I love children’s books so much, and when I find one to include in the Build Your Masterpiece Class Adventures, I get so excited. That’s what happened with the book, “A Poodle in Paris” by Connie Kaldor. I was able to interview her about her creative process, and she offered to share a copy of her book for our homeschool curriculum creation back in 2018. I was over the moon!
“I have always liked books and loved to read since I was little. My father would tell us stories about history and people that he knew as we drove in the car.” – Connie Kaldor
Connie shares that “A Poodle in Paris” began with a song and the book came afterwards. “I was performing a show in Minneapolis, sitting in a cafe’ and after the line “a poodle in Paris” came to her, the rest of the story found it’s way onto her page and the story was born. “I loved thinking about what kind of a life an amazing poodle would have,’ says Connie. The book comes with a full CD full of fun songs of hers as well. This was not her first time writing stories and songs about animals in famous cities. It actually began with a trip to New York City, of all places.
Connie shared that it was this trip to New York where she came up with the idea for her first children’s book, “A Duck in New York City”. “I was stuck in a Taxi in New York City and discovered that someone had dropped a small rubber duck on the seat.’ It was this simple encounter that sparked her to make up a story ‘about the duck who wanted to be a star on broadway and then came to New York’ and she would make up different versions of the story to amuse herself and anyone else who would notice the duck with her.
‘That duck sat on my desk for several years.’
When they proposed doing a book with the music she had written, she knew she wanted it to be the story of a small prairie duck who goes to New York. I love how a small and simple souvenir from a trip would be the spark of inspiration for a whole book, and song! I can actually relate, because it was my trip to Paris, France with my mom when I was 16 years old that opened my eyes to the beauty of Paris, the Eiffel Tower and ultimately inspired me to eventually write curriculum for home educators and teachers about world adventures that I am now featuring Connie’s book in.
I asked Connie what her creative process is like, and her advise for children interested in writing.
She said that she spends lots of time thinking and writing down her ideas. “I find sometimes that a book without lines allows me to draw a bit or imagine it and then work around those ideas. But the first stage is to write, write, write until you come up with something that feels right.” Another helpful tip was that is something is not working, she will go at it in a different way, which often opens up a more creative approach to the story. Pretending that she is telling the story to someone, also helps her hear the rhythm of the words, to make sure they make sense, before they are edited down into all the parts that work together. All the while, her publishers are working with the graphic artists who create the illustrations for the book. “They are a husband and wife team that create the collages that you see on the pages of the book. These two are so creative.” Connie remembers seeing the images for the book for the first time and thinking that ‘they were way better’ than she has imagined, and was so thrilled!
I also asked Connie what advise she would you give to a young writer, interested in becoming an Author one day?
She suggests to start writing down your stories, to read as much as you can and to listen to other peoples stories. ‘Age is not a barrier to story telling. Try telling a story to your friends, then write one down.’ Connie reminded me that if physically writing your stories down is hard, she suggests to ‘draw your story, or speak it into a computer with voice activation, or act it out on a camera.’
I really loved these tips, because as a homeschooling mom, I am always looking for ways to help them write, in fact I have created some printables to help with this type of creative, out-of-the box writing for kids, called “Read, Draw and Retell Student Worksheets” which you can purchase in our Masterpiece Studio Shop.
My children will usually tell me their stories and create their own Minecraft characters with all sorts of toys, like their favourite snap cubes, and draw and trace them out, while I write down their words for them. I am always looking for creative ways to help them write, even when they struggle with handwriting.
I picked up this technique up from the Brave Writer Style when I noticed my children struggled with writing, but had so many great ideas. It’s called the jot-it-down stage of writing. You can read more about how we use snap cubes with my preschooler in this post here, as well as this post about learning to spell words with letter toys and slime.
“A story is a wonderful way to communicate with others, to share the ideas that make up your own story. There are so many ways to tell a story. Remember that the world needs many stories.” -Connie Kaldor
My most favourite question of all, when talking to children’s book authors, is ‘What do you love most about being an Author?’
She shares that the best part about being an author is having her story and music being heard and enjoyed in places she has never been, and also seeing her name on a book is so special, because books have always been a great part of her life.
It has been such a pleasure interviewing Connie Kaldor, learning about her creative inspirations, and hearing such wonderful words for budding authors.
You can learn more about Connie Kalder on her website: www.conniekaldor.com.
Enjoy creating with scissors and glue, and Poodles in Paris too,
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