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‘The Hens That Were Bullied’

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 Portion of proceeds will be donated to the MS Foundation

Reviewed by Tara Mae

Author Lisa French

Children’s author Lisa French has always been inspired by the sea in particular and nature in general. Now the South Setauket resident brings us A Deep Sea Fishing I Will Go!, a follow-up to her debut book, A Fishing I Will Go! and The Hens That Were Bullied. Through rhyming verse, her stories serve as both tales and teaching tools for children ages 2 to 10. 

In A Deep Sea Fishing I Will Go!, ocean creatures such as a marlin, an octopus, and a swordfish make an appearance. Interwoven into it are details about the featured animals and other facts. 

In The Hens That Were Bullied, with her own backyard chickens as the protagonists and antagonists, French explores the damage bullying does to the victims and perpetrators. She offers insight and advice about what to do when confronted with a bully. 

I recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. French about her latest ventures and her future endeavors.

Why did you decide to start writing children’s books?

I’ve been involved in daycare my whole life; that’s what started it. I read books constantly to the children. I put down my pens and notebooks for a long time. My mom got really ill with MS; I took care of her for over thirty years. She inspired me to go forward again. 

Where do you get your inspiration?

I definitely get my inspiration from the kids — they love the books. I love making people happy. I love to fish; I go fishing a lot and the fishing books teach children about the different fish we have [in the Atlantic Ocean]. Regarding The Hens that Were Bullied, I did that book because my daughter was bullied for a long time, and two of my backyard chickens bullied the other hens. I wanted to get the message out to speak up and say something. 

Why did you decide to write a sequel to A Fishing I Will Go!?

I wrote the second book because everyone asked me after the first one, especially at the annual Ward Melville High School Fishing Club Saltwater Expo. I started working on the sequel about two and a half years ago. When COVID hit, I was able to sit down and finish both books. Words first, then drawings.

Why are your stories set in nature? 

I love nature. God gave us everything out there: land to grow fruits and vegetables, trees for oxygen … I am a nature person, one hundred percent.

What was your favorite book growing up? 

My favorite book was The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. Without a doubt, I have always loved stories of the sea. 

If you could be any creature of the sea, what would it be? 

I would definitely choose to be a dolphin; they’re beautiful, kind, wonderful creatures.

Tell us about your work with the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. 

Some of the proceeds from the sales of my books goes to the organization. I always gave to them. My mom had MS and I found out 11 years ago that I had it too. You have to think positive. 

What’s next for you? 

Nearly 30 years ago, I invented a board game for my kids to play called“Orbit.” It starts at the space station. Players have to collect all the planets, but they can fall into a black hole or be abducted by aliens, etc. It’s anybody’s game to win. After years stuck in the patent pending phase, my family pitched in to give me the money to get it made. It is being produced by the company Davidson Games. 

A Deep See Fishing I Will Go! and The Hens That Were Bullied are available online at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com.