We are so honored to have Danielle as one of our newest authors who is writing books for the very young with an emphasis on visual and kinetic learning. Her first book is called, "Hitch a Ride on the Color Express." We met at our local coffee shop to chat and go over book design ideas. So, with our kids off having summer fun, we enjoyed time just to talk. Danielle had a mocha with almond milk and I had my usual cappuccino.
I know you are an art teacher, what do you love about teaching art? I love sharing my knowledge with the students. And I love that the purpose behind teaching is to to help others grow. The teacher is rewarded with the student's success.
I know you studied Art in Boston. Tell me a bit about your education. I completed my Master’s in Teaching and Learning in 2016. Back in 2006, I earned a BFA in Animation from Massachusetts College of Art & Design, and afterward went on to teach art at private schools, churches, early education centers, and workshops and the like. And of course we met when we both taught continuing education and professional studies for the Kansas City Art Institute, so you know that part.
What is your home like? I live with my awesome husband and my son, and we have quite a few pets: a dog named Rocky, a frog who-- I forget his name, a bird named Houdini because he always tries to get out of his cage, and has successfully done so on a number of occasions… We had a cat named Butterfields who we really loved but he is gone now. We recently added to our family, however, a flirtatious Cockatiel named Mister, who loves to send me kisses whenever I'm around. I've told him I'm spoken for, but he insists, so I send kisses back. He's a lot of fun; we're really enjoying him. (He also whistles, and I've been told can talk a little, although I've not heard him speak yet.)
What was your fave book when you were a kid? The Big Fart – which I still can’t find a copy of, and Amelia Badelia ,and Eat your Peas, Louise. It’s not just the books, I remember the teachers that read them to me.
And your fave movie? Pride and Prejudice with Kira Knightly.
Strongest Childhood memory? I Got cancer just before my 9th birthday. It was a four year battle. My dad was a musician, and he left shortly after I relapsed. However, my Mom took great care of me and my sisters…So I had a difficult childhood. My passion for art developed shortly after being diagnosed with Leukemia as a little girl. My therapist used expressive drawing to help me cope through treatments. You know, I’ve never stopped drawing and painting since.
Things you were proud of as a kid? I was most proud of reading. I once read 400 pages in 4 hours. I was often at the Kansas City Kansas Public Library; I still remember that. Libraries are so important.
Tell me how did you get involved in writing for kids? My experiences as an art student, artist, and art teacher led me to start writing children's books. It was when I taught kindergarten that I began to write my book called Get on Board the Color Train. I had a student who learned by many methods, not just by writing on worksheets. I wanted to create a book a teacher might read at school to reach students in a way they could understand by using their imagination. I'm a visual learner with a wild imagination—so I thought, why not share my imagination in a way that children can learn from, visually, by text, or both?
I’m glad you decided to do just that, Danielle. Your books are full of life and creativity. We can’t wait to see how those cut paper illustrations come together with your first book.