Marisa Howard - Having a Sister is One of Life’s Most Precious Gifts

Marisa Howard - Having a Sister is One of Life’s Most Precious Gifts

Marisa Howard is a children's book author who resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two daughters. With a penchant for poetry and years of experience with aesthetics, she seeks to create beautiful stories through the eyes of a child, based off of travel and adventure. In sharing the joy of exploration with young readers, she hopes that the bonds of sisterhood shine through the short stories and illuminate how having a sister is one of life’s most precious gifts. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Sissies Adventures.

Please give us a short introduction to what Sissies Adventures is about.

The Sissies Adventure Series is a trilogy for young children that serves as an introduction to both traveling and reading. These books illustrate the joy of adventure, from the perspective of a child, while offering an educational opportunity to learn about new places. Throughout their adventures, big sissy can’t wait to show “little sissy” all the fun things to do.. from digging sandcastles and chasing iguanas, to riding gondolas in the sky. Moreover, the stories illuminate the special bond of sisterhood and how having a sister is one of life’s most precious gifts.

What inspired you to write these books? Was there something in particular that made you want to tackle this?

I was inspired to write the first story after witnessing my daughter sweetly showing her baby sister around the beach for the first time. It was a moment that I wanted to capture and conceptualize. I didn’t commit to publishing the story until the pandemic hit a year and a half later. I thought the series could be a fun way for young children to enjoy traveling via story time while the world was on lockdown.

Why is the sisterhood bond so important to you?

There is a special and unique bond that sisters have. I am fortunate enough to have a sister of my own, and I love watching the magic in my daughters’ eyes as their relationship evolves and as they explore the world together. Sisters are like built-in, lifelong best friends, and the Sissies series is a celebration of that.

What did you have the most fun with while writing these books?

I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry so writing these stories came very naturally and organically to me. I had so much fun seeing the illustrations come to life and piecing the project together. Everything from the text to the images was inspired by real life events so it was a treat to see the memories in my mind translate into tangible books that can be shared with others.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

My family and I are very involved in our local community and enjoy contributing our time and efforts to various non-profit organizations that serve children. I am also the Director of Communications of a molecular diagnostics laboratory, GeneIQ, where my husband serves as the founder and CEO. I’ve worked over the past year to pivot and rebrand our business to focus on providing PCR tests for COVID-19. Additionally, I am a former professional model, ballet teacher, and certified yoga instructor. I grew up dancing ballet and studied dance at the University of Texas.

Tell us more about the illustrations and how they came about.

Anyu Rouaux is an incredibly talented Belgian illustrator, and I shared photos of our family’s travels to Florida, Mexico, and Aspen with her to serve as inspiration for the illustrations. She captured the imagery beautifully and created artistic, scenic interpretations of the Sissies' travels and really brought each book to life in a fun and collaborative way.

How did you decide which adventures to take the sissies on?

The three books in the series are based on adventures and locations that are meaningful to my family, and that we frequently visit. We visit Vero Beach in Florida often as my husband’s family lives there, and we take several trips to various parts of Mexico and to Aspen Colorado each year.

Which book in this box set is your personal favorite and why?

If I had to choose, I’d say my favorite is Sissies At The Sea, as it was the first book that I wrote in the series. It came from a spark of inspiration and creativity while watching my daughters joyfully explore the sea for the first time together... The book is based on their adventures in Vero Beach where my husband grew up, so it’s a special location for all of us. When I wrote the story, I thought it would live maybe as a poem in our daughters’ baby books or in a small frame somewhere.

What has your experience been like so far since publishing these? What have readers' reactions been like?

I have been overwhelmingly pleased by the positive feedback and by how quickly Weeva published all three books. When I run in to people and they tell me how much their children enjoy the stories, it touches my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunity and for the support that I have received.

Your stories are told through rhyme. Why did you take this approach?

I grew up writing poetry and my mother always encouraged me to continue writing. Writing the first story in iambic pentameter wasn’t a choice, it’s just how it landed on the paper. When I wrote the 2nd and 3rd stories, I knew I intended for the stories to appeal to younger-aged children, which is why I decided to have a signature repetitive tagline. “Let’s Go- 1, 2, 3!” really seems to resonate with our young readers and it’s fun and exciting for them when they recognize it in the beginning of each book.

What are you working on right now?

After we travel to Europe, I plan on writing another series based on whatever three favorite destinations we visit.. most likely the UK, Italy, and France.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

We’re published on and are on Instagram and facebook at @sissiesadventureseries. We will have a Sissies website up and running soon!