Noelle: Who are you anticipating your reader to be? What drove this particular story of the magical adventure?
Kitty: Well, when I was a child growing up in
Yosemite, I have to first say I could not have asked for more amazing
parents or my grandfather and great aunt who were a big part of my
childhood. My mother used to walk myself and my older siblings every day
in the summer to the river, the Merced River in Yosemite valley, which
was just a hop skip, and a jump from our house that I grew up in that my
great grandfather built. We would spend all afternoon on the riverbank,
and we'd swim and play and we would jump in the water and dig in the
sand. Also, just watch nature and the dragonflies would fly by. There
was a beautiful breeze and the cotton woods would flow silvery green
leaves and it was absolutely magical. I can't tell you enough. It is so
ingrained in my siblings and myself.
You’re surrounded, at the river, by all sorts of little tiny
creatures and when you're a child, you're not... You're littler. I mean,
obviously you're bigger than the creatures, but you're little. And I've
always loved fantasy so I think it just was in my unconscious that it
just sort of came out. I love riding horses and the idea of riding a
dragonfly and shrinking and there's fairies involved and jousting with a
bee and all kinds of things. These are all the sorts of things I loved
to read about as a child.
I think somehow fantasy milled it together with nature and my
experiences as a child. And of course, I go to visit Yosemite all the
time. I really believe the book came out of that love of fun. Because I
think one thing that's important for children is when they read is to
have fun and have a sense of adventure and magic because I know that's
what I love when I read. And so, I wanted them to have fun and a sense
of magic and an appreciation for the natural world. I think
unconsciously, because afterwards I thought about it and I thought
that's really what I was trying to accomplish.
Noelle: I'm now anticipating reading the book because I want to see jousting with a bee. Are you planning to read this with your class?
Kitty: I am.
Noelle: Does your faculty know? Does the faculty know when the book's coming out? I'm just curious. What's planned.
Kitty: Yes. I have told my friends and I have an
amazing group of colleagues by the way. I want to shout out to them. I'm
all over social media. So I'm not a shy person. And so, definitely
people know about it. The Good Year blimp will fly over [on the
Noelle: Kitty, I ask every teacher to think about
what is their walk up song. And the reason I ask this is because I
believe just like athletes and movie stars and major public speakers,
when you walk on stage, when you walk into the court, there's walk up
music, right, to amp you up. And I believe every teacher should have
walk up songs playing, even if it's in our head, as we walk down the
hall and we turn into our classroom to start the day.
Kitty: My father had an Irish pub for a long time
and he used to make me sing ballads in it, much to my horror. And I
guess I would have to say, I'm having trouble thinking of any particular
one song, but I love traditional Irish folk music, whether it be a
really sad song or a very lively one. So I would say some sort of
lilting Irish folk music.
Noelle: I have been watching and observing you on
Twitter, because I too, love Twitter. I love that. I can just put my
voice out there. I can retweet. What to took you to Twitter and that
Kitty: What happened was when I was at Teachers
College, I met this very nice woman who told me, I had been on Twitter,
but I hadn't really used it, that I should join this Twitter chat on
Thursday nights. It's 8:30 east coast, time, 5:30 west coast time. It's
called Good to Great. And so I did. And it has also changed my life as a
teacher. It's this amazing group of educators that talk about issues in
education or they'll feature an author of an educational book and they
will help to co-host this event. And it's completely free. So on most
Thursday nights, I join and they'll have a topic with questions. And
it's very exciting because I find out about the latest books in
education that are out there. And I made this amazing group of friends
on Twitter, and I have helped to facilitate once or twice.
And we have a private chat. There's a group of about five or six
friends that I met through this chat. We have a private Twitter chat
where we talk almost every day about issues in education. So there's
that public chat, the Good to Great (#G2Great) chat and then this group of friends,
we call ourselves the curiosity crew, and we talk every day about
things in education. It has really provided an amazing community of
educators from all over North America. I highly recommend this for other
teachers, this chat, because it keeps you current on what's going on in
education, but no one mean, or antagonistic has ever popped up on that
chat. Everyone is so nice. I come away very enthused and excited to try
new things in my classroom and with other teachers. That is what got me
to be more active on Twitter.
Then it also is a way to connect in areas you like. I follow
different people because of nature or education or people of the
children's book community. So you can find your people on Twitter.