Today we’re talking to Dori Durbin. Dori's gorgeous book Little Cat Needs Space addresses sibling relationships in a colourful and entertaining way. Find out her unique inspiration in our interview.
Tell us about your book?
Hi! My name is Dori Durbin. I’m the author and illustrator of the book, Little Cat Needs Space. In my story, Little Cat desires to have a calm, quiet, cozy place. Whereas her counterpart, Dog wants nothing more than to be exuberant and completely in her space. The story is about how Little Cat tries to get away from Dog... and has many, many plans, and in the end, she realizes the best place is the closest and dearest to her …with Dog.
Why did you want to write this story?
The reason I wrote this story, and in part, the inspiration for it, was based on our own cat and our dog. We have a small black cat and a great dane. And the two of them together make me think of siblings. it made me think about how siblings need that same lesson. They need to understand how to love and respect each other, to forgive each other, and when its necessary, how to ask for the space that they need. in the end, it’s better for everyone to be able to say what it is that you need.
What's been the best reaction from a reader so far?
So, the best reaction from my book so far, was actually at a school visit. I had all the kids sitting around me and I asked -- before even reading the story, “Do any of you have pets?” And of course, hands shot up and they all had stories that they wanted to share. (Very cute!) Finally, the best reaction of all was when I asked what it was that Little Cat really needed and one little girl shouted, “She needs a UNICORN!”
Where do you find your inspiration?
Where do I find my inspiration? I am actually a people watcher anywhere we go. Oftentimes, it’s from watching people, collaborating with other authors, and then finally my own experiences with my own childhood and/or my children's childhood that truly inspires me.
What's the most fun part of being an author?
One fun thing to do as an author is to watch one little idea on a sticky note add up over time into a pack of sticky notes... and those sticky notes to join together … to make a line of sticky notes that tell a story… and that story to grow into an actual book that you can hold in your hands. And finally, to watch somebody pick that book up, to read it, and to say, “I REALLY like this book.” That is a GREAT part of being an author.
What's your tip for parents to encourage reading?
I would say that parents are an integral part of helping kids get be excited about reading. My parents were avid readers and are still. They would take a childrens book story and give the characters squeaky voices or deep voices and they would read to us using elaborate gestures. I would suggest doing the same thing… and if the story happens to have an onomatopoeia that goes “POW-BOOM-WHAM-WHIM-ZING” then let the kids come up with their own sounds. When you get to those parts, point to them and encourage the kids to read them to you.
What’s an activity parents can do with their kids?
What activities can kids do with books and parents help them? Lots and LOTS! If you have younger children, great idea would be to take one or two characters, take a song that they are very familiar with and to fuse them together. let’s say they take “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and they add in the character, Little Cat. What kind of song could they make based on the story? For older children, you might encourage them make their own board game or fashion one off a game that they already know. They can use the characters to be the pawns on the game, they can use the situations to be the cards, and the places to be the spots on the board. And even if they wanted, they could come up with their own set of rules and additional information.
What's your favorite book of all time?
What’s my favorite children’s book of all times? It's gotta be “When the Wind Blew, “ by Margaret Wise Brown. I found one at a Thrift store just recently! The story is about a little old woman who lives by the ocean in a house that is cold and drafty. When she actually ends up having a toothache, and curls into her bed to get warm, and snuggles into feeling sorry for herself the little blue grey kitten comes along, purrs, and gives her the encouragement and companionship she’s always needed.
Dori Durbin has had a rich and varied career path including teaching English and Science, and being a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. She lives in Michigan with her amazingly smart and talented family: husband, son, daughter, three pleasantly pampered indoor cats, and her old Great Dane. Dori teaches youth art and participates occasionally in art shows. She hopes to continue her passion for writing and illustration for children-- and owning many cats!
Where to Next?
We hope you enjoyed this insight into Dori Durbin’s fantastic book. This is just one of our many author interviews and book reviews. We love to give you a behind the scenes look at some amazing children’s authors. The best way to keep in touch with these is through signing up to our newsletter. You can also see our range of children’s books in our shop. Plus of course, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.