Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.
Pete wakes up excited because it’s his birthday. He’s disappointed with his presents until he receives a pair of green goggles. Wearing the goggles ignites his imagination and his backyard is transformed.
What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?
The first theme is on emotional reactions. It interests me how some kids say exactly what they’re thinking, while other kids filter their responses. Pete ‘smiles politely’ when he opens his boring presents, so I think this is a good point to talk to kids about how they react to situations that provoke emotions.
The broader theme is about children interacting with the outside environment through play. Using imagination to see an ordinary backyard or playground with a new and exciting perspective.
How are these important to you in raising awareness to your readers?
Kids look up to characters they can relate to, and Pete, a boy excited about his birthday is a relatable example. He shows them that even though his presents aren’t what he was hoping for, he ‘smiles politely’, he doesn’t complain, and the illustrations show him trying to make the best of them (the sock puppet and the monster face with pencil teeth). Kids can learn to be conscious of their emotional reactions, and put effort into being polite, positive minded people.
I think it’s important that kids and adults remember to turn off the screen and look for other forms of entertainment. Nature provides not only a fabulous learning avenue in terms of flora and fauna, but it’s scientifically proven that spending time with nature is good for us.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
When Steve Jobs said he didn’t let his kids use ipads I investigated the unspoken reasons behind his decision. I looked into the studies and research done with children and the affects screen time has on their development. Instead of pushing an anti-ipad agenda I was inspired to write about the joys of being outside and exploring.
What is your favourite part of the book?
When Pete realises the lion is actually his cat and they have a cuddle.
How would you describe the publishing process? Did you receive a lot of support? How long did it take?
I self-published through Ormiston Press so although I was familiar with publishing paperback novels, it was a new learning curve for
picture books. I sought a number of quotes for printing and spent a dutiful amount of time working on the formatting.
What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!
It was surprising! Although already a graphic designer, illustrating
wasn’t my forte. I did a course through the Children’s Book Academy to understand the fundamental principals of picture book illustrations and also how to become an illustrator. I did my storyboard for The Green Goggles during the course but it was a few months later when I actually completed the work. Some of my original ideas were changed and some scrapped in favour of new ones. Overall I’m happy with my first attempt at picture book illustrations but I’m excited to see if I can improve on my next one.
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
What teaching and learning ideas would you suggest to complement this book?
I have a few printable activities on my website, one of which includes a Leaf Album. Kids have to go outside, collect leaves, stick them onto the album and can then practice their writing with the plant names.
Do you have a book trailer for your book?
No, but I’d love to have one one!!
Any details on your book launch you’d like to tell us about?
I am so excited for the kids. Of course there’ll be storytime, but there will also be a big craft activity. The kids can colour and decorate animal cut-outs from the book. Then they have to attach the animals onto streamers which will be strung over a gazebo frame to make a walk-through jungle!
It will be at the Bundaberg Art Gallery on Saturday, 17th December. Find out more here.
Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.
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Kris Sheather is an active member of the arts community as a writer, blogger and mum of two. She is also a graphic designer & artist with Two Decade Designs as well as Publishing Manager of Ormiston Press.