I’m happy to welcome Carrie Finison to the blog today. Her second picture book DON’T HUG DOUG is releasing next Tuesday, January 26th so now is The Perfect Time to order it from your favorite local indie bookstore! Her first book, DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS which made everyone smile, and probably run out to a doughnut shop, was released in 2020. It’s sweeter than doughnuts and I recently read it via FaceTime to my favorite little one. Yes, you should order that one, too.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I write picture books so my target audience is anywhere from babies to age 6-7 or so. Some of my favorite memories from the upper end of that range are about the street we lived on at the time, which was full of kids. I was a little bit quiet and reserved (and still am) and didn’t like big crowds or really boisterous play, but I liked to play outside with my friends. We played a lot of pretend games. We had two hideouts in giant yew bushes in a park at the end of the street that we named after the way they smelled – one was the Peanut Butter hideout and one was the Dirty Diaper hideout. I remember having a lot of fun with mud in our yard, hauling it around in my green Tonka dump truck. I also vividly remember some of the books I liked to read at that age: One Morning in Maine, by Robert McCloskey, What Do People Do All Day, by Richard Scarry, The Three Robbers, by Tomi Ungerer, Noisy Nancy Norris, by Lou Ann Gaeddert, and Tell Me a Mitzi, by Lore Segal.
What inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from language – words and phrases put together in unusual ways, or repetition that delights me. And rhyme too. The title of my debut book – DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS – came to me just because of the fun of saying that phrase. And my second book – DON’T HUG DOUG – obviously rhymes. The character couldn’t have any name other than Doug! I’m always listening to the things people around me say (especially kids) and thinking about how I can work them into a story concept, or use them as snippets of text or dialogue.
What’s something you hope your readers take away from your book?
DON’T HUG DOUG is probably the most message-driven story I’ve written. It’s very clear from the start, even the title, what is the message. I hope that what readers will take from the book is that it’s OK to not feel comfortable with hugs, to express that to others, and have those wishes respected – or to respect them, if you are the one offering a hug. Since I wrote the book in the second person, it offers plenty of opportunity for the reader to take on the role of Doug and say out loud that they don’t want a hug, and also to practice asking others whether they do or don’t want a hug. Mostly, I hope it will spark some conversation between the adult and child reader about the topic.
Carrie has generously offered to give a copy of DON’T HUG DOUG to one lucky winner. Comment on this post to be entered to win!
What’s next for you?
DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS came out in July, 2020, and DON’T HUG DOUG comes out January 26,2021 so the last six months have been a very busy time of book promotion, and learning how to do all that in a pandemic. I’ll continue to support those books and I hope to ramp up my school visits in 2021, while also (I hope) getting back to a more regular writing schedule. Then in 2022 I have two more books scheduled for release – HURRY, LITTLE TORTOISE, which is about a little tortoise who continually gets passed by her classmates on the way to school, and LULU & ZOEY, a story about two very different sisters.
Check out other posts and launch events with Carrie and follow her on Twitter @CarrieFinison