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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Don’t Wake the Dragon awareness tour and an Interview with Bianca Schulze

Written by Bianca Schulze
Illustrated by Samara Hardy
Publisher’s Synopsis: Shhh! Be very quiet. The rascally dragon is finally asleep. But, when the page turned, the breeze blew the door shut with a BANG! Did it wake up the dragon? Create a fantastic bedtime experience by reading this interactive story featuring a reluctant-to-sleep dragon—a character that children will surely relate! Designed to be read aloud, parents will take pleasure in the playful text as much as children will enjoy hearing it. When the story finally comes to an end, and the gentle lullaby is repeated, the dragon – and your child! – are encouraged to drift off to sleep.
Ages 2-6 | Publisher: Clever Publishing | July 28, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1949998641

I am thrilled to have this time to interview Bianca Schulze, author of 'Dont Wake the Dragon.' She is also the founder and editor of The Children's Book Review and the bestselling author of '101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up. 

In this interview she'll be telling us about her colorfully illustrated book for children that will definitely put your little ones to a dream world filled with castle cooks, knights and a dragon...

Q. What has inspired you to become a children's book writer?
Bianca: As corny as it may seem, the truth is that it was an innate desire that came from within and wouldn't go away. 'They' say that you shouldn't ignore ideas that stick with you because these thoughts could be your calling to live out your most authentic self. So writing for children was just something that I knew I was supposed to do. And to have made it happen is deeply fulfilling for me.

 Q. Where do you get your ideas from when writing a book?
Bianca: Everyday life and the random, often mundane, moments that manage to etch their way into my heart and mind. I love spending time with children—especially my three kids. They're fun, funny, and almost always behaving and conversing in the most unexpected and enlightening ways. It is quite common to hear me say: that would make a great children's book. For me, the ideas worthy of becoming a story are the ones that grow and manifest in my mind in such a way that I can't let them go. These are the ideas that get added to my list of books to write. And you never know when an idea will take flight, but when it does, it's always handy to have somewhere to jot down. Every single detail!

Q. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
Bianca: Yikes! To name a favorite feels so incredibly hard. So I'm cheating and naming a few. I've always loved Judy Blume's books—I was particularly fond of the Fudge series for being relatable and funny. I'm a fan of Katherine Paterson because she trusted that young readers could handle the concept of death in Bridge to Terabithia—the characters and world she created felt so real that I wanted to play with Jesse and Leslie in the outdoor kingdom they imagined for themselves. Kwame Alexander is a more recent favorite of mine with his incredible talent for using words and showing young readers that poetry is powerful. Some contemporary voices from the world of adult literature (fiction and non-fiction) that I love are Michelle Obama, Kristin Hannah, Glennon Doyle (specifically Untamed), and anything by Brené Brown. I'm currently listening to the audiobook of Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist and hope that many others read or listen to this book too.

 Q. How long does it usually take for you to write a book? Did you face any challenges writing "Don't Wake the Dragon"?
Bianca: I don't have an average answer to this question. 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up took about three months to complete. Don't Wake the Dragon took about one month of writing and revising. I just turned in a completed manuscript for a new picture book that took a few weeks of writing and editing. That said, I have other ideas that I've been working on for months and some for years. Each book, project, or idea seems to take a unique course.

 Q. How did the story "Don't Wake the Dragon" first come to be? Did it start as a concept, an image, or something else?
Bianca: The idea stemmed from a five-hour airplane flight with my family in which my youngest of three kids, who was one at the time, was not feeling well. It took some time to settle him, so when he finally fell asleep in my arms, my husband told our other two: Don't wake the dragon! Probably because I had hours of holding my little babe on the plane hoping nobody would wake him, these words resonated with me, and I'm pretty sure I had a mostly formed story in my head before we landed. Of course, having three children, I have plenty of experience with reluctant sleepers and sleepless nights, so I had loads of fun creating all the silly scenarios of what might wake the dragon and how to settle her.

 Q. When you come up with your story's characters, do you already know who they are, or do you develop them as you write?
Bianca: In the case of Don't Wake the Dragon, it was a bit of both. I knew the story needed a dragon, but what exactly her personality would be kind of grew as the story developed. And as I knew the dragon would need a kingdom, the other characters, such as castle cooks and knights, fell into place. Samara Hardy's adorable illustrations also brought new characters into the book that I never even contemplated—some mice and a cat that pull the narration together just the right way.

 Q. What do you think makes this book interesting for children? Why is it a must-read?
Bianca: In my humble opinion (ha!), I believe that it is the interactive element that makes Don't Wake the Dragon a must-read. There's just enough excitement to bridge the gap between a busy day, like getting out any extra giggles and wriggles, before winding down with the calm ending that encourages kids to lay down, tuck themselves in, and quiet down for a good night's sleep.

 Q. Is there a particular theme, lesson, or message from the book?
Bianca: I think that the ultimate takeaway is that bedtime can be a fun time! Don't Wake the Dragon can help parents create a wonderful bedtime ritual with children that they will look forward to every night.

Q. Are you working on a new project at present?
Bianca: I am! It's to soon to talk about, though. I wish I could spill the beans. Maybe next we chat!

We have a GIVEAWAY too!
Enter for a chance to win a Don’t Wake the Dragon prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A hardcover copy of Don’t Wake the Dragon, autographed by Bianca Schulze.
  • A Kids’ Sleep Training Alarm Clock.
  • A $25 Visa gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Author
Bianca Schulze is the founder and editor of The
Children’s Books Review – a resource devoted to children’s literature and literacy. Bianca is also the bestselling author of 101 Books to Read Before You Grow Up, an Amazon “Book of the Month” in 2016. She is a reader, reviewer, mother, and children’s book lover. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Bianca now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.
Get to know more about the author on her official websites

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