Chris Pedersen comes to being an author by a circuitous route. She enjoyed reading as a young girl and one time drawing a cartoon strip, but in college she studied to become an electrical/electronic engineer, which transitioned to strategic marketing and technical writing as her career. Then seven years ago she became inspired to write a story about a special dog in her life that she wanted to make a children’s book.
While in the midst of that writing process, doctors found colon cancer at her first colonoscopy. Further tests revealed a genetic defect. Fortunately, she was a life-long health enthusiast which may account for the cancer being stage zero (it had not spread outside the large polyp where it was found). The experience turned her attention away from the dog project and a new project emerged…The Prisoner of Carrot Castle picture book and the beginning of Purple Carrot Books—influencing kids for a hopeful, healthy future. At the urging of writer friends, she also started a blog called Healthy Journey Cafe.
And now Chris is taking on the issue of bullying in a new book for young readers. I caught up with her to find out more…
You just released a new book, Ethan Blecher Braves a Bully…whet our appetites with a synopsis of the story.
Ethan Blecher Braves a Bully, early reader/chapter book for kids reading on their own, is a great tool for teaching kids the value of kindness and forgiveness. Ethan finds himself the focus of a bully in his new school. His parents decide to send him to spring camp hoping he’ll make some friends, but the outlook turns terrifying when his nemesis shows up. Will Ethan’s fearful attitude and shy nature get the best of him or will he muster some courage and stand-up to the bully?
What inspired you to write it?
Ethan Blecher is every child during their struggling early years when they confront some of the toughest and more important experiences of their young lives. I wanted to write a series for kids that would appeal to their world, yet address issues that could otherwise leave serious wounds that get carried into adulthood. I wanted it to be fun, but not irreverent.
Who’s your illustrator and why was she perfect for capturing the spirit of your book?
Kate Jeong provided the engaging illustrations for Ethan Blecher. She was able to connect with the story and bring out the expressive side of Ethan and the other characters in the book through black and white pictures. Kate also did the gorgeous color illustrations for The Prisoner of Carrot Castle.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
If a child is reading on their own, but not ready for the larger Middle Grade chapter books with no illustrations, Ethan Blecher is a perfect book to help them over the hump. Typically that describes an age range from 5-8 years old.
Parents and teachers can read Ethan Blecher to smaller children one to two chapters at a time to grow their interest in reading and help them understand the issues of bullying. Most schools have anti-bullying programs. Including a fun story along side the program allows kids to discover a solution on their own through the experience of a fictional character. Kids more readily embrace what they discover on their own rather than a program that tells them what to do.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
Ethan Blecher is no hero, but his inclination to offer forgiveness and kindness to someone who hurt him repeatedly demonstrates a character to be admired and modeled.
This is Volume 1 so is Ethan Blecher going to be a series of books?
Yes. I really love the character. Ethan’s inner dialogue is quite funny and surprising. I want to see him experience more boyhood adventures and lessons.
Any hints about Volume 2?
I have outlines and chapter ideas for the next book, which will be about Ethan Blecher finding a true friend.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about the Ethan Blecher series?
The current book comes with parent/teacher resources on bullying and Common Core State Standards curriculum is under development. A glossary of words marked in bold throughout the book is included in the appendix followed by a word search puzzle. A Spanish language version is also in the works.
I’m a founding member on the board of the Book App Alliance. It comprises a community of independent authors who have created quality book apps for kids, but found their book are difficult to discover on the app stores. The BAA aims to bring visibility to these hidden gems through social media programs, shared ideas and technology.
Find out more about Chris and her books: