Today’s interview with Celina Lagnado shows how you can weave environmental themes into a picture book for toddlers. Discover more as we chat to Celina.
Tell us about your book?
The book is a short story for toddlers and small kids about a little monster who loves to collect items from nature and store them in jars. Eventually he learns it is best to leave nature untouched.
The book is great for teaching themes like conservation, possessiveness and materialism, yet in a simple way that resonates with small kids. It is a straightforward story with a deeper message.
Why did you want to write this story?
We have a three-year-old and we read her dozens of book per week. After some time it’s easy to see some patterns in the types of stories and books that kids like, and we thought “hey, why don’t we write her a story that has all of the elements that she loves?”. So, it really started as a personal project that became bigger over time.
What’s been the best reaction from a reader so far?
The first time we read it to our daughter her reaction was to say “read it again”. And this went on another 5 or so times, and now is a bed-time staple! She is very picky about her books, so this was the best reaction possible.
Where do you find your inspiration?
We are not full-time authors, and life is very busy. So we find inspiration in the moments we have to ourselves: strolling through the beach, walking across a ravine, enjoying the small things in life. This resonates a lot with small kids since they seem to enjoy those little things to the fullest. If you put a small baby in a stroller under a tall tree the baby can watch the branches and leaves swaying in the wind for hours, with a smile. We lose some of that as adults, and it’s always important to bring that back.
What’s the most fun part of being an author?
Seeing the reaction on kids’ faces when reading a book you wrote is surely the most fun part! It shows you made a difference, even if in a small way.
What’s your tip for parents to encourage reading?
Try to always connect books to real life. When reading a book, comment on similar situations you encountered in real life. And when playing and walking about in the outdoors, recall the stories and lessons from the books. It’s fascinating to see how they remember the stories and apply the lessons.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
I always enjoyed children’s mystery series (a number of authors)! They were very captivating.
Celina Lagnado is one half of the Lagnado writing duo, with the other half being her husband Leo. Celina and Leo live in Toronto, Canada.
They enjoy getting outside and walking through nature, ice skating, drinking warm cups of tea and finding fun activities to do with their daughter.
And also occasionally writing a book when inspiration hits.