Interview with Author Dana Gambardella!


Dana Gambardella

Please help me welcome author Dana Gambardella to Jemsbooks Blog Segment of Interview an Author.

Hi Dana, it’s great to see you again. Dana and I met at the recent N.E. Authors Expo.

The floor is all yours, Dana.

1. When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

There is an author in all of us. Regardless if your work is published traditionally or through self-publication, you have years of journals tucked away in the attic, or you pride yourself in composing monthly newsletters to colleagues to boost morale and culture, you are an author. Think about it. We own every piece we write. It’s a voice, unique to our livelihood and passions, put down on paper with an intended purpose.

My earliest interest in writing was coupled with an interest to read when I was very young. I always remember having a book in my hand and a pen in my pocket. I often wrote poems and journaled to process different stages and experiences I had from childhood to adulthood.

My interest in writing and children’s literature never went away. Definitely a legitimate reason why I own hundreds of children’s books to date! I have also been a Reading Specialist in Rhode Island’s public schools for 20 years which also supports my book addiction. So many books, so little time. The struggle is real!

After completing my Masters in Literacy at Providence College in 2002 and establishing a career as a Reading Specialist, I continued to move forward with my interest in becoming a published children’s author when I was accepted into the Institute of Children’s Literature in CT in 2006 where I worked with a mentor to hone my craft. Looking back, I realize how extremely fortunate I have been with literacy mentors throughout high school, college, and beyond. Most recently, my professional learning network. These mentors have shaped and continue to shape me into the literacy advocate, educator, writer, and thinker I am today, and will be tomorrow- always embracing literacy, living to learn, and loving my process.

jjspina: I think if we are interested in books at a young age it shapes our future as adults as it has yours.

2. What process do you need in order to write?


Time supports my writing process. I chuckle because it seems so obvious, right? It’s more than just time in a day though. With time, I am able to read, reflect, write, revise, and repeat. I assure you this is not a hair coloring routine! It’s not just about having time to write, but the freedom to explore and embrace my unique processes to do so.  I refer to them as my “high fives” because upon completion of that process, I just want to celebrate! I must say that I actually value the revision process the most and love how clearer ideas and communication are born as a result.

jjspina: Time is such a fleeting thing. I wish we could stop it when we need time to complete a task.

3. How did you come up with ideas for your stories?

Mama Bear’s Magic was one of the first stories I wrote. I always had a fondness for bears. Who did not grow up loving Goldilocks and The Three Bears? Even my choice in literature as a young child relished in stories that embraced process – my key mission today for helping readers develop and secure a lifelong love of story, including their own story. Plus, I had a stuffed Paddington Bear that never left my side. These loving childhood memories contributed to developing my “beary” own characters.

The ideas in Grandma’s House are real memories that are still with me today. I didn’t realize how heightened my senses were until I put down into print the tastes, smells, sounds, and feelings I remembered from Grandma’s House and how those senses play a pivotal role in securing my most precious childhood memories 30 years later.

jjspina: Your books sound delightful, Dana! You’re right, who doesn’t love bears! Great idea to save those precious memories of Grandma in a book.

4. What projects are you currently working on?

I feel very fortunate to have my work in education align so nicely to my work as an author. I am currently enjoying the journey as a children’s author since publication on New Year’s Day 2018. While continuing to spread my book joy and connect with young readers in various communities, I am currently working on establishing a blog that celebrates childhood and adult experiences that uniquely shape individuals’ appreciation for their own literacy process and story. Stay tuned!

jjspina: Good luck with your blog. I think you are going to love blogging.

5. What hobbies do you have when you are not writing?

My paternal grandmother who is memorialized in my story, Grandma’s House, instilled in me another passion – cooking. How do Italians communicate? With food, of course! I learned early on that cooking authentic Italian cuisine always meant from scratch with lots of love and grated pecorino romano! As I got older, my cooking interests developed, as well as my pallette. I now enjoy figuring out the ingredients to a delicious meal from any of Rhode Island’s many Italian eateries and then replicating the recipe at home. Hmmmm… now that I think of it, being a food critic could definitely be a savoury profession.

It’s easy to see how food and literacy both became intertwined for me early on, and reading was not just an independent activity, but also a social act that connected me with people and ignited the communication of ideas and interests.

I can honestly say that if I’m reading, writing, or cooking for family, Bruno, my boxer, is close by. If I’m not reading, writing or cooking, he’s still there. I am a devout boxer mom and lover of dogs. Bruno is my second boxer. My first boxer, Bella, passed away in 2011. Bruno recently turned 6 years old and I am thankful for the comfort and joy he has brought to not only me, but to the family and friends he refers to as his Grammy, Grampy, Uncles and Aunties, of course. I feel that dogs can teach us so much about the human spirit and an individual’s ability to be compassionate, especially if unable to do so with words. Dogs can help children and adults of all ages grow in their capacity to love, care and serve others.

jjspina: Yes, I agree about food. When I think of my grandmother I think of food she used to cook that I enjoyed. Bruno looks sweet.

6. What is your target audience for your book?

Mama Bear’s Magic – Children Ages 3-8, Parents and Educators

  • Relatable to parents and children
  • Humor engages young readers and entices them to read more
  • Encourages the importance of independent self-care and hygiene
  • Highlights the bond between mother and child
  • Showcases older siblings as role models
  • Appropriate mentor text to support health education delivered by nurses and educators
  • The perfect gift for mothers-to-be and/or adding to a child’s bookshelf

Grandma’s House – Children Ages 6-9, Older Children and Teens, Parents and Grandparents, Educators

  • The character’s thoughts and actions elicit emotion in readers of all ages
  • Encourages children to reflect on their own process and how experiences shape them
  • As a mentor text, supports educators with cross-curricular connections, i.e. the five senses, sensory imagery, memoir and descriptive writing, and social emotional learning discussions.
  • A Read Aloud for all ages
  • The perfect gift to honor a Grandmother’s birthday and/or National Grandparents Day

jjspina: Your books look delightful.

7. Please share your books with us and a synopsis of each.

I currently have two children’s books available:

Mama Bear’s Magic by Dana Gambardella

Delight in Mama Bear’s Magic as Tiny Bear realizes that bath time can actually  be “beary” fun! This humorous, truth-telling look at bath time illustrates how Tiny Bear overcomes his apprehension for the bath because of Brother Bear’s modeling and Mama Bear’s clever approach. It’s like magic!

Mama Bear embraces Tiny Bear’s process as he discovers that bathing is an enjoyable, healthy practice. The bright illustrations capture the heart of the story and its readers.

Grandma’s House by Dana Gambardella

Savor the sounds, tastes, smells and feelings that come to life only at Grandma’s House – a memoir that transcends time and cultures.

The book cover and illustrations throughout the story replicate the house that still stands in Providence, RI today, as well as the items in the home of the author’s favorite childhood place – Grandma’s house. A series of vivid memories come alive through the light, impressionistic watercolor techniques on each page that lend itself to the story’s feeling of nostalgia for readers of all ages.

The story comes full circle, capturing how the author processes her childhood experiences in order to discover, as an adult, that her senses, thankfully, keep her cherished memories alive forever.

jjspina: These are lovely books to add to children’s libraries for fun-time reading any time.

8. Please share your links and where to purchase your books.

My books can be easily purchased from Literacy Chef Publishing, LLC –

For purchases, public speaking or private book events, press or publicity inquiries, please email or call (401) 375 – BOOK.

Follow @LiteracyChef on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to share in my passion for childhood literacy and to receive information on author events and giveaways.

#EmbraceLiteracy #LiveToLearn and #LoveYourProcess

Thank you, Dana, for coming today to share your books and a little about yourself. It was a pleasure to spend time with you again. I wish you much success with your books. Now that you are part of Jemsbooks Blog family free free to come back again to share new releases.

Thank you, readers, for stopping by to read about author Dana Gambardella. I hope you will check out her books and links above.


Reading is good for your health. Please remember to give some love to authors by reviewing their books wherever you purchased them. We authors will love you for doing them.

Blessings & Hugs!


About jjspina

Janice is an multi-award-winning author with 39 books: 19 children's books for PS-Gr 4, 12 middle-grade/preteen, two young adult books, written under Janice Spina, and 5 novels, and a short story collection written under J.E. Spina. She is also a writer of poetry, blogger, avid reader, reviewer and a copy editor. Janice has always loved writing and started very young writing poetry, then stories. Her books have received 31 Book Awards and a few finalists awards. All Janice's books are available on, Kindle, B&N and other online book sites. One of her sports' poems was published in The Lawrence Eagle Tribune in October of 2008. She is currently working on book 2 of a YA fantasy series. There will be six books in all in this series. She hopes to work on a series of four books in a crime/mystery genre that will be offsprings of her thriller, Hunting Mariah. There are books in the works about an angel and another about a dog for ages 17+. Her hobbies are crocheting, walking to keep fit, hula hooping, tap dancing, going to the movies with her husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Janice loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. Sign up on her blog for a copy of her newsletters under Contact Me. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband who is her illustrator and cover creator.
This entry was posted in author interview, books, children's books, new books, Reading, Writing, Writing, book reviews and publishing, poetry, children's books, YA and novels and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Interview with Author Dana Gambardella!

  1. Such a nice interview. So interesting to read about Dana Gambardella. Mama Bear’s Magic and Grandma’s House sound really great. Dana, you have a lot going for you – best wishes for continued success!

  2. David Liscio says:

    A wonderful interview with an interesting author and foodie. Taking note of the sights and smells (and tastes, of course) inside grandma’s house seems like a fitting classroom lesson for elementary school kids. Maybe more teachers should read the book and develop a lesson from it. Send the kids home with this idea and let them report back.

    • jjspina says:

      Thanks, David, for your kind comments on Dana’s post. Happy to see you dropping by. Hugs

    • literacychef says:

      Great ideas, David! Thank you! I would really enjoy compiling a resource for teachers using my story! Grandma’s House ties wonderfully to the five senses and descriptive and memoir writing.

  3. Reblogged this on DSM Publications and commented:
    Check out this interview with author Dana Gambardella as featured in this post from Jem’s Books blog.

  4. A lovely interview, Janice. I am pleased to meet Dana and learn about her children’s books.

  5. Jennie says:

    Terrific interview, Janice!

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