Friday, August 13, 2010
The Dragon and the Turtle is written by mother-daughter team Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark. How did you collaborate to write this book? Can you tell us a little about the process?
The basic story concept came from a bedtime story I, Evangeline, told my then three-year-old son. I shared it with Mom, Donita, and she wrote the first draft, adding the character of Padraig the dragon. It then bounced back and forth between our laptops. We’d each read it, make changes and suggestions then send it back. Later on in the process, we’d sit in the same room with our laptops and read it aloud to each other, making changes as we went. When I look at the story now, I honestly can’t say which words are mine and which are Mom’s. It has melded into our story.
Donita, you’ve written the bestselling fantasy series The Dragonkeeper Chronicles and the follow-up series Chiril Dragon Chronicles. Tell us what made you decide to branch out into children’s books.
I’ve always loved picture books. You should see my collection: two seven foot bookcases! And I’ve always dreamed of writing picture books. I took every “kiddy lit” course I could find in college. I took the Institute of Children’s Literature course through the mail. I’ve read thousands of books to thousands of children. (Really. No exaggeration.) And I’ve finally done it, thanks to my daughter and editor.
Evangeline, your bio states that you grew up living and breathing good stories. What does that statement mean?
Mom also made up stories for us and incorporated the fictional characters into our day. She had a series of stories about three naughty monkeys who were always making trouble for Evangeline and Case, my brother. More than once those monkeys were blamed for something Case or I had done.
Donita adds, “They spent a lot of time in time-out.”
Aside from the well-known educational benefits of reading to your children, what are some advantages of having story time before bed?
I so agree. I bought books for each of my grandchildren and took them to the hospital the day they were born. We started reading to them that day. The Dragon and the Turtle focuses on friendship. What are some ways that Roger and Padraig demonstrate good friendship skills?
Padraig puts aside his search for a snack to help Roger who is lost. Roger invites Padraig into his pirate game. Both boys share their interests and hobbies with each other, and both boys are open to the differences between them.
How can parents help their children put these skills into practice?
We’ve included a parent page in the back of the book with suggestions for applying the lessons learned in The Dragon and the Turtle. Talking about concrete ways to be a good friend and then putting those plans into action can be fun and rewarding for little ones.
Will Roger and Padraig have any more adventures?
Yes! The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari comes out January of 2011 from Waterbrook Press.
Terrific. Can you give us a sneak peek into that adventure?
You might be able to guess from the title, but there are lots of animals involved, and Roger and Padraig will have to rely on their friendship as they learn a lesson about courage.
Where can readers find you online?
We’re very excited about our new Dragon and Turtle website. http://www.dragonandturtle.com/
It’s full of fun games, puzzles, crafts, and recipes and is meant to be interactive. Visitors can send their own contributions to our webmaster, and, just like all proud parents, we’ll display their artwork on our online “fridge.”
For more on Donita’s books and doings, check her website. http://www.donitakpaul.com/
Evangeline writes a humorous blog for women who don’t have time to breathe in and breathe out. You can find it at http://www.breathenbreatheout.blogspot.com/
Thank you, Donita and Evangeline, for this wonderful look into the world of Roger and Padraig.
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