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Author Showcase

Winter 2007 Featured Author, Deb Capone

RT: In each of your books we discover the world with Rain and her Blue Hippo Bo. Rain as a character loosely parallels your own daughter, whom you adopted from China. While we learn about Chinese tradition and culture, it is not the only one. How did you come upon the topics of a tooth fairy and dumplings as themes of a multi-cultural life?

Deborah: In all of my books, I look for universal experiences that all children-regardless of where they live-experience. By focusing on what we all share we create an experience that gets kids to think about how similar we all are-while still being able to enjoy the differences!

RT: Did you find it difficult to collect information about so many cultural traditions? You cover everything from ravioli (Italy) to jiaozi (China) in Dumplings are Delicious and Mr. Moon (Africa) to el raton (Mexican) in Tooth Fairy Tales.

Deborah: The Internet is a wonderful tool and that is how I generally get started. I also am blessed with friends and colleagues from all over the world so I can real-world input as well.

RT: Have you had the opportunity to read the books with children? Is there anything special you’ve learned from them that you want to build into a new story?

Deborah: I love reading with children and I always learn something from them that ends up in my book. For example, Tooth Fairy Tales was a totally different book before I read a preview at a local camp. The kids were very interested in cultural aspect and were equally interested in speculating where the teeth went once they were collected by the various Tooth Fairies, Rats, Sparrows, etc. The ideas about where the teeth go came directly from the kids!

RT: Are you planning more stories for Rain? If so, what themes are you considering for future titles?

Deborah: Rain has lots more adventures in store. Most people want to know about Bo, the heirloom hippo’s background so I have a book that explains how Bo became an heirloom and also weaves in respect for elders and tradition. I also have a book about friendship and another book that will get kids up and moving. There are so many things to write about and I do get ideas that pop into my head all the time-especially if I am around kids!

RT: In addition to being an author and Mompreneur, you also speak at workshops to address the topics of adoption, race, and culture. Is there a recurring theme that stands out as the most pressing issue parents and educators help children deal with?

Deborah: Bullying is a huge issue in the US and abroad. One in three children is being bullied, is a bully or is witnessing bullying; and it is getting worse. Early and recurring exposure to different cultures, traditions, races, family formations, sexual orientations, etc. goes a long way in stopping bullying. That is one of the reasons that my books have found their niche: they allow parents and teachers to expose kids EARLY to the things we all share in an entertaining manner opening up a dialogue and giving adults the language to help their kids navigate through a very complex world. Down the road, kids are going to need to be able to work and live with an incredible amount of diversity-much more than the current generation of parents and teachers ever had-and they need to develop the skills and confidence to interact effectively with everyone.

RT: In 2002, you created As Simple As That™ as a voice for introducing multi-cultural issues to children. What would you characterize as one of your most rewarding experiences to date?

Deborah: My most rewarding experience is right in my own backyard! I have been fortunate enough to develop a relationship with our local Head Start program. I have donated books, and done workshops for kids parents and teachers. Many of the kids in the program have never had a new book-or a book that featured characters that resembled them. The best reward, however, is a kid coming up to me after I have been with them and giving me a big hug!

RT: Can you tell us more about the As Simple As That™ Foundation? What can people do to support its good works?

Deborah: A portion of the sale of every book from our website www.simpleasthat.com is channeled into the Foundation and other charities that share a similar mission. The FOundation is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to raising awareness of issues affecting children and to giving financial assistance to children in need, worldwide.

RT: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Deborah: The future is bright for Rain and her friends. We are looking at more books, other media vehicles and even a ‘live’ event where everyone will be able to experience what is like to celebrate what we all share.

Website: http://www.simpleasthat.com




                 

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