Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Dee Dee Colabella

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Dee Dee Colabella. Margo recently introduced us to her new children's book A New World in My Room, and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours! We are excited to learn a little bit more about her story. So, without further ado... take it away, Dee Dee!


What inspired you to write A New World in My Room?

When my kids got to that age - you know the age when they are climbing out of cribs and crying in the middle of the night because they have gotten too big -  I struggled over how to transition them successfully into a “big kid bed”. I had anxiety about them feeling safe and my own fears of having NO control over when they were able to get up in the middle of the night. What if they fell down the stairs? I researched how to keep them in their room and almost every suggestion was to make this a special event. The suggestion to make the child comfortable and give them ownership really sounded like a great idea. I started my search online for a book about the first night in their new room and was unable to find ONE book on the subject.
This was to me an important right of passage. WHY out of the thousand of books that I saw was their nothing to make this transition special.

We had a wonderful time shopping for their new rooms and making them special until the big reveal. It was a magical day and the kids immediately felt ownership over their new space. At this point, I decided that writing a book on the subject was my mission. 

How long did it take you to write A New World in My Room?

A New World In My Room took me a day to write but several months to tweek and revise. Because it is a 12 page picture book suitable for the age of the child, I had to make sure it was written in a way that was magical and loving. I went through about 12 different versions before I settled on the version that was published. This was a rewarding process and the book was better each time.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

The books that really stuck with me over the years were the ones with magical qualities. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was one book that transported me into a new magical world. I felt that a child’s imagination was so powerful that it can create a new world just from a thought. A New World In My Room has that same quality.
What was your bedroom like when you were little? What was your favorite thing about it?

My bedroom was full of rainbows. I chased them as a child and every rainy day waited outside for a hint of this painting in the sky. This was my favorite thing in the world and my room was decorated - to reflect that ideal. Along side my bed was a magical picture of Sleeping Beauty while she was petting her horse and all the forest animals surrounded her. To this day, I have the print framed. I spent countless hours drawing and reading in that room and it was the one place that was all mine.

Can you describe what your dream bedroom would look like today (anything goes!)? 

If I wasn’t married, that would be easy :o) My room would be filled with the rich and vibrant colors of an Indian Market. The bright colors would fill the room and sparkling beads would adorn every pillow.  I would place vibrant paintings on the wall of far off places that I would like to take an adventure to, if only in my mind.

What should parents expect when a child graduates from a crib to a big-kid bed? Can you give us some hints on how to design a great kids bedroom?

The most important thing that I can suggest is make the child’s room theirs! Do not impose your decorating sensibilities to their space. If they like Star Wars and you don’t care for it, do it anyway.  The most successful way to transition them is to let them is to put their personalities into the room. They are growing up and wanting more control and ownership. Most times we have to say no as parents to their requests because we see the consequences and want to keep them safe and happy. This is a simple way to give them the control they so persistently request.

The next thing is they will get up in the middle of the night looking for you. The simple fact is they need us and they need to get accustomed to sleeping differently and autonomously.

Where can our readers learn more about how to handle the transitions kids go through when moving up from a crib to a big-kid bed?

I found a great article on www.babycenter.com written by a pediatric sleep disorder expert Deborah Lin-Dyken. Entitled How and when should I move my child from a crib to a bed?

Some other great links include:
Easing the Transition to the Toddler Bed
10 Easy Ways to Fire Your Child’s Imagination

Are there any more children’s stories you have planned for the future?

I do have another project that is almost complete. I enjoy the process, love the creativity and feel that we can create magic with our words. The next book is titled No Matter What. It is a story about a special little boy Dommy and his magical best friend Brutie Dog. A special kind of love that teaches Dommy that when we love, it does not matter how we change or our loves ones change but that what is important is the way you feel when that person is there for you.

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55 comments:

  1. That's a great idea for a picture book. That part of early childhood is a big transition for a child and we need literature on it.

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  2. Looks like a pretty good book. I am sure kids will really grasp the concept.

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    1. Lady Lilith- Definitely an easy way for kids to understand the transition. :) ~L

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    2. Thanks a bunch. Hope you enjoy it.

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  3. I seriously wish my parents had let me decorate my space :) (Love that Indian Market idea, too!)

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    1. Meradeth- The decorating freedom would be awesome! :) ~L

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    2. My parents did not for the longest time and when they did, I really found it amazing how much I felt like that space was all mine!

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  4. I love the idea for your book! I can't people didn't realize before this what a special time changing to a "big" bed is. Wishing you much success! :)

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    1. Lexa- I agree with you. This is the first book I remember seeing about this topic and it is a big deal for kids. :) ~L

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    2. Thanks so much. I am excited about the feedback and appreciate your comments!

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  5. An Indian market, huh? Well, that's a nice clue to a rich, interior life. Perfect for an author. :)

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    1. Suze- I agree! It sounds so magical and I am sure the creative juices would flow there! :) ~L

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    2. I love color. The more, the deeper and the more intense the better. An Indian market is just pure eye candy.

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  6. Wow, totally awesome. What a superb book angle. My 25 year old son is really due to move to a bigger bed, actually to his own home. Yes, it all happens in a blink.

    Nice one,

    Gary :)

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    1. Gary- It does happen in a blink. :) I hope your son likes his new "crib" or home. What a transition for you both. A picture book might help. ~L

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    2. Thanks. A twenty year old may not like the robots but I bet he would like the race cars!

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  7. Sounds like a great topic for a children's book. Kids do like having their own space...eventually. I still like decorating my own to suit my quirks. :)

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    1. Anna Maria- I love decorating my space too. :) ~L

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    2. Isn't that the truth. The funniest is when they try to mix and match and all you can do is shake your head.

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  8. What a great interview! I loved reading all the answers.

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    1. Synchronized Reading- Thanks for stopping in. So glad you enjoyed the interview. :) ~L

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    2. Thanks a bunch. Hope you enjoy the book.

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  9. I love the idea, and agree it is a special transition and I love the idea of using the book.

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    1. Kimba- Definitely a nice way to help a child make the transition. :) ~L

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    2. The response from parents who have bought the book was amazing. One even wrote notes on the back page for their little one about their child's favorite things in their new room. I thought that was a fabulous idea!

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  10. I never thought about that being a big moment. (I don't remember mine and I don't have children.) Being able to decorate my own room was a big deal though.Everything was either animals or Peanuts and Snoopy.

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    1. L. Diane Wolfe- I like the themes you picked for your rooms. :) ~L

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  11. I remember that huge change and I'm glad I took pictures of the first day my son had his new room. Lovely idea for a picture book.

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    1. Lee- How special that you took pictures of the big change. :) ~L

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  12. I love the idea of this book.
    A child is full of so much whimsy and imagination its only normal they should want a room to represent that. it may be in conflict with a parents sense of decorating, but its not forever. kids grow out of phases kind of quickly & whats to say a parent cant influence by being a positive part of the decorating process?
    if a kid is ready to move from mommys bed to their own or crib to bed its a big milestone.
    I think this book is genius actually.
    A must have for new parents and older ones too with new babies.
    I love the authors "dream room". its very similar to mine. Moroccan Bazaar themed/Indian jewel toned themed style.
    My hubby says it sounds like the I Dream of Jeanie bottle! lolz!
    He said a few more things too, but they are adult jokes. lol


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    1. Bellas Shelf- Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

      I agree with you about a child's room! Once I saw this book I was amazed I hadn't seen anything like it before because it is a big transition (for parents and kids).

      Your room does sound awesome! I love the theme. I can see why it reminds your husband of I Dream of Jeanie's bottle. I adore that show!

      Thanks for visiting. :)

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    2. What a nice comment! Thank you very much. And the I dream of Jeanie, well one of my favorites growing up. I always dressed as a jeanie for Halloween.

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  13. It's one of those first big milestones in a kid's life, so it's great that there's now a book to help with that!

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    1. Stephanie- I agree! :) ~L

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    2. I know and was amazed no one had written a children's book before on the subject. Don't mind being the first

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  14. This book sounds perfect. Except I've already made that transition with my toddler. However I believe she will enjoy it when she starts reading herself. I'm adding it to my wishlist.
    Now to answer the question. I've never had a room all to myself. Well, I did once. But I was too broke to add any personal touch to it. I imagine a room decorated with all shades of gray would be perfect. :)

    ~Akoss

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    1. Akoss- A variety of grays sounds very peaceful. ;)

      I hope this is one your daughter will enjoy when she can read it to herself! ~L

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    2. I had to share and the twins in the book also have to share. My sister was always putting her 10,000 horses all over my rainbows!

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  15. Nice interview- thanks for sharing! This sounds like a really cute read. I like the idea of making the transition something the child can be a part of and really enjoy.

    -Lauren

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    1. Shooting Stars Mag- Glad you enjoyed the interview. it is definitely a cute story. :) ~L

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    2. I believe in letting them be a part is the first step in teaching them ownership also.

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  16. Great interview! I loved the visuals. :)

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    1. Carrie- Thanks! I love the vibrant colors! :) ~L

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  17. What a great interview! I loved reading all the answers.

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  18. what a wonderful idea for a book! congratulations!
    where the wild things are is a classic - and i love the colors and patterns of inda too - some accent pillows or scarf drapes could go a long way for atmosphere!

    and DMS, thanks for supporting my broken branch falls blog tour!

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    1. Tara Tyler- I love the accent and patterns of India too! So beautiful.

      We are happy to support your Broken Branch Falls tour. Wishing you the best of luck! :)

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