BookLife Talks with Teresa Power
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'Yoga at the Zoo'
What drew you to write for children?
Ever since I was a young child, I have always loved reading. When I later had children of my own, I would read them beloved books from my own childhood, such as titles from the Berenstain Bears, Curious George, and Little Bear series. In addition, my mom saved her Nancy Drew books and I devoured them with gusto, which my daughter later did as well! My love of writing for children comes from my desire to bring a love of reading and imagination to their lives and to create lasting memories that can be passed down from generation to generation.
The BookLife review of your book says that you have “a fine sense of which poses are suitable for children and adults who aren’t deeply familiar with yoga.” What’s your process for integrating yoga into a children’s book?
My goal in writing yoga books for children is to introduce them to simple yoga poses in a kid-friendly way. I do that by making the words straightforward and easy to understand, as well as by using imaginative illustrations to convey the concepts. Emma Allen did an amazing job illustrating Yoga at the Zoo and showing Little Mouse and his friends trying various yoga poses. It is not about the yoga per se, but rather about getting kids interested in and intrigued by the poses depicted in the book and fostering an interest in yoga and all of its mind-body-connection benefits. My yoga books for kids offer an easy-to-learn system for helping today’s youth develop a healthy lifestyle early on while enhancing their reading and literary skills.
What encouragement would you give a reluctant reader?I would tell them to just read the book as a story about the adventures of a mouse and his cat best friend and to enjoy the whimsical illustrations. Learning new yoga poses is a side benefit they might be interested in, but they don’t necessarily have to do the postures to enjoy the book. If they are hesitant to try the yoga poses, I would emphasize that children of all ages, sizes, and varying degrees of athletic abilities can practice yoga, which is a noncompetitive form of exercise. You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga; rather, you become more flexible by practicing the poses.
Do you have any advice for authors who’d like to write picture books?
My advice for writers who would like to write picture books is to follow their dreams by focusing on the end goal, which is always creative and never competitive. It is so exciting to create a story and then find an illustrator who understands your vision and can add pictures that bring it to life! If you have a tale to tell, set aside time every day to write, and have the faith and confidence that your dream will become a reality.
Can readers expect more adventures from Little Mouse?
Most definitely! Little Mouse Adventures: Mindfulness at the Park comes out Sept. 1, 2020. In this second book of the series, lovable, curious Little Mouse, his best friend Mr. Opus the cat, and the McDoodle family venture to the bustling neighborhood park. Using simple mindfulness techniques and yoga poses to stay calm and manage his emotions, Little Mouse navigates his way through the excitement and uncertainty of visiting a new place and meeting new people. We also have another Little Mouse Adventures book in the works for spring 2021. The possibilities for adventure are endless!