Registration is open for the 2022 Connecticut Book Awards!
When: October 23, 2022 | 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Where: Hartford Public Library
Please note that clicking the button will bring you to another site for registration.
COVID is still with us, although easing off a little, thank goodness. Did you have a favorite comfort genre to turn to when things were looking bleak? Something that lifted you away and to a different place for a while?
Yes, I was in the middle of my MFA program when COVID hit. My program depended on me reading many books. So after the library was closed, I found myself ordering books since I could no longer borrow them. But part of the requirement for the program was to read a combination of picture books, middle grade, and YA. So I read a lot of children’s books. Picture books transport me to a happy place.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from absence. This means, by not seeing things on the shelves that I deem should be there, or deem important. So I work to create those stories. I try to write about difficult topics in picture book formats. Everyone is like, SOUL FOOD SUNDAY is not a difficult topic. That is true. SOUL FOOD SUNDAY is about joy. But I have other books coming. These books deal with difficult topics. I have LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL coming from Simon and Schuster. This book is about a grief. I have THE WALK coming from Abrams Books, and that is about people walking to the polls to vote as a community. I have MISSING MOMMA coming from Abrams Books, and that is about a young girl dealing with a mother who served in the military and is suffering from PTSD. I have THE PARK coming from Abrams Books, and that is about a little boy who advocates for the humane treatment of a homeless military veteran. But I also have books about joy like FORT GOODE coming from ReyCraft Books, which is a chapter book series of friends living on a military post and the support they receive from their families.
Who made reading important to you?
My Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandaunt always read. I never saw a day go by that she didn’t have a book in her hand. She constantly read all the time. I wanted to see what were on the pages of those books and so I read.
How would you describe your books?
My books are about family, people, love, and empathy. It is about children learning to do things and embracing the people in their lives that teaches them how to be selfless. I write with intention and purpose. I write with love and adoration. Anybody that reads a book written by me, they will leave with some form of emotional impact. They will either laugh, cry, or be hungry. This is how to describe my love for writing and producing art.
Who has been the biggest influence on your work?
Mary Susan Hungerford, a counselor at the West Haven VA Hospital. She pushes me on the days I want to quit or give up on life. She challenges me to fight to be seen in the world; and to face my fears. But most importantly, she challenges me to challenge my brain and PTSD which is a daily battle. And she reminds me that bad things happen to good people all the time.
What message would you like to send to young readers?
My message is simple. I want young readers to know that anything they want to know, the answers can be found on the pages of books.
Winsome Bingham is a soul food connoisseur, master cook (at home, family reunions, and get-togethers), and a US Army war and disabled veteran. She is a teacher by trade and at heart. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education with more than 15 years of teaching experience; and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can find her writing on a deck while waiting patiently with a camera to capture a submarine shooting out of the water. She writes about real life experiences in a fictionalized setting. You can find her at binghamwrites.com.
At Granny’s, Sunday isn’t Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the greens, and priming the meat for Roscoe Ray’s grill. But just when Granny says they’re finished, her grandson makes his own contribution, sweetening this Sunday gathering—and the many more to come.
Evocatively written and vividly illustrated, this mouthwatering story is a warm celebration of tradition and coming together at a table filled with love and delicious food.