Happy Dinosaur Month everyone! And a dino-sized welcome to Sophia Gholz, the author of Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter!
Jack Horner’s story is extraordinarily inspiring. Through much of his life he struggled with severe and undiagnosed dyslexia. Yet, he was so fascinated by dinosaurs, so passionate about them, he found a way to research them—at no less than Princeton University’s prestigious Museum of Natural History. Sophia Gholz and illustrator Dave Shepherd have brought Jack’s story to life in a hybrid picture book-graphic story form. It reads like an adventure “comic book” story, with suspense and tension and even its own version of Pow! and Zow!—the story’s trademark Crunch! and Swoosh! Jack even discovers his own species. It’s just incredible! Any and all kids (and adults) who love dinosaurs will be inspired by Sophia’s telling of Jack’s story.
Written by Sophia Gholz, Illustrated by Dave Shephard
When Jack Horner was a child, nothing fascinated him more than fossils–dinosaur fossils to be exact. He hunted for them at every chance he had, and dreamed of becoming a great paleontologist. But school was hard, reading was even harder, and he struggled to succeed like the other kids in his classes due to severe dyslexia. Forced to find his own way to success, Jack persevered becoming one of the world’s most famous paleontologist and immortalized in Hollywood films.
Like Jack Horner, Sophia grew up exploring outdoors—both with her ecologist father and her brothers. In her writing, she’s driven by a strong love of nature. You can see that in the topics that inspire her. In addition to Jack Horner, she has written about painter and nature-lover, Bob Ross, and conservationist, Jadav Payeng.
As a mom, Sophia loves exploring the outdoors with her kids. But she also finds plenty of time for reading, writing, visiting schools, and art—which is another of her passions. Sophia believes art of any kind inspires art. I couldn’t agree more!
Sophia joins us today from Florida, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and son, to tell us What Was on Sophia’s…
Dino Month List of Activities: Fossil hunting, baking dino-themed goodies, making art, and reading dino-themed books, of course! I have a six-year-old who absolutely loves dinosaurs. So, in our house every day is dinosaur day. But this month we’ll be celebrating even more with the release of JACK HORNER: DINOSAUR HUNTER! I’m looking forward to Skyping with some awesome elementary classes to help celebrate Dinosaur Month. I’ll also be signing books at my local bookstore, The Writer’s Block. But at home, I’m especially looking forward to using the “Create Your Own Dinosaur” activity that’s included in the back of JACK HORNER, DINOSAUR HUNTER! and fossil-hunting with my kiddos. We live in Florida and often find fossilized shark teeth and shells in our local creek beds and along the beaches. Though we haven’t found a dinosaur bone yet, we’ll keep looking!
First Contact with Jack Horner: I initially contacted Jack a little over a year before I completed this book. I was so nervous to talk to him. When I first contacted Jack, I had no idea if this book would be published, and I was honest about that. But he was excited and supportive from the beginning in any case. He completely rolled with all my emails and questions and could not have been more kind. It felt so great to be able to come to him about a year later and let him know that his story was going to be shared with children everywhere.
Favorite Dinosaurs: Oooh this is a hard one to answer! There are so many cool dinosaurs. One of my favorites, however, is an ankylosaurus. I love their armor and that they looked like a ferocious tank but were gentle herbivores that enjoyed plants.
Last Artistic Outing: Our neighborhood has a local town center that’s filled with cool architecture and sculptures. We recently walked around the area and checked out the new sculpture features and interesting exterior designs. It was wonderful!
Writing Desk: We moved into a new house a year ago this month. Actually, it will have been exactly one year next week! It’s wild how the time flies. Prior to this, my desk was shoved in a corner in a busy section of our house. In our new house, however, I have my own office and it is such a treat! That said, I find that I often take my laptop out to the busy areas of the house to write in the middle of the chaos. Ha! Go figure.
Mind Today: Work! I try to dedicate as much of a full day as I can to writing or writing-related work M-F. I have projects in the pipeline that need attention, a couple new manuscripts that I’m polishing (hopefully this week), and a variety of “busy-work” related things to attend to. Aside from work, I’m a mom. So, I’ve always got the kiddos on my mind as well. But I will say this week is a wee bit different—it’s my birthday week! Hooray! I love birthdays and am grateful for every single one that I’m able to celebrate. So, I’ll also be taking some time off this week to pause and reflect. It’s a birthday tradition of mine.
An early Happy Birthday, Sophia! Thank you for not only introducing me to Jack Horner, but also to the ankylosaurus. What a sweetheart! And I love, love, love that you reached out to Jack. I noticed that the two of you now chat on Instagram, which is especially cool.
You can stay in contact with Sophia Gholz at sophiagholz.com, on Twitter @sophiagholz, on Facebook @sophiagholzauthor, and on Instagram @sophiagholz.
If you would like to order Jack Horner: Dinosaur Hunter, click on the book below.
Join us again on October 16, Sweetest Day, when Lindsay Bonilla will talk to us about her adorable book I Love You with All of My Hearts.
You’ll also want to stay tuned for later in the month when Aimée Sicuro will be giving us the inside story on her gorgeous illustrations and telling us what inspired her most when she first read The Stuff Between the Stars.
If you would like to know more about me and my writing, please visit sandranickel.com.
Thank you so much, Donna!
Thank you, Donna!
What a clever concept, presenting Jack Horner’s story in the hybrid graphic novel format! Thank you for the interview!
I really loved the graphic approach too! Thanks for stopping by, Lyn!
Thank you, Lyn! I absolutely loved what Dave Shephard and the art team at Sleeping Bear did with this book.
I love dinosaurs!!
You’ll love Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter too!
Me, too! Thanks for reading!