seuss, so we could discuss how he managed to create some of the interesting characters that he wrote about in his many books.

And, I would invite Patricia MacLachlan, so we could discuss her timeless book, SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer?

One “DO” for aspiring children’s book writers is to take full advantage of the flow of endless ideas that are forever around you.

One “DON’T” for aspiring children’s book writers is don’t ever become complacent in regards to your writing ability. The glass must always appear HALF-FULL to you and never HALF-EMPTY. YOU MUST DO YOUR BEST WRITING, ALWAYS.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Readers can contact me by emailing me at JMOORE92591@NC.RR.COM; or, by calling and leaving me a message at 919-790-2253.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Yes. My next book to be released in 2009 is BUT STILL, WE DREAM (a novel in verse). Here are two samples from the mentioned book:

a barbed wire fence.
We have very little.
No swing, no fancy bikes,
Not even wood for a treehouse.
The most we have (for now) are
dreams of a better life.
Our landlord has it all.
A brick house, new cars,
a motorcycle, a truck.
All outside the barbed wire fence.
But still, we dream our dreams
and keep telling one another
that we can be proud of who we are
and still have something.

I’m destined to be oh so smart
I nurture all the blessed good I can
that ‘s flowing so freely within my heart.
So don’t offer me gold or fancy cars
That stuff simply come and go
I’m banking on things I’ve surely learned
And, daring my mind to, endlessly, grow…


LaShaunda said...


Thanks for the interview. Can I join you in that dinner. It would probably have some great conversations.

Many blessings to you.

Jessica Nelson said...

I've read one of MLK Jr's letters and it was incredibly powerful. He's been one of my heroes since elementary school.

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Hi Johnny, nice interview. Can you tell me the age group your books are geared towards? Continued blessings.

Kelly said...

Great interview! I enjoyed reading about Johnny. My daughter loves his books. Thanks for featuring him.

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