communication: 3 Articles

Band Together: Interview With Chloe Douglass

Magination Press's new book, Band Together, tells the story of a musical, but loner duck, and a travelling band in need of some back-up. It explores friendship and the process, and rewards, of stepping out of one's comfort zone. Magination Press interviewed Band Together's author and illustrator about creating the book. Magination Press: What inspired you to write Band Together? Chloe Douglass:  I think what inspired me to write the book is how music can be a universal communicator to bring us all together. Music has had a big influence in my life so naturally, I think I fell to this idea early on in my story writing process: this was how my main character was going to tackle his problem.  MP: What is Band Together about?  CD: Band Together is about Duck, who has lived on his own for so long, he has forgotten how and gotten a little bit scared to make new friends. It’s all a bit overwhelming. One day a band: Bear, Fox, and Seagull, break down on the beach where he lives and he ends up being roped into helping them before he can think of saying no. They end up having a jam with their instruments and have a great time. Duck thinks about asking them if they would play with him the next day but he puts himself down, overthinks it and can’t go through with it. Seagull gets sick and throws the concert into jeopardy, but Bear knows just who to ask to fill in. It’s up to Duck to drum up the courage and help out his new potential friends.  MP: This was the first book you both wrote and illustrated. What was that like? How was it different from illustrating another author’s work?  CD: Writing and illustrating your own book is different in a way as you’re much more attached to the text and the story. Working with an editor, changing and tweaking bits, was a new experience and one that I loved, as it makes the finished story the best it can be.  Different versions of Band Together The book also goes through a lot of different versions before it gets help with an editor. I have lost count of how many versions of the story there have been!  When working on the final stage it felt easier to get roughs drawn fairly quickly and onto the finals, because I have had the story and characters in my mind’s eye for so long. Whereas illustrating for an author, you have to spend time getting to know the character/s, doing lots of sketches and roughs to get them right, and working on lots of different layouts before settling on the right one to help tell the story.  MP: What was unexpected about creating this book? CD: I think the biggest unexpected thing was having to change the title once it had gone to print. The book title was originally a lyric from a favorite band of mine, but

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Band Together: Interview With Chloe Douglass 2020-09-09T20:48:13-04:00

Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music

What would you do if both of your grandpas were visiting, but they couldn't talk to each other? Abuelo speaks Spanish. Opa speaks German. They can't talk to each other, so there is a lot of silence when they visit. But they both play the accordion, and music is a universal language! Hear Dr. Michael Genhart read his book, Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music, aloud. He also talks about his family, how families can blend and celebrate cultures, and suggests a family tree activity. Read a post by Dr. Genhart about writing this book here.

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Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music 2020-08-11T15:59:05-04:00

Finding Connection Through Music and Books

As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, many families find themselves being brought together or forced to be apart. Everywhere, people are looking for ways to stay positively connected. The little boy in Magination Press' book, Accordionly:Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart PhD, shows great creativity and wisdom as he finds a way to help his grandfathers connect through music. This post, from Dr. Genhart, explores the way picture books and music can help children and grown-ups connect with others. It’s a timely and timeless idea. Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music is the story of a boy who brings the two cultures of his family together through the music of the accordion – with the help of his two grandfathers, who do not speak each other’s languages but do speak the universal language of music. Based on my own family and memories from my childhood, this book is a joyful celebration of family and how common threads connect us all. More and more American families are multicultural, where different cultures come together to form a union of diverse languages, food, clothing, tradition, and ritual. Since children can sometimes feel like they are “not enough” of any one culture, it is important to offer them opportunities to celebrate the richness of all the cultures that make them unique. Children’s books are in a special position to affirm a child’s experience of being multicultural. The concept of “mirrors and windows” in children’s books highlights the many wonderful ways children can see the world, reflecting their own lives (mirrors) as well as introducing them to the lives of others that are not like themselves (windows). Similarly, the notion of “sliding doors” shows that stories for children can enable them to “walk into” other worlds. Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music is an example of how a children’s book can show all children that the world is a diverse place – some child readers will see themselves in this story while others will be invited to meet a family different from their own. Books where a child can identify with a main character in positive ways are tremendously powerful. They are doing some heavy lifting in that these books serve to bolster positive self-image and self-esteem. When kids see themselves in a book, in some cases for the first time, they can feel empowered, not alone, and not marginalized. In fact, children are likely to feel support, acceptance and love – important building blocks for positive development of self. Those children who are seeing a world unlike their own in books like Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music can confront any stereotypes or prejudices they may be holding, as well as begin to develop empathy and appreciation for diversity. Spoken language, particularly reading books aloud to children, is a powerful mode of communication. In Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music the accordion is a central character that shows that music is another potent means of communicating. In this story the

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Finding Connection Through Music and Books 2020-04-21T17:32:25-04:00